ТЕЛЕКРИТИКА

аналіз українського медіапростору

31/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Star Wars Fans March with Glowing Lightsabers for Earth Hour

Twelve years after the inaugural Earth Hour observance in Australia, countries around the world continue joining the grassroots gesture against manmade CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. This year in the Philippines, armed with lightsabers, fans of the movie Star Wars joined the world with a nod to a galaxy far, far away. Arash Arabasadi has more.

31/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

German Train Car Arrives in New York for Auschwitz Exhibit

On a Sunday morning, a crane lowered a rusty remnant of the Holocaust onto tracks outside Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage — a vintage German train car like those used to transport men, women and children to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

The windowless boxcar is among 700 Holocaust artifacts, most never before seen in the United States, which are being prepared for one of the largest exhibits ever on Auschwitz — a once ordinary Polish town called Oswiecim that the Nazis occupied and transformed into a human monstrosity.

The New York exhibit opens May 8, the day in 1945 when Germany surrendered and the camps were liberated.

German-made freight wagons like the one in the exhibit were used to deport people from their homes all around Europe. About 1 million Jews and nearly 100,000 others were gassed, shot, hanged or starved in Auschwitz out of a total of 6 million who perished in the Holocaust.

That fate awaited them after a long ride on the kind of train car that’s the centerpiece of the New York exhibit.

“There were 80 people squeezed into one wooden car, with no facilities, just a pail to urinate,” remembers Ray Kaner, a 92-year-old woman who still works as a Manhattan dental office manager. “You couldn’t lie down, so you had to sleep sitting, and it smelled.”

She and her sister had been forced to board the train in August 1944 in occupied Poland, after their parents died in the Lodz ghetto where Jews were held captive.

The Germans promised the sisters a better new life.

“We believed them, and we schlepped everything we could carry,” she said. “We still had great hope.”

Once in Auschwitz, “they took away whatever we carried,” and prisoners were beaten, stripped naked and heads shaved bald.

Titled “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” the upcoming exhibit will transport visitors into the grisly faceoff between perpetrators and victims.

On display will be concrete posts from an Auschwitz fence covered in barbed and electrified wires; a gas mask used by the SS; a desk belonging to Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoss; and a dagger and helmet used by Heinrich Himmler, the chief architect of Hitler’s “final solution.”

The collection of prisoners’ personal items includes a comb improvised from scrap metal; a trumpet one survivor used to save his life by entertaining his captors; and tickets for passage on the St. Louis, a ship of refugees whom the United States refused to accept, sending them back to Europe where some were killed by the Nazis.

The materials are on loan from about 20 institutions worldwide, plus private collections, curated by Robert Jan van Pelt, a leading Auschwitz authority, and other experts in conjunction with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland and Musealia, a Spanish company that organizes traveling shows.

The New York one will run through Jan. 3.

The eight-decade-old box car brought to New York on a cargo ship came from a German auction, in terrible condition. Van Pelt’s team bought it and restored it.

“The dark, smelly car represents that moment of transition from the world of the living that people understood and trusted to the radically alien world of the camps where the doors opened and families were separated forever,” said van Pelt, whose relatives in Amsterdam lived down the street from Anne Frank’s family.

“The Nazis wanted to wipe out every last Jew in the world,” and at the end of a train trip, “this is where the last goodbyes were said.”

The exhibit items all belonged to somebody — most now gone, either because they were murdered in camps or survived and have since died. Some people who inherited artifacts came forward with stories attached to them.

Thousands of survivors live in New York City, among the last who can offer personal testimony.

And that’s why the exhibit is important, said real estate developer Bruce Ratner, the chairman of the museum’s board of trustees.

“While we had all hoped after the Holocaust that the international community would come together to stop genocide, mass murder and ethnic cleansing, these crimes continue and there are more refugees today than at any time since the Second World War,” said Ratner. “So my hope for this exhibit is that it motivates all of us to make the connections between the world of the past and the world of the present, and to take a firm stand against hate.”

31/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Center in Havana Opens to Preserve Hemingway’s Legacy

U.S. donors and Cuban builders have completed one of the longest-running joint projects between the two countries at a low point in bilateral relations.

