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Ka Himeni Hehena in Real Audio while viewing the score.


an Introduction by the author to Ka Himeni Hehena

Hawaiian Words Used in Ka Himeni Hehena

Ka Himeni Hehena

(The Raving Mad Hymn)

by Charles Amirkhanian

August 1997, Bellagio, Italy
copyright 1997 Arts Plural Publishing (BMI)

Composer, percussionist, sound poet and radio producer Charles Amirkhanian is a leading practitioner of electroacoustic music and text-sound composition and has been instrumental in the dissemination of contemporary music through his work as Music Director of KPFA/Berkeley from 1969 to 1992. Currently he is Executive Director of the Other Minds Festival, a new music event in San Francisco he has curated since 1993. Amirkhanian is widely known for his live and taped works utilizing speech (or sound poetry) elements in rhythmic patterns resembling percussion music. His Just, composed at the Swedish Radio in 1972 for the 5th Annual Fylkingen Festival, utilizes the words "rainbow, chug, bandit, bomb", in various repetitive patterns, as does his Seatbelt Seatbelt which has been called a classic of the text-sound genre. He continues to write occasional speech works, including Ka Himeni Hehena (The Raving Mad Hymn 1997) for four voices and tape speaking in classical Hawaiian. The work was premiered by the Ensemble Intercontemporain at Cité de la Musique in Paris on December 19, 1998.

His music has been recorded commercially in US, Canada and Europe. In 1984 the American Music Center honored him with its annual Letter of Distinction for service to American composers through his work at KFPA Radio and in 1989 ASCAP conferred on him its Deems Taylor Award "in recognition of his special contribution to innovative programming and imaginative radio broadcasts". In 1997 he was awarded residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. In 1999 he was appointed an Ella Holbrook Walker Fellow at the Bellagio Center with a residency term extending from October 199 through August 2000.

Amirkhanian's first solo CD was released in March 1998 by Starkland Records - Walking Tune (A Room-Music for Percy Grainger) - and includes the voice work Gold and Silver based on chants at sports events.

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