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Untitled Document
Giving & Receiving

Paul Pena, San Francisco Blind Blues/Tuvan Throat Singing Musician Remembered

Paul & his dad playing
at Clarion

with Big Bones,
Kongar-ol Ondar
and Clara

Paul Pena (San Francisco’s blind blues-Tuvan throat singing musician and the main character in the movie “Genghis Blues”) passed away in his apartment on Saturday October 1, 2005.  Paul was diagnosed with pancreatitis.  The disease debilitated him from teaching and performing and he was confined to his home for over five years.

Paul started teaching overtone singing at Clarion in 1993. In 1994, Paul went to Tuva and participated in the overtone singing competition. He became an overnight sensation when the documentary on his journey Genghis Blues won the audience award at Sundance Festival.

Paul was one of the first musicians to appear at Clarion’s world music concert series in 1997.  He almost did not make it.  One week before his show there was a fire in his apartment.  He was overcome by smoke and brought to the ICU.  Michael Santoro (producer for World Music at Clarion) and I decided to turn his concert into a benefit.  His friends came and played music.  But Paul would not want to miss his own gig.  He pretty much escaped from the ICU and came to Clarion.  He was so weak he could hardly walk, but once the guitar was placed in his hands, he was transformed.  From then on, Paul played many times at Clarion, including his 50th birthday concert in 2000.  The very last time he played at Clarion was very much like the first one.  That was two years ago.  Dore Stein (Tangents host at KALW) organized a private gathering of Paul’s friends.  We told Paul if he was feeling good that day, he could come and play for us.  He came, and awed us with his miraculous life force and music.

Paul touched many lives, including my son Lawrence. He was the kindest person I have known.  His music and his being were one, and he loved us all.


A private concert for his friends, 2003

Moh Alileche

Moh Alileche and the Plight of the Imazighen of Algeria, July 6, 2001

Bay Area musician Moh Alileche was born in Algeria. He is the spoke person for the Imazighen, the first inhabitant of Algeria. Imazighen are found throughout North Africa. They are spread from Egypt to the Canary Islands, encompassing Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, including Sub-Saharan regions, such as Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. They are the majority in Algeria and in Morocco, where they continue to struggle to maintain their identity. Today Imazighen has no one from the world
stage on their side.

Moh's first album, "Tragedy (Tawait): A Tribute to Matoub Lounes," was officially released in the United States in April 2000. (Matoub was an Amazigh activist and singer who was murdered in June 1998, near his hometown, Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylia region.)

Clarion hosted a benefit concert featuring Moh Alileche and Kanun player Mimi Spencer. The proceeds went to help the cause for the Imazighen of Algeria.

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