This concert is co-sponsored by Myra Melford (Music Department) and Lyn Hejinian (English Department).

“Positive Knowledge” is a performance duo that features multi-instrumentalist Oluyemi Thomas (bass clarinet, saxophones and percussion) and Ijeoma Thomas (voice and percussion). Their compositions emerge from a long, intense, and ongoing involvement with American improvisational and jazz traditions, as reconfigured through their participation in the musical life of other cultures. Both performers have undertaken extended musical travels, in sub-Saharan and northern Africa, the Middle East, and South America (particularly Brazil), as well as Europe and North America. For many listeners, their performances themselves resemble a journey, though not to any known places. The works of “Positive Knowledge” undertake an ecstatic quest of the spirit, seeking the uncommon sounds of sense, correspondence, and borderless harmony.

Now based in Oakland, California, Oluyemi Thomas was born in Detroit, Michigan. He received an Associate of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Washtenaw College in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he also studied music. His love of the arts stems from his childhood, and was passed on to him and his siblings by his parents, who taught them how to hear the music of the masters Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Charlie Parker, and Billie Holiday.

As a creative composer, performer, recording artist, teacher, and engineer Mr. Thomas seeks to express his abiding love for the hidden power abiding in each of the arts. Whether participating in symposia, or appearing on radio, television, recordings, or on the bandstand, his primary focus is to touch the inner core of individuals. He has been privileged to add his voice to that of a wide array of other musicians, including Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Grimes, William Parker, Peter Kowald, John Tchicai, Roscoe Mitchell, Sunny Murray, Kidd Jordan, Eddie Gale, Michael Wimberly, Marshall Allen, Larry Ochs and Miya Masaoka.

Oluyemi Thomas may be heard on NoBusiness Records, Not Two Records, Charles Lester Music, Edgetone Records, Music & Arts, Ear Light Records, Eremite, Rastascan, & BMG labels.

As a performance artist and co-founder of “Positive Knowledge,” Ijeoma Chinue Thomas has toured in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe, sharing her unique word song music system in intimate venues and with festival audiences, and participating in innovative collaborations with local, national, and international artists. She's worked with Alan Silva, Michael Wimberly, Wilbur Morris, Cecil Taylor, Miya Masaoka, Francis Wong, Peter Kowald, Roscoe Mitchell, Judith Kajiwara (butoh dancer) and the Baha'i Youth Cultural Troupe of Liberia. She has also dedicated much of her time and attention as an artist to conducting workshops with children, youth, and college students. She is a founder of Poetry Out Loud a literacy project for children and youth.

Ms. Thomas’s work may be found in her published collection of poetry titled Out of the Fire, as
well as in numerous anthologies.

The latest CD release of work by “Positive Knowledge” is titled “Positive Knowledge: Edgefest Edition”

Rescue mission to a fall down world
Words music the broken places
Life dance for dying environments
Painting windows on every wall
Light warriors approach the dark

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Thursday, April 30, 2015, 4:00am to 6:00am