Officials from the Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation and Cuba’s National Cultural Heritage Council cut the ribbon Saturday evening on a state-of-the-art, $1.2 million conservation center on the grounds of Ernest Hemingway’s stately home on a hill overlooking Havana.

 

The center, which has been under construction since 2016, contains modern technology for cleaning and preserving a multitude of artifacts from the home where Hemingway lived in the 1940s and 1950s.

 

When he died in 1961, the author left approximately 5,000 photos, 10,000 letters and perhaps thousands of margin notes in roughly 9,000 books at the property.

 

“The laboratory we’re inaugurating today is the only one in Cuba with this capacity and it will allow us to contribute to safeguarding the legacy of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba,” said Grisell Fraga, director of the Ernest Hemingway Museum.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, spoke at the ceremony and called it a sign of the potential for U.S.-Cuban cooperation despite rising tensions between the Communist government and the Trump administration.

 

McGovern, who met with President Miguel Diaz-Canel and other Cuban officials during his visit, said that despite tensions over Venezuela, a Cuban ally, he still believed respectful dialogue was the most productive way of dealing with Cuba’s government.

 

The Trump administration has said it is trying to get rid of socialism in Latin America.

 

 

31/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

New Exhibit Commemorates 50 Years of Gay Rights Movement

A groundbreaking new exhibit at the Newseum in Washington marks the 50th anniversary of a police raid on a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, and highlights key moments in the modern gay rights movement in America that many believe was born out of that historic event. For some members of the LGBTQ community, the exhibit is deeply personal. VOA’s Julie Taboh has more.

30/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Stones Postpone Tour as Jagger Seeks Medical Treatment

The Rolling Stones are postponing their latest tour so Mick Jagger can receive medical treatment.

 

The band announced Saturday that Jagger was told by doctors “he cannot go on tour at this time.” The band added that Jagger “is expected to make a complete recovery so that he can get back on stage as soon as possible.”

 

No more details about 75-year-old Jagger’s condition were provided.

 

The Stones’ No Filter Tour was expected to start April 20 in Miami.

 

Jagger says in the statement he hates letting the fans down but he’s “looking forward to getting back on stage as soon as I can.”

 

Tour promoters AEG Presents and Concerts West advise ticketholders to hold on to their existing tickets because will be valid for the rescheduled dates.

30/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Jackson, Nicks Enter Rock Hall of Fame, Along With 5 British Bands

Stevie Nicks, who became the first woman inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Janet Jackson, the latest member of the Jackson clan to enter the hall, called for other women to join them in music immortality on a night they were honored with five all-male British bands.

Jackson issued her challenge just before leaving the stage of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she said, “in 2020, induct more women.”

Neither Jackson or Nicks were around at the end of the evening when another Brit, Ian Hunter, led an all-star jam at the end to “All the Young Dudes.” The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs was the only woman onstage.

Five British bands

During the five-hour ceremony, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music thanked multiple bass players and album cover designers, the Cure’s Robert Smith proudly wore his mascara and red lipstick a month shy of his 60th birthday and two of Radiohead’s five members showed up for trophies.

 

During Def Leppard’s induction, Rick Allen was moved to tears by the audience’s standing ovation when singer Joe Elliott recalled the drummer’s perseverance following a 1985 accident that cost him an arm. 

​Jackson wanted to be a lawyer

Jackson followed her brothers Michael and the Jackson 5 as inductees. She said she wanted to go to college and become a lawyer growing up, but her late father Joe had other ideas for her.

 

“As the youngest in my family, I was determined to make it on my own,” she said. “I was determined to stand on my own two feet. But never in a million years did I expect to follow in their footsteps.”

 

She encouraged Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, producers of her breakthrough “Control” album and most of her vast catalog, to stand in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for recognition, as well as booster Questlove. She thanked Dick Clark of “American Bandstand” and Don Cornelius of “Soul Train,” along with her choreographers including Paula Abdul.

Jackson was inducted by an enthusiastic Janelle Monae, whose black hat and black leather recalled some of her hero’s past stage looks. She said Jackson had been her phone’s screen-saver for years as a reminder to be focused and fearless in how she approached art.

