Global Beat Fusion and the New Digital Mythology

New York – On June 3, Journalist/DJ Derek Beres will be traveling to the
Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta to speak and perform at Mythic Journeys 2004,
a four-day conference centered around mythology in contemporary culture,
featuring such renowned speakers, authors and thinkers as Coleman Barks, James
Hillman, Huston Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen & Robin Larsen and Phil
Cousineau. The first ever of it’s kind, Mythic Journeys will draw thousands to
hear and experience today’s top minds discussing mythology’s relevance in
contemporary culture, inspired by the work of late mythologist Joseph Campbell.
Presenting Mythika Electronika, Beres will discuss how electronic
musicians worldwide are creating a new global mythology by taking their
respective traditional and sacred music forms and placing them into digital
format.An offshoot of his current book-in-progress, Global Beat Fusion, Beres
has spent the last three years researching, writing and performing world
electronica nationally and abroad, playing alongside and interviewing some of
the biggest names in international music. Spending 2 1/2 years as Managing
Editor of Global Rhythm, America’s largest international music publication, he
currently writes for numerous magazines on the topic. He also co-produces and
performs at two highly successful parties in New York City: the weekly
Kollective at Kush alongside South Asian DJ/tabla player
Karsh
Kale
, and the monthly GlobeSonic at Nublu with Fabian Alsultany, Events
Manager for Putumayo World Music, and Bill Bragin, Director of Joe’s Pub, the
city’s premiere international music venue.

A student of Mythology and Psychology – having attained an undergraduate degree
in Religion at Rutgers University in 1997 – Beres draws from the works of Joseph
Campbell, Alan Watts, Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade and Ernest Becker in his global
approach to modern music and the cultural psyche. Being involved hands-on with
the music as DJ, however, Beres refuses the scholarly, detached approach to the
arts, writing in a lively and experiential tone. Mythology and music go
hand-in-hand, and when he found about the groundbreaking conference, he
immediately approached organizers.

I was amazed by the intent of the idea, as well as the speakers involved,”
Beres says. “As I looked through the website, I realized modern electronic
music was not represented; everything was traditional- and folk-oriented. Being
of a younger generation, seeing and writing firsthand about the digital
evolution of music, I felt it needed to be present
.”

Pitching Mythika Electronika, conference organizers invited Beres to DJ and
speak about the subject, as well as lead morning yoga classes (he is a certified
yoga instructor). Over the course of his 90-minute workshop, he will be
discussing how producers and artists have taken their culture’s sounds – ranging
from Moroccan Gnawa, Pakistani Qawwali and Persian Ghazal to Eastern European
Balkan, African Gospel and Jamaican Reggae – and blend them into seamless
electronic music. He will also be talking about how this has created a new sonic
ritual, as well as playing various tracks for the audience. During the course of
the workshop he will touch upon the psychological and social effects of music
and discuss how the infusion of cultures is taking place under the mainstream
radar, using styles such as Bhangra and Bollywood in Hip-Hop to highlight the
trend.

Music is how we learn about each other,” he says. “There are no
borders in sound. I see it every time I DJ an event, with every new CD I put
into my stereo. The initial contact we have is sonic; from there cultural
similarities emerge, but that introduction is through sound. Music is our
connection to something beyond borders, and we’re using our technologies to
experience it firsthand
.”

Mythika Electronika will be presented on Saturday, June 5 at 11 AM – 12:30 PM.
Beres will be DJing numerous events throughout the four days.

[Derek Beres Photo by DJ Khambata].

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