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Old Grey Goose on Tour

Mongolia, 2014Mongolia

In April of 2014, the Goose headed for Mongolia on an exciting ten-day tour. We played and taught dances at a number of Mongolian and American schools; in a Jazz Club where the owner joined us on drums; on national television; in gers (yurts) where we were treated to tremendous Mongolian hospitality; under the Great Blue Sky on the beautiful Mongolian Steppe; for Embassy staff at an informal residence party; at a school for the blind; at our hotel lounge for American, Mongol, Kuwaiti, and Japanese guests; at the Arts and Cultural University where we played for college students studying music at the Philharmonic Theatre for a formal concert; and at multiple other venues from Ulaanbaatar to Sukhbaatar on the Russian / Siberian border. We performed with a yodeler who had learned American cowboy music on the Internet and with throat-singers (khoomi), dancers and instrumentalists along the road to Siberia.  One of the highlights was practicing and performing with the well-know Altai band, pictured here.  In addition to being tremendous human beings, they are accomplished instrumentalists, performers and singers. Enduring friendships were made, and much was learned about one another's cultures. Eric kept a journal of the trip, and has made it available here (pdf file).

Israel & Jordan, 2008Dance at Andy's

In July 2008 the Goose toured Israel and Jordan. Eric kept a journal of the trip, which you can read here.

Performances in Israel included performing in venues such as the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Yaffo; the Janice and Philip Levin Music Center; sharing the stage with musicians at the Israeli Folk Club Bikurei Haitim in Tel Aviv; entertaining at the Ambassador’s residence for the Fourth of July celebration; conducting a workshop and performance at Hed College of Music in Tel Aviv; offering a performance at the University High School “Leyada” in Jerusalem; doing another at the Diwan El Lajun Theater, Biladi Center Arara Village; providing a program for Rahat’s Community Center; doing a concert in Nazareth; and calling a backyard country dance at the home of Public Affairs Officer Andy Koss.
In Jordan the Goose played for school children at King’s Academy in Madaba; at the King Abdullah II Cultural Center in Zarqa; at the Haya Cultural Center in Amman; and at the Palestinian refugee camp in Baqaa. They also rehearsed and performed with the "Greater Amman Municipality Oriental Band."

Watch a slideshow of the Israel & Jordan trip. 

Turkmensitan, 2008

still spinning

In 2008, the Goose returned to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to play at the fifth national Turkmen Folk Festival. They had played at the First National Festival five years earlier when the line-up consisted of bands from the five regions of Turkmenistan and the Old Grey Goose. This time fifteen different countries including Iran, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, China and more had been invited to participate. American Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland, who said in his opening remarks, "Only when people understand and appreciate each others' cultures will world peace be possible," perfectly captured the spirit of the event.

Watch a slideshow of the Turkmenistan trip.

Mauritania, 2007OGGI in Mauritania

In July 2007, the Goose revisited West Africa with a tour to the Sub-Saharan country of Mauritania. They performed for the CARITAS Street Children Center at Dar Naim; for school children at Ecole Diamly at Sebkha; for the opening of the "Window on America" exhibition at the National Museum in Nouakchott; at the Ecole 2 de Medina and a youth center in Rosso (a memorable outdoor concert in 100+ degree heat that started with four police, a boy, and a dog but eventually grew to about a hundred kids who stopped playing soccer to come listen); at the Maison de Jeunes and for Embassy staff with the musical group "Diddal Jaalal" at a Youth Center in Kaédi; and with a local group that showcased the traditional dances and songs of the three main ethnic groups living in Kaédi: the Pular, the Soninke, and the Moor. In addition, the Goose conducted radio and television interviews and participated in a speakers' program for students of American Studies at the National Museum.

Watch a slideshow of the Mauritania trip.

Benin, 2006Benin Tour

In September 2006, the Goose visited Benin, West Africa. We played at Ambassador Brown's residence for an informal concert for the international diplomatic community; conducted workshops and held public concerts with local musicians in Cotonou; met and played with students at the St. Michel School of Music and the SOS Children's Village Orphanage School. We performed a memorable concert at the Ancienne Maison de la Culture in Ouidah, the former slave port and Benin's center of Voodoo, where the lights went out throughout the entire town during our second song.  The Goose continued to perform the concert the rest of the evening by candle light!

Watch a slideshow of the Benin trip.

Algeria, 2006OGGI in Algeria

In July 2006, the Goose visited Algeria. We rehearsed and then performed in the Palais de la Culture with the Algiers band "Es Soundoussia," a traditional folk orchestra playing Adulusian music of Northwest Africa. We also played at the Maillot Hospital and the Belfort Hospital for Children; performed a kid's concert at the Village Africain; entertained at the United States Ambassador's residence for a traditional Fourth of July celebration; and held press conferences for radio and television broadcasts.

Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, 2005

In September 2005, the Goose returned to Central Asia to participate in the "Sound of Hearts" international traditional music festival in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, sponsored by the Tajik Ministry of Culture. The band formally represented the United States at the festival and played informally with other traditional musicians from Russia, India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Germany, Afghanistan and elsewhere. OGGI also presented a master class and concert at the College of Arts in Khujand, Tajikistan.

Following the festival, the Goose traveled overland to Uzbekistan and performed at a school for disabled children in Termez, at the Farkhad Palace in Navoi, the Bukhara Musical College, back in Tashkent via rail, at the Hamza Musical College and in concert at the Ilkhom Theater with some of our old friends from the Sogdiana Folk Orchestra. 

Watch a slideshow of the Tajikistan trip.

Cuba, 2004

In February 2004, the Goose traveled to Trinidad, Cuba with artists and musicians affiliated with the Brunswick-Trinidad Sister City Association, traveling under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Miami. The group exchanged songs and fellowship with many Cuban musicians and performed every day with the Trinidad-based band Los Pinos, the house band at the Casa de la Cultura. The Goose also performed at an orphanage; a coffee-growing collective community; in churches and restaurants; on buses; on television; and in numerous concert halls and venues, indoors and out. At a time when few Americans were allowed to visit Cuba, OGGI was able to participate in many musical collaborations in and around the historic southern city of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traditional American folk music sounds great with a six-piece Cuban percussion section- maracas, claves, conga, rhumba box, etc.!

Watch a slideshow of the Cuba trip.

Central Asia, 2003

In April 2003, the Goose left for a two-week musical tour and cultural exchange in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan on the same day that American troops marched into Baghdad. Representing the United States through traditional song, story and dance during this historic and challenging time was a life-changing and inspirational experience.

In Turkmenistan, the group performed at the Mollanepes Theater in Ashgabat with more than a dozen traditional musicians representing the five "welayats" (regions) of Turkmenistan alongside the traditional dance ensemble "Serdara Serpay."  Outside of Ashgabat,  OGGI performed for an orphanage in Abaden City and later, back in the city, at the National Cultural Center.

In Uzbekistan, the Goose performed at the Caravan Art Gallery in Tashkent with local musicians and dancers.  They also performed concerts and conducted workshops at the Uspensky Musical College and the University of World Languages in Tashkent. In conjunction with the Sogdiana Folk Orchestra, OGGI performed at the State Uzbek Conservatory in Tashkent and at the Khamid Alimjan Theater in the ancient city of Samarkand.

In Kyrgyzstan, the Goose toured with the legendary Kyrgyz folk quintet, Tenir Too, presenting workshops at colleges and music schools and formal concerts at venues throughout the country including the Karakol Drama Theater, the Karakol Music College,  the Shubin Children Music School, The Tokmok Palace of Culture and the Kara-Balta Palace of Culture.

In each country the Goose rehearsed and performed with local musicians; played at schools and orphanages; offered formal and informal concerts; conducted educational and cultural workshops; held press conferences; performed on television and over the radio; and toured and performed in the countryside where American musicians had never been. Playing 52 times over the two-week period, the lasting memory is of wonderful Central Asian people and musicians and their warm and genuine hospitality.

Poland, 2003, 2005

In 2003, The Goose returned to Poland to participate in "American Days" in Bialystok; perform in Gdansk, at the Higher School of Public Administration's picnic; at the AmCham picnic in Warsaw; and at the Ambassador's reception at Branicki Palace. They also had the great pleasure of spending a couple days playing and working with the Borderland Foundation, located in northeast Poland in the town of Sejny. The Borderlands region includes parts of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia, and the organization was founded with the mandate to build a platform of cooperation and mutual enrichment among multicultural communities. Among these is the rich traditional Jewish culture that Foundation members are renewing through the re-introduction and performance of Klezmer music.

In 2005, the Goose again traveled to Poland for a series of outdoor concerts. They played at the Osrodk Sportu i Rekreacji (OSiR); an open-air concert in Czluchow; the Old Market in Szczeczecinek; the amphitheater in Charzykowy; and the Tezew Amphitheater.

Poland, 2002

The first overseas tour for Old Grey Goose International (OGGI) was at the invitation of the cultural affairs office of the United States Embassy in Poland. The group performed at the Embassy's Fourth of July receptions at a Palace in Lodz, at the Ambassador's residence in Warsaw, and at the American Days Festival in Sandomierz. The group also performed for an English Language summer school and a children's orphanage in Warsaw.  At the American Days Festival the Goose performed and jammed with a local Polish rock group, an experience that inspired many future international musical collaborations, a hallmark of the OGGI's touring programs.

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