 

Nicks blueprint for success

Nicks was the night’s first induction. She is already a member of the hall as a member of Fleetwood Mac, but only the first woman to join 22 men, including all four Beatles members, to have been honored twice by the rock hall for the different stages of their career.

 

Nicks offered women a blueprint for success, telling them her trepidation in first recording a solo album while a member of Fleetwood Mac and encouraging others to match her feat.

 

“I know there is somebody out there who will be able to do it,” she said, promising to talk often of how she built her solo career. “What I am doing is opening up the door for other women.”

Radiohead

David Byrne inducted Radiohead, noting he was flattered the band named itself after one of his songs. He said their album “Kid A” was the one that really hooked him, and he was impressed Radiohead could be experimental in both their music and how they conduct business.

 

“They’re creative and smart in both areas, which was kind of a rare combination for artists, not just now but anytime,” he said.

 

With only drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O’Brien on hand, Radiohead didn’t perform; there was a question of whether any of them would show up given the group’s past ambivalence about the hall. But both men spoke highly of the honor.

 

“This is such a beautifully surreal evening for us,” said O’Brien. “It’s a big (expletive) deal and it feels like it. … I wish the others could be here because they would be feeling it.”

 

The Cure

The Cure’s Smith has been a constant in a band of shifting personnel, and he stood onstage for induction Friday with 11 past and current members. Despite their goth look, the Cure has a legacy of pop hits, and performed three of them at Barclays, “I Will Always Love You,” “Just Like Heaven” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

 

Visibly nervous, Smith called his induction a “very nice surprise” and shyly acknowledged the crowd’s cheers. “It’s been a fantastic thing, it really has,” he said. “We love you, too.”

 

Def Leppard

 

Def Leppard sold tons of records, back when musicians used to do that, with a heavy metal sound sheened to pop perfection on songs like “Photograph” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” They performed them in a set that climaxed the annual ceremony.

 

Singer Joe Elliott stressed the band’s working-class roots, thanking his parents and recalling how his father gave them 150 pounds to make their first recording in 1978.

 

Besides Allen’s accident, the band survived the 1991 death of guitarist Steve Clark. Elliott said there always seemed to be a looming sense of tragedy around the corner for the band, but “we wouldn’t let it in.”

Roxy Music 

 

Roxy Music, led by the stylish Ferry, performed a five-song set that included hits “Love is the Drug,” “More Than This” and “Avalon.” (Brian Eno didn’t show for the event).

 

Simon LeBon and John Taylor of Duran Duran inducted them, with Taylor saying that hearing Roxy Music in concert at age 14 showed him what he wanted to do with his life.

 

“Without Roxy Music, there really would be no Duran Duran,” he said.

 

The soft-spoken Ferry thanked everyone from a succession of bass players to album cover designers. 

“We’d like to thank everyone for this unexpected honor,” he said.

The Zombies

 

The Zombies, from rock ’n’ roll’s original British invasion, were the veterans of the night. They made it despite being passed over in the past, but were gracious in their thanks of the rock hall. They performed hits “Time of the Season,” “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.”

 

Zombies lead singer Rod Argent noted that the group had been eligible for the hall for 30 years but the honor had eluded them.

 

“To have finally passed the winning post this time — fantastic!”

29/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Agnes Varda, French New Wave Pioneer, Dies at 90

Agnes Varda, the French New Wave pioneer who for decades beguiled, challenged and charmed moviegoers in films that inspired generations of filmmakers, has died. She was 90.

Varda’s production company, Cine-Tamaris, said Varda died early morning Friday at her home in Paris from cancer.

With a two-tone bowl haircut, the Belgian-born Varda was a spirited, diminutive figure who towered over more than a half century of moviemaking. Her first film, made at the age of 27, “La Pointe Courte,” earned her the nickname Grandmother of the New Wave, even though she — the sole woman among the movement — was a contemporary of its participants, including Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy, whom she later married.

A photographer-turned-filmmaker, Varda’s films fluctuated between fiction and documentary, often blurring the line in between. Her 1962 breakthrough, “Cleo From 5 to 7,” followed a glamorous woman (Corinne Marchand) in real time across Paris while she awaited results of a cancer exam. In her 2017 Oscar nominated road trip “Faces Places,” she traversed the French countryside with the street artist JR, pasting giant images of people they encountered on building facades.

