Around The World Concert Series


Standing Rock Cultural Arts'
"Around the World" Music Series presents

-Mimi Jong, erhu, zhonghu, and vocals;
-Jeff Berman, lap dulcimer;
-Susan Powers, banjo and vocals

8:00 p.m., Saturday, September 23, 2017
North Water Street Gallery
300 N. Water Street, Suite H
Kent, Ohio

$10 suggested donation (or pay what you can)
preceded by 7:30 p.m. meet-and-greet featuring light food and drinks

AppalAsia was formed in 2009 by Mimi Jong, Jeff Berman, and Susan Powers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Together they have created an evocative and ambitious performance language for erhu (and zhonghu), lap dulcimer, banjo, and vocals that combines the influence of their folk roots with original composition and inspired improvisation.

The individual members of Appalasia each have extensive histories of collaboration, performing, and recording with artists including Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, Pasang Dolma, Alash, Susan McKeown, Karen Han, Robert Een, Min Xiao Fen, Samir Chatterjee, Linda Thompson, Osei Korankye, Devilish Merry, Arthur Russell, and Huang Xiang, to name just a few.

About the artists:

MIMI JONG (erhu, zhonghu, and vocals) has a diverse musical background acquired from growing up in Indonesia, being educated in Germany, and immigrating to the United States. Since the age of eleven she has been performing on the erhu, a traditional Chinese bowed instrument with two strings, also playing the instrument's cousins the zhonghu and gaohu. By moving beyond tradition and embracing the erhu's versatility, Mimi has performed with jazz, folk, and classical musicians, conducted educational workshops, and performed at music festivals.

With the mission of nurturing cross-cultural connections through art, Mimi has co-founded multiple projects. Partnering with artists from China, Mimi was able to introduce traditional Chinese dance and music to schools in the Western Pennsylvania region. Along with Appalasia, she was a featured presenter and performer at the Festival of Woman Composers conference at Indiana University Pennsylvania. Mimi has also been a returning faculty member of Hundington County Art Council's Folk College. With the group Silk Sound, Mimi has collaborated with various jazz musicians and tabla master Samir Chatterjee to develop a new voice from ancient and contemporary Asian melodies. Demonstrating her open mind and musical flexibility, Mimi collaborated with Persian santur master Dr. Dariush Saghafi and tombak master Mahmoud Tehrani, creating hauntingly beautiful music that transcends cultures and genres. Bringing erhu to modern movement, Mimi’s cross-disciplinary involvements include collaboration with the Mary Miller Dance Company and artist Jennifer Myers' theatrical productions, creating ground-breaking cinematic performances.

Mimi was a 2014 recipient of a "Master Artists and Tradition Bearers Award" from the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. In addition, she serves as the music program director for the Silk Screen Arts and Cultural Organization and is the board President and founding member of HarmoniZing, where her contributions include recruiting renowned artists for local concerts and residencies and providing a platform to encourage diversity in Pittsburgh’s music scene. In 2017 she participated in the 2017 Silkroad Global Musician Workshop at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she had an opportunity to perform in an ensemble directed by pipa master Wu Man.

JEFF BERMAN (lap dulcimer) is a multi-instrumentalist, improvising artist, and composer whose work reflects his global musical vision. A native of New York City who now lives in Pittsburgh, he has developed a genre-extending concept on mountain dulcimer, vibraphone, and percussion, that has allowed him to collaborate across stylistic boundaries with a diverse group of artists from across the globe. Josef Woodward has described his music as “a worldly folk-jazz”, and the Los Angeles Times wrote “Berman bends a chord or strums his Appalachian dulcimer…to stunning effect”. Jazziz has written “...hypnotic vibes work...Berman not only plays vibes, he sounds like he created the instrument,” and music journalist Bill Milkowski has called Jeff’s writing “...hauntingly beautiful...”

Jeff has performed internationally both as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles. Some of the artists he has performed, recorded, and toured with include Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, Robert Een, Susan Mckeown, Lindsey Horner, Osei Koranke, Paul Bley, Linda Thompson, and choreographers Yin Mei and Gia Cacalano to name just a few. He has three recordings on the Palmetto Records label featuring his own compositions, and his music has been used for performance, dance, theater, and film, including the Academy Award-nominated documentary "In Our Water."

