Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble Premieres “The Otherworld Cycle”

by on October 24, 2014

Bay Area saxophonist and composer Rent Romus will premiere The Otherworld Cycle, a culmination of over 14 years of research into intersection between modern composition, improvisation, The Kalevala, and Finno-Ugrian traditions in music. The Other World thematic abstractly reference the Uralic “Body of Memory” embedded in Romus’ musical psyche refracted through the multi-faceted lens of improvisation and postmodern jazz.

The Otherworld Cycle will make its premiere at the Community Music Center located at 544 Capp Street in San Francisco, starting at 8pm on Saturday, October 25 with a matinee show on October 26 at 3pm.

Supported by the Musical Grant Program of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and community support from Outsound Presents, admission ranges from $8 to $15. The Community Music Center welcomes patrons of all ages and is ADA accessible.

The first elements of the Other World Cycle took hold after Rent Romus returned home from touring in Northern Europe in the mid-nineties. His experiences lead to continued research into the rich music and culture of his roots from Finland and the surrounding regions that hold a long and mystic history dating back to the end of the last ice age.  Like many Americans whose families emigrated from other parts of the world, much of the details of Romus’ cultural identity, language and traditions were lost to integration over time. As a third generation Finnish American he has spent the last fourteen years delving deep into his roots piecing together stories from his family, photos of family members, and researching the depths of Finnish cultural history land of his grandmothers. Rent Romus says, “The Other World is a place we all carry with us.  Deep inside it manifests as unknown melodies while walking down the street, a feeling of Déjà Vu for people and places we’ve never been before, and a kinship with people we’ve never known.”

The Kalevala also known as the Finish National Epic tells of the creation of the world and the roles that the mythic characters played in that creation. The basis for the Kalevala are known as rune poems, constructed as Karelian folk song styles originally passed on verbally from person to person for ten millennia. Later these were documented in the 19th century by physician, botanist and linguist Elias Lönnrot who assembled them under the banner of the Kalevala which helped to define modern Finnish Cultural and National Identity. Interweaving within the Kalevala are influences from the folklore of the native Northern Sami people who have through new research share a connection to early Finnish inhabitants dating as far back as eight thousand years.

The core group performing The Otherworld Cycle is the Life’s Blood Ensemble
The ensemble features bassists Jason Hoopes and Scott Walton; and drummer/percussionist Timothy Orr, as well as Rent Romus, saxophones, kantele, flutes, bells; and is expanded to include some of the Bay Area’s most creative musicians: Ron Heglin and Bob Marsh voice; Markus Hunt (and former Life’s Blood member) on bass; Heikki Koskinen, recorder, E-trumpet, kantele, flutes; Suki O’Kane and Mark Pino, drums, percussion; Mika Pontecorvo, flutes; and Shanna Sordahl, cello.

Support Organizations:
The appearance of the Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble is made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and supported by the Heller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts|San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.

Calendar Listing:

What: The Other World Cycle new musical works from inspired by ancient Finnish Mythology & the Kalevala
Who: Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble
Where: Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA

When: Saturday Oct 25, 8pm & Sunday Oct 26, 3pm
Cost: Tickets in Advance or @ the door $15/10 & $12/8

For more information:


E. ”Doc” Smith

E. ”Doc” Smith

E. "Doc" Smith is a musician, producer and recording artist with Edgetone Records, who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Madonna, Mickey Hart and many others. He is also the inventor of the musical instrument, the Drummstick and makes his home in San Francisco.

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