Mycale Takes the Recital Hall by Storm

Published on Oct. 16, 2012

By. Casey So Hyeun Cho

From Left: Malka Zarra, Basya Schechter, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb and Sofia Rei sing at the Recital Hall in UAlbany's Performing Arts CenterPhoto by Casey So Hyeun Cho

From Left: Malka Zarra, Basya Schechter, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb and Sofia Rei sing at the Recital Hall in UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center
                       Photo by Casey So Hyeun Cho

Mycale, a New York based a cappella vocal group consisting of four distinctive singers, visited UAlbany on Oct. 11 to perform songs from John Zorn’s Book of Angels.

Expressive and passionate, the group members are all from different places : American-born Basya Schechter, Israeli Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Argentinean Sofia Rei and Moroccan Malika Zarra.

According to the UAlbany Performing Arts Center’s website, the group “performs a repertoire of Jewish art and liturgical songs. Sining lyrics in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic drawn from Rumi, Fernando Pessoa, Heraclitus, The Hebrew Bible and more.”

Schechter, the leader of her band Pharaoh’s Daughter, was the recipient of numerous compositional and project grans from New York State Council of the Arts, American Composers Forum and the American Music Center.

Gottlieb also composes and performs musical scores fro theater groups such as the “Bull Family Orchestra” and “StorahTelling: and her music as recently featured on Marcia Jean Kurtz;s play “Between Two Worlds.”

Rei has performed and collaborated with renowned musicians and groups such as Folklore Urbano, Alcatraz, Lionel Lueke, John Scofield, Russ Ferrante, Avantango, Samuel Torres group, Geoffrey Keezer and featured with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall in Instant Opera.

Zarra, who is a multi-cultural shape-shiter, has appeared at the Carnegie Hall, and renowned festivals all over the world such as the London Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Festival du Monde Arabe and International Black Arts Festival in Dakar.

Other than singing from their first album, Mycale performed their new songs Huzia, Mumia, Kmiel and Grial from their soon-to-be-released album.

Mycale’s next album is their most recent since 2010, and will be released sometime early next year, according to Schechter.

“I’am more used to actual instrument used in performance,” said UAlbany student Ben Israel. “I thought the way they used their rhythm and voice was great.”

The audience had a chance to talk to the performers after the performance.

“It was wonderful harmony and different from a normal fair,” said UAlbany alumnus Jean Holland.

“Very relaxing and soothing,” said UAlbany alumnus Anne-Marie Farley. “You can feel a whole feeling of peacefulness through your body [when you listen to their music].”

Mycale is a culturally diverse group and the group member’s love of music is the strongest thing that unites them together, according to Gottlieb.