Jeff is rostered with the Pennsylvania State Council on the Arts as a Teaching Artist and has conducted residencies and professional development sessions across the Western Pennsylvania region. These experiences have ranged from creating world rhythm ensembles with elementary school students, Aesthetic Education workshops with middle school students, lecture/demonstrations on cross-cultural collaboration with college students, and workshops in improvisation for arts educators.

SUSAN POWERS (banjo and vocals) grew up just outside Pittsburgh in a family with deep roots in the musical landscape of Western Pennsylvania. She has been singing and playing banjo since high school. Both of her parents were sacred singers, and both her grandfather and her great grandfather were fiddle players who performed for local square dances in the Appalachian "old time" tradition. Powers is a founding member of the group Devilish Merry, where she pioneered the use of the five-string banjo in Celtic music. The group has released three recordings featuring her playing, singing and song writing. Powers has adapted her unique ‘claw hammer’ style to blues, rock and pop music, and is acknowledged as a songwriter whose personal imagery evokes the Pennsylvania landscape. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has written “...the primary element that makes Devilish Merry unusual is the prominent banjo by Ms. Powers... her polyrhythmic...clawhammer style [explores] inside the rhythm... an Afro-blues style applied to Celtic music...”. The Pittsburgh City Paper has written, “[her songs]... convey a sense of drama... her approach to the banjo - a bluesy variation on claw hammer plucking - makes her an original.”

Her music has been used in modern and traditional dance, performance, theater, and film, including the Smithsonian exhibit “Lewis and Clark: Clash of Empires,” Roger Sayre's documentary about “outsider” folk-artist Howard Finster, and Jerry Starr's stage play “Buried: The Sago Mine Disaster.”

Powers has extended her educational outreach to “Beyond Appalachia,” a workshop and residency/performance experience that highlights the influence of Appalachian music, from its roots in the British Isles and Africa to its branches in country, bluegrass, blues, jazz, and rock music. She conducts lectures and demonstrations in schools and universities on the aesthetics of cross-cultural collaboration and creativity, and she was a featured presenter and performer at the last Festival of Women Composers conference at Indiana University Pennsylvania.

AppalAsia website:

AppalAsia Facebook page:

AppalAsia CDs:



Standing Rock Cultural Arts is pleased to announce the third season (2017-2018) of its "Around the World" Music Series, which will once again feature an array of outstanding performers from a wide variety of cultures. All performances take place at the North Water Street Gallery (located at 300 North Water Street, Suite H in downtown Kent, Ohio) and start at 8 p.m., preceded by 7:30 p.m. meet-and-greet featuring refreshments.

Saturday, September 23, 2017 - AppalAsia (Pittsburgh-based trio merging the musical traditions of China and the Appalachian Mountains, using erhu, lap dulcimer, and banjo)
Saturday, October 14, 2017 - Baba David Coleman and friends (music, songs, and stories by one of the pioneers of African and Afro-Caribbean drumming in the U.S.)
Saturday, October 28, 2017 - 15th annual Día de Muertos celebration featuring Mariachi Santa Cecilia (4-piece mariachi band performing traditional and popular music of Mexico)
Saturday, November 11, 2017 - Bill Crouse (songs, drumming, dances, and stories of the Seneca Nation, the largest of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy)
Saturday, January 13, 2018 - Oleh Mahlay (songs and history of the 60-string bandura, a zither-like instrument that has been called "The Soul of Ukraine")
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - Samuel Salsbury (Indian classical music performed on the rich-toned sarangi, a bowed instrument with 39 strings, with tabla accompaniment)

The North Water Street Gallery is conveniently located just a block north of the intersection of Main and Water Streets in Kent, Ohio, with free street parking on both sides of the street. Seating is limited, so arrive early for the best seats.

Established in 2015, the "Around the World" Music Series is a concert series presenting outstanding musicians from diverse cultures in an intimate setting.

Concerts are held approximately every other month in the new theater space of the North Water Street Gallery in downtown Kent, Ohio.

The series is an initiative of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, and is curated by ethnomusicologist David Badagnani.

Standing Rock Cultural Arts is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are invite and welcome sponsors to help cover expenses for our art and educational activities. Donations are tax deductible.

Checks payable to:

300 N. Water St., Suite H
Kent, OH 44240





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