“Life comes through the frame and through the stock. It’s like a filter,” Varda said in an interview in 2017. “I feel I am an artist but I am a movie maker. I make a film with my hands. I love the editing, I love the mixing. It’s a tool to make other people exist. It’s giving understanding between people.”

Varda worked almost right up to her death, releasing the scrapbook documentary “Varda by Agnes” earlier this year. She had originally intended her 2008 cinematic memoir “Beaches by Agnes” to be her swan song but, to her surprise, ended up with another decade of work. “I’m 90 and I don’t care,” she says into the camera in “Varda by Agnes.”

In 2015, Varda was given an honorary Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2017, she was given an honorary Academy Award. But she was more content, she said, “in the margins.” “I’m flattered,” she said of the Oscar, “but not that much.”

Varda’s films quickly became feminist landmarks and she a champion of women behind the camera. One of the only female filmmakers in France when she started, she led an insurgency that continued, in greater number, through her life. At the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, she helped preside over a protest for gender equality on the red carpet steps of the festival’s central Palais with 81 other women.

At the premiere of what she called her “feminist musical,” “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t,” in 1977, she introduced “a film about women who were also people.” Her “Vagabond,” which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1985, followed a young female drifter (Sandrine Bonnaire) discovered dead in a freezing ditch.

“When I started, my point was not to be a woman,” said Varda. “I wanted to do radical cinema.”

Varda’s death was immediately felt across the movie industry. The Cannes Film Festival said: “The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnes loved images, words and people. She’s one of those whose youth will never fade.” “Moonlight” filmmaker Barry Jenkins recalled a legend whose “life and work were undeniably fused.”

 

Arlette Varda was born in Brussels, Belgium on May 30, 1928 to a French mother and Greek father. Varda, who later changed her name to Agnes, started as a photographer after studying literature and arts. In 1951, she was appointed official photographer of the Theatre National Populaire, and remained in that position for the next decade.

In 1954, well before Godard and Francois Truffaut became the emblematic figures of the New Wave, Varda’s first movie, “La Pointe Courte,” followed a couple going through a crisis in the small port of Sete on the Mediterranean coast. The movie was cut by Alain Resnais but was regarded as too radical at the time and only had a limited release. Varda contrasted the young couple’s story with the local villagers’ struggle to survive, eventually linking the two seemingly disparate ways of life.

She deliberately used a real fishing village, wanting to give the film the look of a documentary. “I’ve always been using reality as a texture to understand better,” she said. “I like for stories to look true.”

She made several documentary shorts, but inadequate funds prevented Varda from making her next feature, “Cleo From 5 to 7,” until 1961. Backed by French businessman Georges de Beauregard, who had supported Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” the film studied Cleo’s evolvement from a shallow pop star to an authentic human being capable of understanding pain in herself and others.

“I obliged myself to follow the time. Ninety minutes, one after another. Real time and real geography,” said Varda. “I filmed all the steps, all the streets. What she does, it could be retraced. I gave myself something difficult because inside the difficulty, I wanted to hear her heart beating.”

The widely hailed “Cleo” built anticipation for her next film, “Happiness,” which won the Silver Bear award at the 1965 Berlin Festival.

Varda married Demy, the “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” director, in 1962 and two were married until his death in 1990. They worked separately but alongside each other, regularly occupying opposite sides of the courtyard of their Paris home.

The filmmaking couple also spent several years in Hollywood in the late `60s. Demy made “Model Shop” there while Varda befriended Jim Morrison of the Doors (she was one of just a handful of people to attend Morrison’s 1971 funeral in Paris’ Pere Lachais cemetery), filmed the Los Angeles-set “Lions Love” and interviewed the imprisoned Black Panther leader Huey Newton for the 1968 documentary “Black Panthers.”

She and Demy had two children together: Mathieu Demy and Rosalie Varda, who both found career in French filmmaking. Varda is survived by both.

Demy’s death fueled Varda’s late period of documentaries, including several heartfelt tributes to her husband including 1991’s “Jacquot de Nantes.”

