Collective: Unconscious

Collective:Unconscious is a non-profit (501(c)(3)) corporation, founded in New York City in 1994, and incorporated in 1995. Originally based on Ludlow Street on New York’s Lower East Side, in 2004 it relocated to Tribeca until July 2008. It is now a producing organization.
Collective:Unconscious has had a notable effect on New York City’s downtown culture, society, and entertainment, and has been recognized in the way of financial support by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, partial support from a 2001 Absolut Angel grant for art and technology, and a formal permanent position in the New York University Elmer Holmes Bobst Library special Fales Library Downtown Collection.
Currently, longtime C:U collaborator Pinchbottom is presenting Pinchbottom’s Pretençión: un cirque de burlesque, un burlesque de cirque Off Broadway at The Elektra Theater, and Charlie Victor Romeo is an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes occupies a unique place in American music where sea shanties, English music hall, North American and West Indian folk music, play party songs, the spirit of early rock-and-roll and soulful originals collide. With his band, Dan Zanes and Friends, he has toured the world sharing handmade 21st century social music with enthusiastic crowds of kids and kid sympathizers.

From thrift shop basements to Carnegie hall, from Brooklyn to Bahrain and beyond, the Grammy award winner has been introducing new songs and reconnecting people to songs that have always been there, and still are—although people may have forgotten about them. Referred to as “the family-music genre’s most outspoken and eloquent advocate” by Time Magazine, his widely-acclaimed music has all been featured on Sesame Street, Playhouse Disney, Nickelodeon, HBO Family and Sprout.

In 2014, Dan partnered with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music to launch an innovative new music education program for kids. In Dan Zanes House Party: Songs and Stories from Americas Neighborhoods, children and their parents sing, dance, listen, and learn to make music an integral part of their everyday lives while interacting with the music and stories of the diverse cultures that make up America’s neighborhoods.  Children in the classes are able to explore the rich tapestry of American folk traditions through songs, stories, movement, puppetry and games.

Zanes was born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1961. He was a member of the Del Fuegos from the beginning to the end of the eighties and with them made The Longest Day (1984), Boston, Mass (1985), Stand Up (1987), Smoking in the Fields (1989), and the hit single, “Don’t Run Wild.” In 1994, he released a solo CD, Cool Down Time, shortly after which he moved to Brooklyn, New York with his family, where he then released Rocket Ship Beach (2000) which became an immediate hit with families around America.

Frank Gehry

Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947.  Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In subsequent years, Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned over five decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia.  His work has earned Mr. Gehry several of the most significant awards in the architectural field, including the Pritzker Prize.

Notable projects include Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower located in New York City; Opus Hong Kong Residential; Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris, France; the Biomuseo in Panama; and the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building for the University of Technology, in Sydney, Australia. Current projects include the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Divan Orchestra in Berlin, Germany, and the West Campus for Facebook in Menlo Park, California.

Foday Musa Suso

Foday Musa Suso is an internationally recognized musician and a Mandingo griot from the West African nation of Gambia. Griots are the oral historians and musicians of the Mandingo people, who live in several West African nations. Griots are a living library for the community, providing history, entertainment, and wisdom while playing and singing their songs. The history of empires and kingdoms, tribal conflicts, cultural heroes, and family lineage are all part of a griot’s traditional repertoire. It is an extensive verbal and musical heritage that can only be passed down within a griot family.

Foday is a direct descendent of Jali Madi Wlen Suso, the griot who invented the kora over four centuries ago. Foday spent his childhood in a traditional Gambian village, in a household filled with kora music. He began to play his father’s kora even before he could hold the instrument on his own. Though his father was a master kora player, in griot tradition a father does not teach his own children the instrument. So from age 9-18, Foday studied music and history under master kora player Sekou Suso in the village of Pasamasi, Wuli District.

After many years of rigorous study, in 1974 Foday spent 3 years teaching the kora at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Legon, Ghana. In 1977, he moved to Chicago and became the first kora player to establish himself in the United States. He formed The Mandingo Griot Society with 3 American musicians, playing a fusion of traditional and jazz that is now known as “world music”. Since 1977, he has performed as a soloist and with other musicians throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. Interested in both traditional and cutting-edge music, he has also written many original compositions, toured and recorded with many prominent musicians. In addition to his virtuosic kora playing and singing, Foday Musa Suso is very skilled in playing traditional West African drums, as well as many other instruments.

