Donate to RODA!

Join us to support the wildest dreams of composers around the world in Roda!

On May 18, 2019, Contemporaneous brings to life a project of visionary new music for the 22-musician ensemble and a sextet of berimbaus — the single-string Afro-Brazilian percussion instrument used in the martial art capoeira. Joining forces with the berimbau sextet Projeto Arcomusical, Contemporaneous builds a musical atlas of the vibrating string, celebrating a diverse history with music by Gambian kora griot Alhaji Bai Konte, California-based harpist, singer, and composer Joanna Newsom, and large-scale new works by composers Ian Gottlieb and Elliot Cole.

Why Roda?



Contemporaneous offers composers and musical artists the chance to imagine what they would most like to create — the most meaningful work they can do — if they could pursue their wildest dreams. Roda comes straight from the heart of this mission, spawned because the composer Ian Gottlieb — having lived and worked in Brazil and having grown up with capoeira — knew that the best music he could create would thread together these disparate strings.

From this kernel of inspiration, we set out to create a project that explores the berimbau’s past and future, and imagines the way we are connected across time and space by our yearning for the sounds of vibrating strings. Through the fostering imaginative visions like Gottlieb’s, we hope to offer an example to everyone that your wildest dreams are meaningful, and to catalyze the creativity in each of us. Please help us bring these dreams to life, and build together a world that supports the imagination of everyone.

What is Roda?

Roda is a performance of new music for Contemporaneous and the berimbau sextet Projeto Arcomusical, which traces the lineage of the berimbau from its likely roots in West Africa to its home in Brazil and to an imagination of its future.

In this groundbreaking collaboration, disparate traditions of string instruments collide in an explosion of radical new music that draws on music for kora, violin, berimbau, and harp.

In world premiere works written for Contemporaneous and Arcomusical, visionary composers Elliot Cole and Ian Gottlieb reimagine the sound of the berimbau to stretch its expressive possibilities in a new context. Cole’s piece Roda takes its title and its physical energy from the circular formation that audiences form around capoeira martial art performers. Gottlieb draws on his longtime study of Brazilian music and his life in São Paulo.

New arrangements map the gorgeous string-playing of revered Gambian kora griot Alhaji Bai Konte and psychedelic folk singer/harpist Joanna Newsom onto the whole 22-musician ensemble of Contemporaneous. Roda is a musical experience that immerses us in a vision of the past and future of our world, bound together across time and space by strings across a resonator.

Kora, the 21-string harp from West Africa that Alhaji Bai Konte played.

Kora, the 21-string harp from West Africa that Alhaji Bai Konte played.

Why support Roda?

  • Your support for Roda will go towards the fair compensation of the sensational team of 28 artists who will bring the show to life. These musicians have dedicated their lives to a singular commitment to their craft, and to paving their own path in the pursuit of never-before-heard sounds.

  • Composers Ian Gottlieb and Elliot Cole are pouring a part of their soul — and a great deal of time — into creating these new works for Roda. We need your support to provide commissions for the massive creative contributions they are making to this project and to our world.

  • With your support, we can document this show with high-quality video and audio recordings to share this joyous experience with as many people as possible. With a little help, you can experience Roda for years to come!

We are so grateful for your contribution to this project and are deeply honored to have you as a part of this journey. We hope that you’ll find Roda to be as exciting and inspiring as we do, and we can’t wait to share this experience with you in May.

From all of us at Contemporaneous, thank you!

When and where is Roda?

Roda will be co-presented by the inimitable World Music Institute at the uber-hip venue Littlefield. Mark your calendar and join us for a veritable happening!

Saturday, May 18, 2019 | 7:00 pm
Littlefield | 635 Sackett Street | Brooklyn, NY

Donate by Check

Checks may be made payable to Contemporaneous and mailed to:

200 Chambers Street, Apt. 12G
New York, NY  10007

Thank you for donating to Roda!

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