“I had to stay alive even though he died. I made two films about him. Then I went off and I did cinema. Fiction films are beautiful but documentaries put you at peace with the world. You try to make the world understandable, make the people come near to you.”

One of those documentaries, the 2000 film “The Gleaners and I,” is considered by some her masterwork. Documenting people who live off the garbage thrown out by others, it’s a meditation on waste and reuse, art and death.

“Filming, especially a documentary, is gleaning,” Varda told IndieWire. “Because you pick what you find. You bend. You go around. You are curious.”

29/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

US Seniors Use Marijuana to Ease Pain, Fight Sleeplessness

Once stigmatized and banned across the United States, marijuana is now legalized in many parts of the country, primarily for medicinal use, but increasingly also for recreation. As cannabis becomes mainstream, Americans in their 70s and 80s who used to get high on marijuana in their youth, are now using cannabis-infused products to relieve old age aches and pains. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke has this report.

28/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Trump: FBI and DOJ to Review Smollett Case

President Donald Trump says the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice will review the case of Jussie Smollett, after Chicago police dropped charges against the television actor who was accused of falsely reporting being a target of a hate crime.

Writing on Twitter, Trump called the case “outrageous” and an “embarrassment to our Nation.” So far there has been no statement from the FBI or Justice Department on the matter.

Smollett’s attorneys announced Tuesday their client’s record had been “wiped clean.

A spokeswoman for the Cook Country prosecutor’s office said “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.” She added that Smollett will forfeit a $10,000 bond payment.

But Chicago police as well as mayor Rahm Emanuel have spoken out angrily about the development. “This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice,” Emanuel said, complaining that the grand jury in the case heard “only a sliver” of the evidence.

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said, “”Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology.”

Smollett, who is black and gay, responded publicly to the decision, thanking family, friends, and fans who supported him and vowing, “I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of.”

Smollett reported in January that he had been sent a threatening letter and was then attacked on the street by two men he didn’t know who wrapped a rope around his neck and attempted to pour bleach on him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He also said they yelled, “this is MAGA country,” referring to President Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Police later said that Smollett had staged the attack himself, paying two physical trainers $3,500 to carry it out.

Smollett plays a gay character on the television show “Empire,” which is filmed in Chicago.

27/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Chinese Viewers Balk at ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Film Censorship

A huge fan of rock legends Queen, Peng Yanzi rushed to see Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic about the band’s late lead singer, Freddie Mercury, while he was traveling in Britain last October.

It was a touching film that made him cry hard, Peng says. He loved it enough to watch it a second time in his home city of Guangzhou after the film garnered a surprise China release.

But the version of Bohemian Rhapsody he saw this past weekend was notably different from the original. Moviegoers in China say key scenes about Mercury’s sexuality have been either abruptly muted or cut altogether.

“The cut scenes really affect the movie,” said Peng, a Chinese LGBT rights activist. “The film talks about how [Mercury] became himself, and his sexuality is an important part of becoming who he was.”

Scenes that were deleted include one in which Mercury reveals to his then-wife that he is not heterosexual. In the part of the film where Mercury tells the band that he has AIDS, the dialogue goes silent.

“It’s a pity” the scenes were removed, said Hua Zile, chief editor of VCLGBT, an LGBT-themed account with more than a million followers on Weibo, one of China’s top social media platforms.

“This kind of deletion weakens his gay identity. It’s a bit disrespectful to his real experience and makes the character superficial,” Hua said. “There is no growth and innermost being of him.” Hua said he also watched both versions of the movie, in the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong, which enjoys greater freedoms from censorship than mainland China, and the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The missing scenes confused some moviegoers. Su Lei read Mercury’s biography online before watching the movie Wednesday afternoon so that she could better understand the plot and character development.

“Now it’s a very open era, influenced by some American and British TV dramas. People now can understand and accept this,” said Su, who works for an accounting firm. She called the film “inspiring” and said cutting the gay content was “unnecessary.”

Lu, a freelancer in Shanghai who asked to be identified only by his family name, watched the original version online after seeing the movie in a Chinese theater, where he said he found parts of the dialogue incoherent.