Foday Musa Suso’s collaboration with Herbie Hancock began in 1984, when Bill Laswell introduced them and they co-wrote a composition for the Los Angeles Olympics entitled ‘Junku’ (‘Let’s Do It’). This song was included on the official Olympic album and on Herbie’s ‘Sound System’ album. Herbie then invited Foday to join his band for a tour of the U.S. and Japan, where they co-wrote and recorded a duet album entitled ‘Village Life’. Afterwards, Foday invited Herbie to play with his band Mandingo on the ‘Watto Sitta’ album. In 1987, both Herbie’s and Foday’s bands joined forces to record ‘Jazz Africa’, a live concert which was released as a CD and video.

Between 1987 and 1997, the musical collaboration between Foday and Bill Laswell resulted in a myriad of recordings and live performances. They co-produced 2 of Foday’s solo CDs, 2 Mandingo Griot Society CDs, and a compilation entitled ‘Ancient Heart: Mandinka and Fulani Music of The Gambia’. In 1991 and 1993, Foday joined Bill and Ginger Baker to tour Europe and Japan, which resulted in the release of 2 live CDs, ‘Imabari Meeting’ and ‘Material: Live in Japan’. Bill also introduced Foday to Pharoah Sanders and produced the 1996 ‘Message From Home’ CD that featured a collaboration between Foday and Pharoah. In 1997, Foday and Bill traveled to Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau to record ‘Jali Kunda: Griots of West Africa & Beyond’. Foday performed on and co-produced this CD, which was accompanied by a 96-page full-color book of photos and interviews from Foday, his family, and the other griots involved.

Foday also has a long history of collaboration and performance with renowned composer Philip Glass. In 1985 they co-wrote the soundtrack for the movie ‘Powaqqatsi’, and in 1990 co-wrote the music for a revival of the Jean Genet play ‘The Screens’. In 2004 they collaborated on the music for ‘Orion’, a concert work commissioned by the Cultural Oympiad which premiered in Athens Greece preceding the Olympic Games. Since the early 1990’s, Foday and Philip have performed in concerts together at venues all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Barbican Center in London, and the Melbourne Arts Centre.

In addition, Foday has worked closely with the Kronos Quartet, an ensemble who commissioned him to compose five works. ‘Tillyboyo’ (Sunset) was released on their 1992 CD ‘Pieces of Africa’. Foday and Kronos have performed together at venues such as Lincoln Center in New York, Staatsoper Opera House in Vienna, and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

From 2003-2005, Foday and Jack De Johnette toured extensively together and recorded 2 CDs, ‘Music from the Heart of the Masters’ and ‘Ripple Effect’.
In 2008, Paul Simon invited Foday to perform with him in ‘American Songs’, a weeklong musical retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Also in 2008, Foday composed music for the acclaimed Susan Cohn Rockefeller documentary about Dr. Rick Hodes work in Ethiopia, entitled ‘Making the Crooked Straight’, due to be released on HBO in 2010. After 32 years in Chicago, Foday Musa Suso now makes his U.S. home in Seattle, Washington.


Godfrey Reggio

Godfrey Reggio is an inventor of a film style which creates poetic images of extraordinary emotional impact for audiences worldwide. Reggio is prominent in the film world for his QATSI trilogy, essays of visual images and sound which chronicle the destructive impact of the modern world on the environment.

Born in New Orleans in 1940 and raised in Louisiana, Reggio spent 14 years in a Roman Catholic religious order of men (the Christian Brothers) —living in community, dedicated to prayer, study, and teaching. Based in New Mexico during the 1960’s, Reggio taught school, lectured, and co-founded Young Citizens for Action, a community organization project of juvenile street gangs. Following this, Reggio co-founded La Clinica de la Gente, a Santa Fe community medical clinic, and La Gente, a community organizing project in the barrios of Santa Fe.

Based in new Mexico during the sixties, Reggio taught grade school, secondary school and college. In 1963, he co-founded Young Citizens for Action, a community organization project that aided juvenile street gangs. Following this, Reggio co-founded La Clinica de la Gente, a facility that provided medical care to 12,000 community members in Santa Fe, and La Gente, a community organizing project in Northern New Mexico’s barrios. In 1972, he co-founded the Institute for Regional Education in Santa Fe, a non-profit foundation focused on media development, the arts, community organization and research. In 1974 and 1975, with funding from the American Civil Liberties Union, Reggio co-organized a multi- media public interest campaign on the invasion of privacy and the use of technology to control behavior.


Goran Bregovic

Born in Sarajevo to a Serbian mother and a Croatian father after a few years of (very unenthusiastic) violin studies Goran formed his first group, the White Button, at the age of 16. White Button’s rock-n-roll style was influenced by the desire for Bregovic and his friends to find an outlet for self-expression. As he explained, “In those times, rock had a capital role in our lives. It was the only way we could make our voices heard and publicly express our discontent without risking jail.”

