Gemina Mille is a dragon and a phoenix, born from each end of the world, in the ancient time when in the minds of people the world was flat. The journey took more than one thousand years, when these two mythical beauties met in a new continent, and the world became round. Together, they remembered where they came from, and shared stories from their ancient world with one another.
Their stories slowly evolved, from the hustle and bustle of medieval markets, to today’s cacophony of global electronic trade. Gemina Mille now speaks one contemporary language, emanating from the same ancient human utterance.
Casting the dragon and the phoenix are Spanish Hurdy Gurdy performed by Tomás Lozano, and Chinese Erhu performed by Mimi Jong, both instruments with a history of longer than a millennium.
Mimi Jong has a diverse musical background acquired from being born and raised in Indonesia, educated in Germany, and immigrating to the United States. Since age eleven, she has been performing erhu, an ancient, Chinese, two-string, bowed instrument.
By moving beyond tradition and embracing the erhu’s versatility, Mimi has performed with jazz, folk and classical musicians, conducted educational workshops, and performed at music festivals and universities.
With the mission of nurturing cross-cultural connections through art, Mimi has co-founded multiple projects. With Jasmine Dynasty and Purple Bamboo Chinese Music Ensemble, Mimi introduces traditional Chinese dance and music to schools in the region. Along with AppalAsia, she was a featured presenter and performer at the Festival of Woman Composers conference at IUP, and Philadelphia Folk Festival. She was a returning faculty member of Hundington County Art Council’s Folk College as well. With the group “Silk Sound,” Mimi collaborated with various jazz musicians and tabla master Samir Chatterjee to develop a new voice from ancient Asian melodies. Demonstrating her open mind and musical flexibility, Mimi collaborated with oud master TomChess, Persian santur master Dr. Dariush Saghafi and tombak master Mahmoud Tehrani, creating hauntingly beautiful music that transcends cultures and genres. Bringing erhu to modern movement, Mimi’s cross-disciplinary involvements include collaboration with Mary Miller Dance Company, and artist Jennifer Myers theatrical productions, creating ground-breaking, cinematic performances.
Mimi was a recipient of 2014 “Master Artists and Tradition Bearers Award” from Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. In addition, she serves as the music program director for “Silk Screen Arts and Cultural Organization” and the board president and founding member of “HarmoniZing,” where her contributions include recruiting renowned artists for local concerts and residencies, and providing a platform to encourage diversity in Pittsburgh’s music scene.
Tomás Lozano is an internationally recognized singer, instrumentalist, composer, scholar and writer born in Barcelona, and raised between southern Spain and Catalonia. His musical career took off while touring Europe, playing folk, traditional and medieval music at festivals in Switzerland, southern France, Germany, northern Italy, etc. By 1993, Lozano was touring Canada and the United States, sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Exterior Affairs. Since then, Lozano resides in the United States where he continues to perform solo and with a number of other musicians across the country.
Known for his eclectic musicianship, Lozano’s performance of Spain’s traditional ballads sung in Castilian, Catalan, Galician and Ladino stand out as iconic. He also plays contemporary, popular and European folk music from France, Spain, Britain, the Middle East and Sepharad. Beyond that, he performs his original compositions, solo or accompanied. He is a permanent member of Daily Bread & Butter, Simkhe, Istanbul Breeze, !Viva la Pepa!, Salaam, Tamango, Shakespeare’s Ear and Kativar. Lozano has been promoting the Hurdy gurdy in the United States for years already, not only by playing, but also by bringing to schools, colleges and universities his informance program: A Journey Through Time with a Hurdy Hurdy. In 2012 with two other friends they started and created the Indiana Hurdy gurdy workshop. www.tomaslozano.com