I am Ashé - trailer
A preview of the live multimedia show, which joins video artistry from Luis Gaitan and Salvador Castro, sound-design wizardry from Daniel Jauregui, music by Suns of Mercury and Adrian Hearn, and dance magic by Adrian Medina and Heidy Batista. See the Suns of Mercury Facebook page for the where and when!
I Am Ashé - documentary
Cuba's unique culture derives from a blend of European, Asian, and African influences. Ashé is a key principal of the island's African heritage, encompassing a philosophy of human symbiosis with nature. Initially brought to the island by two million victims of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the concept of Ashé consolidated over three centuries into the spiritual system known as Santería. Santería has endured discrimination and commercialization to become a global phenomenon now practiced by some five million people in the United States alone. Introduced into Australia in the early 2000s by Cuban practitioners, Santería's focus on human-natural balance aligns with ancient Indigenous beliefs and with emerging public commitments to environmental responsibility. Produced through a partnership between The University of Melbourne, the Afrekete Festival, Santería ritual specialists, Suns of Mercury, and a growing community of supporters, this short film explores these deepening connections.
Some in China paint a picture of eternal harmony. Millions of others say that paintings have artists. The art of the ethereal is sometimes powerful and other times fragile – it depends on the hand that holds the brush.
Guests: Fu Han (erhu, China), Zhang Mengxian (erhu, China), Li Yuan (guzhen, China), Shi Jiu (accordion, China), Iceganja (vocal, China), Renmin University students (vocal, China), Paul DeCastro (corneta china/suona, USA)
Just a Game
He was a friend and we knew where he stood. But he moved to D.C., played the game, and changed. It’s a common story in Cuba, where everyone knows someone who has “gone to the North” but lost something along the way.
Guests: Afi Ayanna (vocal, USA), El Genuino (vocal, Cuba), Grupo Aña Vi Ará (percussion, Cuba), Jorge González (guitar), Laëtitia (vocal, Australia)
Nobody knows how many people have died from drone attacks. The only official figures come from the White House: between 2009 and 2015, U.S. drones killed “between 64 and 116” civilians, excluding operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. When the numbers from these countries are added, independent observers estimate more than civilian 1,000 fatalities. As we composed this song we considered the good and evil of technology: it has enabled an international project like Suns of Mercury, but it has also changed the nature of confrontation. Victims don’t see the faces of their attackers, and at most see a winged robot with a digital eye. Employed as a “sensor” in the U.S. Air Force Predator program, Sergeant Brandon Bryant found this cold anonymity “horrible and numbing” and left his job in 2011. This song imagines his experience.
Guest: Claudio Cartagena (percussion, Australia), Milton de Souza (percussion, Brazil), Gavin Nebauer (guitar, Australia), Neda Rahmani and Marrs Coiro (percussion, Australia), Hugh Stirzaker (bass, UK)