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Tag: Zili Misik

Zili Misik

2012 Spring Orientation

Orientation week was an invigorating frenzy of free mini chocolate bars, fliers and pamphlets recruiting a myriad of 18-year-olds to various majors, and expounding upon them the secrets of success as a student at the Berklee College of Music. To wrap up the week were a few weekend events to give the students a better idea of the experiences that Berklee could offer them in their future and present Berklee careers.

First, on Friday night (January 20th), was a soul-brightening performance by the lovely ladies of Zili Misik. This group was comprised of seven beautiful, energetic and high-spirited women (all but one were proud alumni of Berklee) who danced around the stage, displaying incredible musical prowess as well as great passion for life and art. Their repertoire consisted of a perfect mixture of original creations as well as traditional folksongs from Haiti, Brazil and West Africa – all infused with endearing anecdotes, captivating rhythms, and danceable melodies. They brought an incredible energy to the room, and left everyone bopping their heads and feeling uplifted and full of life. Following their concert was a reception in the loft – free food for all, and a chance to mingle with other new students, as well as the ladies of Zili Misik. Upon meeting them, the warmth that exuded from the stage was clearly presented face-to-face, and their gratitude for their unique experiences at Berklee were readily shared.

zili misik

The next morning was the Berklee Women’s Welcome Brunch. A spread of deliciously unique food – including mini pancake and raspberry kabobs (genius!) – was the perfect backdrop for a few hours of inspiration, anecdotes and laughter. The tables were laden with various inspirational quotes by and for women, and after much chatting and feasting amongst the tables, these quotes were read out loud to nods of understanding and smiles of illumination.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

“We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone. Whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.” Sandra Day O’Connor

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” Ani Difranco

After a few moving speeches by Berklee alumnus Maya Khaldi and Ayeisha Mathis – highlighting their experiences at Berklee, the difficulties of being a woman in the music industry, and the triumphs of rising above those social constructs – Hannah Christianson took the stage. I have been a huge fan of Hannah’s since I first caught wind of her music – with piano and vocal stylings reminiscent of Regina Spektor, her music is laden with catchy melodies and enriching messages. Her performance was fantastic as always, and ended with a jubilant sing-a-long.

After taking a few hours to allow stomachs to digest exorbitant amounts of smoked salmon, pastries and pancakes, it was time to head over to the Museum of Science for the culminating artistic event of the weekend – a collaboration between Boston-bred rock quintet, Ghosts of Jupiter, and the scientific geniuses of the Museum. It was quite the trippy experience, to say the least – lying back, watching entranced as this vast, dome-shaped screen lit up with the most striking of visuals dancing in front of your eyes and taking you on this insane journey through space. I remember there was one point where I closed my eyes for but a moment, and when I opened them again, there was this colossal owl – eyes flashing, feathers radiant and lustrous – soaring into my face.  It truly was a visually and aurally stunning show, and one that I would highly recommend to anyone and everyone. I so look forward to the next musical and artistic collaboration that the museum chooses to take on!

All in all, it was a great success of a weekend – wonderful music, conversation, food, art, guidance – and a perfect beginning to what is sure to be a fabulous semester at the Berklee College of Music!

To check out the ladies of Zili Misik, go to

To check out some of Hannah’s music, go to


The BANDED Showcase

The projector was working, the crew was in place, and the sound system was ready to go. I stood by the stage, smiling (perhaps more than was cool), as I watched our five BANDED bands give it their all. It was a vibrant and eclectic night for music education at the Brighton Music Hall.

Our production team was there when each band’s new BANDED song was primordial sludge, before it had words… or horns… or a chorus. There is very little documentation of the musical creative process, and even less that explores the collaborative process of bands. PULSE was there with cameras as The MJEML grew a three-movement work from a drone of rhythmic humming, as Ghost Box Orchestra gathered around an image of a desert hitch-hiker, as Zili Misik drew from a rich palette of historical and cultural references, as Aloud put it all down in an afternoon, and as Tumbleweed Company navigated their spiral form. Beyond that, we filmed as Berklee faculty members Prince Charles Alexander, Marti Epstein, Linda Chase and Mark Simos showed up at rehearsal spaces across Boston to bring their unique perspectives to each band’s process; and we were there as tracks were laid down, making these songs the first original PULSE tunes. We had finally made it to the concert, a culminating event to showcase the results of this process. Before each band’s set, we shared short reels of footage with the audience. The video played, the screen moved to reveal the artists, and then there each song was, up on stage, being performed with all of the energy and passion that we saw it composed with.

An exceptional amount of dedication and creativity from everyone involved—bands, faculty, engineers, and the PULSE team—made this project come to life. The concert ran without a hitch, from our opening City Music All-Star act, to the perfectly-timed panel discussion, to Tumbleweed Company closing out the night. I want to extend a huge thanks to Sharon Lynch as floor director for the evening, Nazli Green as concert producer, Erin Genett for her beautiful poster design, Mary Boland who organized and produced video coverage of the event, and our camera and sound crew of Bryna Gootkind, Amy Schrob, James Staub, Zack Zukowski, and Elizabeth Acle. Additionally, I would like to give a shout-out to my fellow BANDED producers, Jeannie Greeley and Nicole Bedard for their spectacular work, as well as PULSE Director Dan Newsom for his support of this project.

Musicians are generally very giving people. If your goal is to move an audience, you can’t hold anything back. These bands were willing to put their process under our lens, trusting that, in the end, it would all help young musicians across the country bridge the gap between theory and creativity. I am excited to make that happen with my team, and hope to foster many more opportunities for the music community to engage with Berklee, PULSE, and the new landscape of music education. –Audrey Harrer, director of BANDED and PULSE creative manager of multimedia.

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