Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma
Many years before what we call “World Music” appeared on the scene, certain individuals had already understood the enormous value and vast variety of the world’s various musical traditions and had dedicated their lives to their study. One such person is Ross Daly.
Although of Irish descent, Ross Daly does not really fit into any particular ethnic stereotype given that his life has been spend in many different parts of the world and his home for the last 35 years is the island of Crete in Greece. Ross Daly, at a very early age, discovered that music was, in his own words, “the language of my dialogue with that which I perceive to be sacred”.
This dialogue eventually led him to the great modal traditions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent where he finally found the musical archetypes that he had been searching for all his life. In these traditions he encountered music which was not merely a vehicle of selfexpression, but which was able to take one beyond what one normally perceived to be the boundaries of one’s self into other transpersonal realms of experience.
This discovery changed everything in Ross Daly’s life and he subsequently gave up all other activities and dedicated his life to the study of the innermost secrets of these musical traditions as well as to the art of composition. He subsequently travelled extensively, studying under many of the world’s greatest masters of modal traditions.
After many years of intensive training in a variety of musical traditions, Ross Daly turned his attention largely to composition drawing heavily on all of the knowledge which he acquired during his long apprenticeships. Today he has released more than thirty eight albums of his own compositions as well as of his own arrangements of traditional melodies that he collected during his travels. The island of Crete in Greece still provides a base for his personal and musical research as he continues travelling around the world performing his music.
Kelly Thoma was born in Piraeus in 1978. Since 1995, she has been studying the lyra with Ross Daly and three years later started travelling with him and his group, “Labyrinth”, participating in concerts in Europe, Asia, Australia and the U.S. She has taken part in many projects with musicians from various different traditions from other countries.
Being a member of “Labyrinth” and Labyrinth Musical Workshop she has had the chance to meet and play with many important musicians such as the Trio Chemirani, Omer Erdogdular, Derya Turkan, Zohar Fresco, Pedram Khavar Zamini, Dhruba Ghosh, Ballake Sissoko, Erdal Erzincan, Mehmet Erenler,Yurdal Tokcan, Ustad Mohammed Rahim Khushnawaz and many more. She participates in many of Ross Daly’s projects : Ross Daly Quartet, Seyir, Iris, White Dragon (…) as well as in ToksoFolk String Quartet, (with Anne Hytta, Eleonore Billy and Sigrun Eng) and has performed in Carnegie Hall, Theatre de la Ville, Queen Elizabeth Hall, San Francisco WMF, Rainforest WMF, Womadelaide, Rudolstadt and many important venues and festivals around the world.
She has graduated from the English Literature department of the Athens University as well as from the ”Rallou Manou” Dance School.
The Aya & Tano Collective
Led by Aya Safiya and Tano Brock, The Aya & Tano Collective is a Boston based eclectic musical project that plays traditional Greek, Turkish, and Albanian music.
Both Aya and Tano grew up in the SF Bay Area where they were raised in a thriving community of Balkan, Greek, and Turkish musicians. In 2015, they embarked on a journey to Eastern and Southern Europe in search of music. With the songs they collected throughout their travels, they began to build a repertoire and perform regularly. Since moving to Boston, they have connected with Panagiotis Aivazidis, a qanun player from Serres, Greece, Cypriot bassist Manos Stratis, and Palestinian percussionist Alber Baseel. Together they play music from various regions of Greece with an electrifying chemistry.