Many different concert performance and educational programs are offered as a vehicle for audiences to experience both the results of Ancient Future's core mission of creating cross-cultural music and to learn about the traditional music that their music is based on. The offerings include world music traditions, world dance beats, folk music, classical chamber music, global jazz, and educational programs for schools.
Concert presenters and event planners often lack the spare time to sort through all of these program options. If that is the case, just contact Ancient Future Booking with a description of what you are looking for, and you'll be sent a presentation of the best program options for your needs. Custom programs are even available!
Below are descriptions of some popular programs. There's one perfect for nearly any event, be it a fine arts program, jazz festival, world beat dance party, dance presentation, traditional music series, or educational experience.
Arabic Beats: Master American and Arabic musicians play Arabic dance grooves in this version of Ancient Future including Georges Lammam (Arabic violin), Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), Salaheddin Takesh (Arabic percussion), and Doug McKeehan (piano, keyboards). This program is also available with a dancer specializing in Middle Eastern and other world dance forms.
Slavic Trance: Dance to 100% loop-free organic world trance grooves played live by master musicians and fronted by Irina Mikhailova (Eastern European vocals). This program is quite popular at dances and festivals as an organic alternative to techno. The program was a dance favorite at the Harmony Festival's Techno Tribal Dance, where they debuted new material with Irina singing in English in addition to her native Russian language.
Organica: Experience 100% loop-free organic dance grooves! Matthew Montfort plays a raga he discovered based on the melodic elements of the guitar solo from Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Salaheddin Takesh lays down irresistible Arabic grooves for dancing. Alan Tower holds down the bottom with moving didjeridu bass lines.
"Your show was truly amazing. I was blown away with the unusual worldly guitar playing, the earthy grooves, and the full sound of the band with didj bass. It is so much more fun dancing to the music that you made just for us in the moment than it is dancing to canned techno grooves." – Groove Garden dance fan, 12/6/2003.
Asian Fusion: Ancient Futures Asian fusion dance mix ensemble features Bui Huu Nhut (dan bau, a Vietnamese instrument with one string) and Zhao Hui (gu zheng, the Chinese ancestor of the Japanese koto) with a monster rhythm section playing 100% organic loop-free grooves. This program is well known to music lovers. The ensemble is featured on two Putumayo samplers: Asian Lounge (contemporary Asian-flavored dance music released in November, 2005) and the best selling Music from the Tea Lands, and has performed live on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.
Guitar-Sitar Jugalbandi: Jugalbandi is a classical North Indian musical duet (literally "tied together"), in this case with the unusual configuration of sitar and guitar accompanied by tabla. Pandit Habib Khan (sitar) and Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar) have enthralled audiences from St. Louis, Missouri, to Beirut, Lebanon. Matthew Montfort specializes in performing Indian classical music on the scalloped fretboard guitar. This jugalbandi works so well because Matthew Montfort is a guitarist with knowledge of sitar and Pandit Habib Khan has been described as the
"Jimi Hendrix of the sitar" by L'Orient le Jour, Beirut's French language newspaper.
España Trio: This program concentrates on Arabic, Indian, and Spanish musical themes. It debuted in Spain at the 2003 Festival Internacional de la Guitarra in Salau, to rave reviews of the guitar work of Matthew Montfort, a pioneer of the scalloped fretboard guitar. Incorporating aspects of the South Indian vina, his guitar has a fretboard with the some of the wood carved away between the frets, forming a scalloped pattern. On the strength of their guitar festival performance, they were invited back to perform at the 2005 Festival Internacional de Guitarra in Sant Carles de la Ràpita. The program is available in Europe with reduced travel costs because some of the musicians reside there most of the year. The trio includes Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), Tapan Bhattacharya (Spain's top tabla master), and Mariah Parker (piano, santur, hammered dulcimer).
Celtic Raga: Strains of Celtic music, Indian raga, and Middle Eastern music emanate from this duet featuring Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar). This high energy duet rocked the Summer of Love 30th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco (CNN reported a police crowd estimate of 35,000). Footage of their performance was shown on news channels, and the San Francisco Examiner wrote:
"It was heartwarming to see teenage girls in swirling dresses swaying and twirling to the Indian themes (almost like morning ragas) of Ancient Future."
World Folk for Guitar & Dulcimer: This world folk duet showcasing picked and hammered instruments features Matthew Montfort on scalloped fretboard and fretless guitars and Mariah Parker on hammered dulcimer. Equally at home on folk, new acoustic, Americana, and world music bills, this duet plays material with Celtic, Latin American, Indian, Arabic, Spanish, Eastern European and American folk themes.
World Chamber Music: Created at the request of the University of Salamanca in Spain, this is a program of 20th and 21st century contemporary classical music from California for the world, reflecting the many cultural influences that are adding to the diversity of California's contemporary art music. Features compositions by composers such as Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, Matthew Montfort, and Mariah Parker.
Himalayan Wind: Nepali flute master Manose is widely recognized as Nepal's premiere flautist. He is the recipient of national awards including Nepali Instrumentalist of the Year. This program featuring him includes Nepali folk music, Indian raga, and contemporary world fusion, and received rave reviews at the Trinity Tribal Stomp, Caspar World Music Festival, Himalayan Fair, and the Petaluma World Music Lecture Series.