Lu said that despite some lines being erased, it was still obvious the main character is gay. “But the movie has been deleted like this, which affects its entirety,” he said.

Censorship in China

While LGBT content is generally less taboo than other topics that Chinese authorities deem sensitive, same-sex relationships are still virtually absent from mainstream media.

In 2017, a government-affiliated internet TV association warned streaming content providers against depicting homosexuality, labeling it an “abnormal” sexual behavior. A similar move last year from Weibo provoked an outcry that prompted the website to backtrack and state that a “cleanup of games and cartoons will no longer target gay content.”

When Chinese video site Mango TV livestreamed the Academy Awards in February, Bohemian Rhapsody lead actor Rami Malek’s speech was subtitled to read “special group” when in fact he said “gay man.”

Mango TV also censored two LGBT-themed performances during last year’s Eurovision song contest, causing Eurovision to terminate its partnership with the Chinese broadcaster in the middle of the competition season.

27/03/2019
by MediaExpert
0 comments

Unusual Partners Make Afghan Music

An Eastern man and a Western woman make up one of the most unusual musical groups in Washington, D.C. 

Masood Omari and Abigail Adams Greenway both play tabla, an Eastern percussion instrument, every day in Greenway’s basement outside Washington. They call this colorfully decorated studio, Tablasphere. And they call themselves Tabla for Two.

Omari introduces the instrument: “This is a goat skin and the middle part, the black here, is burnt steel, coming from the steel powder and pasted with a strong glue and put in the center. It makes a cosmic sound, you can see?”

To Greenway, every note that emerges from the tabla is a “prayer.”

“It’s mathematically perfect and very meditative,” she adds.

What is unusual is that she and Omari both play the tabla together, giving them a modern sound.

The duo plays three different kinds of music, much of which can be heard on YouTube. The first two are classical music and traditional music of Afghanistan and India. The third:

“We play new music for the New World, we call it. It’s our signature music and it is composed by Masood. It’s for two tabla players,” Greenway explains.

Greenway

Greenway grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, a manufacturing city steeped in U.S. history. Her first two names hark back to the wife of America’s second president, Abigail Adams.

“I grew up listening to classical music and American Jazz,” Greenway says. “My father was a classical violinist.”

A visual artist, Greenway moved a long way from all that when she embraced Afghan music and musical instruments. 

She first became intrigued when she was introduced to the music of India. “I heard the music and I just said this is the most amazing instrument I’ve ever heard, the tabla,” she said, adding, “They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

The pair met eight years ago in an Afghan antique and textile shop in Washington.

​“I realized that he was this amazing tabla player and I asked for lessons. I didn’t know at the time where this was going. All I knew is that I had a huge desire and a force pushing me to learn to play the instrument.” 

“When I saw her first time Abigail, she doesn’t (didn’t) understand the language of Afghanistan. (But) she understand (understood) the beat and melody, and she was very exciting (excited) to learn. She learned quickly.”

Omari

Omari fled Afghanistan when he was 15 and resettled in Islamabad. There, he studied tabla for 10 years and received his mastership before coming to the U.S. in 2002.

 “What’s really extraordinary is that Masood is singing and playing tabla at the same time,” Greenway says about her teacher. “That is exciting.”

Greenway has learned to play harmonium, also known as a pump organ, from Omari.

And here, she earns his praise: “Abigail is playing harmonium in a style no one can play like her. She is playing with her fingers. She is playing very soft, graceful and gentle.”

After devoting years to intense study and practice, the duo formed Tabla for Two. They play at embassies, museums, universities and at the Tablasphere for special invited guests.

Ambassadors

If Greenway worried about acceptance as a woman playing Afghan music, she discovered differently.

“I am clearly an American female and I am playing their music. It’s a coming together of cultures,” she says. “When I play this music they are accepting me, the Afghan people are accepting me.”

This makes Greenway feel “like an ambassador,” which is something of Omari’s philosophy as well.

“I believe that I have an important role playing and preserving the music of my country, Afghanistan and sharing it with the world,” he says.

 “It’s just the beginning. I’ve just started learning about a place that I knew nothing about that has been so ravaged,” Greenway enthuses. 

“And I’m thrilled to show Afghanistan in a positive, beautiful light.”