Lenny Seidman is a tabla player, composer, and teacher who focuses on contemporary applications for tabla and collaborations with non-western drumming and postmodern and non-western dance traditions. He is the co-founder of Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, which unifies the drumming traditions of North Indian tabla, Afro-Cuban bata, Afro-Brazilian samba, and West African djembe. Seidman’s work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Independence Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation, among others. He has been awarded residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts and the Asia Pacific Performance Exchange (APPEX) at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the jazz and world music curator at Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia. In 2017, Seidman received Center support to present ARC, an evening-length performance suite bringing together the drumming traditions of tabla from North India and taiko from Japan, with contemporary dance and Japanese butoh.
Conceptualized by composer, tabla player, and artistic director Lenny Seidman, ARC is an original, evening-length performance suite that brings together the drumming traditions of tabla from North India and taiko from Japan, with contemporary Western, African Diasporic, and Asian Pacific dance. Seidman will direct an ensemble of three tabla players, along with three taiko players under the direction of drummer Joe Small, and three movement artists choreographed by postmodern dancer Laurel Jenkins and butoh dancer Michael Sakamoto. ARC seeks to investigate and reconcile the artistic disparities among these disciplines, exploring tabla’s complex rhythmic cycles, taiko’s relatively simple rhythms that are achieved through full-body movements, butoh’s sparse movements, and the wide dance vocabulary of postmodern choreography. Seidman, a co-founder of Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, explains, “My mission is to make tabla live in the lives of others and to passionately integrate it with multiple diverse drumming and dance traditions.”
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.