Global Guitar: This solo program by Matthew Monfort, the leader of the world fusion music ensemble Ancient Future, focuses on Montfort's ability to bring unusual tonalities from world music traditions to the guitar, which has been recognized in articles in Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, and an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. This program is a great option for solo guitar showcases, music festivals (easy staging), acoustic music round robins, house concerts, fine arts programs, educational programs, and yoga studios.
Arab Diaspora: This program features scalloped fretboard guitarist Matthew Montfort, santurist Mariah Parker, and Salaheddin Takesh on Arabic percussion. The trio concentrates on material based the music of the Middle East, India, and Spain, showcasing concepts such as taqsim (an Arabic method of melodic improvisation), tala (the recurring rhythmic cycles of Indian classical music), and compás (the rhythmic structure of flamenco).
Indo Latin Jazz: Features compositions from Mariah Parker's debut release, Sangria, which blends the driving rhythmic syncopations of Latin jazz with the entrancing, asymmetrical meters of East India. Available in trio, quartet, quintet, and sextet formats. Includes musicians who have performed with Oregon, Sun Ra, and Herbie Hancock's Headhunters.
Indian Jazz: Pandit Habib Khan (sitar) and Ancient Future perform Indian music with jazz influences from Habib Khan and Ancient Future CDs which have been released on major jazz labels in India. This program is popular internationally with shows in Lebanon (August, 2000) and throughout India (January, 2006; January 2008).
World Jazz Reunion: Capitol Records reissued Ancient Future's classic World Without Walls album to celebrate their reunion concert at Yoshi's, San Francisco, June 7, 2011. Dreamchaser, their first major label jazz release, debuted at #2 on the Jazziz National Airplay Chart. They have performed at jazz festivals throughout the USA.
World Jazz (Matt & Patti 3): This trio featuring Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), Patti Weiss (violin), and Arshad Syed (tabla) focuses on trio versions of the full repertoire from Ancient Future's recordings. This program is a great choice for intimate concerts or outdoor events because of its wide range from raga rock to modal jazz.
Chi Music: Ancient Futures fusion of Chinese and other world music forms features Liu Qi-Chao (virtuoso performer on Chinese wind, string, and percussion instruments; jazz composer) and Zhao Hui (Chinese gu zheng master). This program includes Asian jazz, ancient Chinese music, and contemporary compositions.
Tabla Rasa: This percussion ensemble is available for collaborations with Ancient Future wherever a large percussion section sound is desirable. Like Ancient Future, they formed at the Ali Akbar College of Music. They base their music on their collective years of training under the guidance of tabla maestro, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri.
Ancient Future Planet Jammin' Quintet: Within the quintet are five ensembles: the Indian Jazz Quartet featuring Pandit Habib Khan (sitar), Slavic Trance featuring Irina Mikhailova (Eastern European vocals), Celtic Raga featuring Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), the Sitar/Guitar Jugalbandi with Khan and Montfort, and the full quintet. With one booking, presenters can program five concerts.
Chinese Music Duet: This duet performs entertaining, yet educational, programs showing both the traditional music of China and the many possibilities for integrating this ancient knowledge into contemporary culture. Zhao Hui began her studies of the gu zheng (a Chinese zither that is the ancestor to the Japanese koto) at the age of six, and won first place in China's National Classical Instrumentalist Contest. She is joined by Matthew Montfort, who shows how the scalloped fretboard guitar is capable of performing traditional Chinese music due to its modifications allowing for advanced note ornamentation. Similar educational programs covering other world music traditions are available.
Ancient Future employs a number of world dance experts to perform with the band.
Sapphira combines the graceful art of ballet with the mesmerizing moves of Middle Eastern dance to create her own unique virtuoso form of world dance. First place winner of all three national belly dance competitions, she was a featured dancer in the 65th Annual Academy Awards, a guest dancer on Cheers, and did command performances for Princes Mohammed Abrahim, Abdulaziz Abrahim, and Abdulaziz Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Estara has performed at the World Festival of Sacred Music initiated by the Dalai Lama and has appeared on national television, including Eye on America on CBS.
Check the Ancient Future biography section of the web site for a current list of dancers performing with the band.
Masterclasses: All of the musicians performing with Ancient Future offer masterclasses on traditional music, musicianship, and technique. Learn music from India, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, Indonesia, South America, Australia, and North America. The areas of specialty are included in each musician's biography.
Dance Beat Workshop: This workshop teaches rhythm and dance as one system, bringing rhythm directly to the body through dance.
Frog Toy Orchestra: Using the toy frogs and simple percussion instruments, this program allows everyone in the family to have a great time and learn something about frog calls and Balinese gamelan music, which uses interlocking rhythms similar to the interplay among rice paddy frogs.
Ancient Future, POB 264, Kentfield, CA 94914. Tel: 415-459-1892. Toll free in USA and Canada: 1-888-823-8887. firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking: Additional booking information, or use the contact information above.
Catalog: Listen to the CDs and use the secure online shopping cart system to purchase music.
Concerts: Current list of shows online.
Guest Book: Subscribe to the Ancient Future e-mail newsletter. Contests for prizes such as concert tickets each issue.