Bregovic toured with White Button for 15 years before taking time off to compose music for Emir Kusturica’s film, Times of the Gypsies. He went on to compose for several other films including Arizona Dream, 27 Missing Kisses, and Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winners La Reine Margot and Underground. Recently, Bergovic composed the music for Radu Mihaelanu’s Train de Vie, which released to great critical acclaim in Venice, Sao Paolo, and Berlin. He also added “actor” to his resume after playing the lead role, in addition to composing music, in the films Giorni dell’Abandono and Music for Weddings and Funerals. Additional music cred- its include Silence of the Balkans, Hamlet, The Children’s Crusade, and Divine Comedy.

In 1995, Bregovic began performing live with more than 100 musicians in mega-concerts given in Greece, Sweden, and Belgium. The following year, Bregovic performed very few concerts due to the intimidating size of his large orchestra. In 1997, he reduced the size of the orchestra to 50 musicians and performed a concert of his music composed for film. A successful European tour with his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra followed, showcasing some of Bregovic’s most beautiful pieces including “Ederlezi,” “In the Death Car,” and “Kalasnikov.” A concert stop at the Piazza St. Giovanni in Rome drew more than 500,000 fans, confirming without a doubt that Bregovic’s music had reached an international level of success.

In 2002, Bergovic combined three members of the Moscow Orthodox Choir, the string sec- tion of the Moroccan Tetouan, and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra for a special program called “My Heart has Become Tolerant,” commissioned by the Festival of Sacred Music of St. Denis. The program was also performed that year at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Esplanade of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Festival of Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco.

In 2004, Bregovic composed his first opera entitled, “Goran Bregovic’s Karmen with a Happy End”. Written, composed, and directed by Bregovic, the gypsy opera is interpreted by members of his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra and has been performed more than 100 times since its debut. In 2005, Bregovic’s legendary group, White Button, reunited for a sold-out tour of three former Yugoslav capitals. The success of the shows proved that Bregovic’s music had the power to unite people through his heritage-rich sound. Bregovic brought the tour to North America in 2006, performing extraordinary concerts at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the Lincoln Center Festival in New York.

Bregovic’s new album, Champagne for Gypsies, is scheduled for a 2012 release and represents a reaction to the extreme pressure and discontent that Gypsies have been experiencing across Europe.

Hal Willner

Hal Willner is among the most eclectic and wildly original music producers in contemporary music. Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, he turned his childhood obsessions of TV variety shows, sixties FM and old time radio, comedy albums, and any music that his classmates hated into a inimitable career. Best known for his multi-artist concept records interpreting the music of Nino Rota, Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill, film music of Walt Disney, and Charles Mingus, his productions also include records by Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, Allen Ginsberg, Laurie Anderson, and William S. Burroughs. In television, Willner has been providing “sketch music adaptations” for NBC’s Saturday Night Live for the past twenty three seasons. He was Music Producer on the legendary show Night Music and on the film soundtracks to Short Cuts, Kansas City, Million Dollar Hotel, Finding Forrester, and Gangs of New York. At UCLA Live he has produced The Harry Smith Project (April 2001) and (with Janine Nichols) two Halloween evenings of Edgar Allan Poe (October 2001 and 2002). Pomegranate Arts was honored to work with Hal on the now legendary “Came So Far for Beauty, An Evening of Leonard Cohen Songs” originally produced in Brooklyn in 2003.


Improbable brings together the diverse and acclaimed talents of some of Britain’s most highly imaginative theatre practitioners including founders and Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott, Lee Simpson and Julian Crouch.

Phelim, Julian and Lee had been working in theatre separately and together in various combinations for some years, and had successfully resisted the urge to formalize their relationship into a “theatre company”. In the Autumn of 1996 they gave in and formed Improbable with producer Nick Sweeting.

Since then, the seven shows they have made as Improbable, 70 HILL LANE, ANIMO, LIFEGAME, CINDERELLA, COMA, SPIRIT and STICKY have established an international reputation for innovative, exciting, accessible theatre.

Improbable’s work has been seen in the UK, the United States, Egypt, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Canada, Lebanon, Ireland and Holland. 70 HILL LANE has won several major awards including an OBIE for Outstanding Achievement in Off Broadway Theatre, the 1997 Time Out Award for Best Off West End Production, Best Performance at The Cairo International Theatre for Experimental Theatre and The Manchester Evening News Award for Best Fringe Production.

Improbable’s shows have grown out of a way of working that means being prepared to create work by the seat of your pants and the skin of your teeth, stepping onstage before you are ready and allowing the audience to have an integral part in the creation of a show.