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GAVAGAI is a monthly performance series curated and hosted by poet Danielle Blau that brings you poetry and fiction readings scored with original live music by composer-improviser-pianist David Cieri and composer-improviser-bassist Mike Brown, with other skilled improvisers (horn-players, cellists, violinists, vocalists, who knows?) often dropping in onstage as surprise guest-musicians. 

Performances are at 8pm, 

on the second Thursday of every month,

at The Owl Music Parlor - 497 Rogers Ave. Brooklyn, NY.


Suggested donation $10 - As of Feb 2017, all and any money we get passing the hat will be passed along again to Civil Rights Corps.


David Cieri is a true artist. Fearless on the piano, a combination of virtuosity, sensitivity and curiosity, he is constantly discovering new ways to express complex emotions through music that has served as the backbone of our films.  

Ken Burns

This is real music, not trapped by boxes, definitions and genres, but creating its own style. Cieri delivers beautiful moods… honest, imaginative, fearless. 

John Zorn 



Danielle Blau's poem "A Suicide Bomber (Twelve Seconds To Go) Beholds the Teeming Marketplace and Foresees His Death" [originally published as "The Suicide Bomber's Song, Minutes Before" in Narrative Magazine]

Music composed by David Cieri - piano, waterphone.  Danielle Blau - vocals.  Mike Brown - bass.  Adam Maalouf - pan drums.  Adam Good - oud.  Megumi Saruhashi - violin.  Chris Ewers - cinematography.

"[David Cieri and Danielle Blau] present challenging minimalist music with poetry...[that is] interesting and intense...[and] that draws you in with a welcome focus."

Jeffrey James (Editor of International Composer), SoundWordSight Magazine

Danielle Blau’s Rhyme and Reason: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Art of Living the Big Questions is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. Her collection mere eye was selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Award and published in 2013 with an introduction by poet D.A. Powell, and her poems won first place in the 2015 multi-genre Narrative 30 Below Contest. Poetry, short stories, articles, and interviews by Blau can be found in such publications as The Atlantic online, The BafflerBlack ClockThe Harvard ReviewThe Literary ReviewNarrative Magazine, The New Yorker’s book blog, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Plume Poetry, The Saint Ann’s Review, The Wolf, Argos Books' poetry anthology Why I Am Not a Painter, and Plume Anthology of Poetry. A graduate of Brown with an honors degree in philosophy, and of NYU with an MFA in poetry, she teaches at Hunter College. Learn more Blau-related facts here.

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David Cieri began playing the violin at the age of three, but switched to the piano at the ripe old age of six. He has studied with members of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and with ECM recording artist Art Lande, and he has performed his original compositions at such venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Cieri’s film-scoring work includes Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War (with Trent Resner and Yo-Yo Ma, Florentine Films, in post-production), The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (Florentine Films, 2014), The Address (Florentine Films, 2014), Prohibition (with Wynton Marsalis, Florentine Films, 2011), Baseball: The Tenth Inning (Florentine Films, 2010) and the Emmy-winning National Parks (Florentine Films, 2008), Barak Goodman’s Emmy-nominated The Emperor of All Maladies (Ark Media, 2015), and a short directed by George Lucas for The Academy of Arts and Sciences called “The Heart of the Matter” (2014). His original score for Raymond De Felitta's Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story was longlisted for an Oscar nomination in 2013. You can find out more about him here.

Mike Brown's career began with a legitimate position as a cashier in an independent music store and a boldfaced lie about his ability as an actual musician - both of which motivated him to buy a bass, learn to play it, and join a rock band (not necessarily in that order). Four major cities, a couple of bachelor's degrees and some master's classes later, Mike is an accomplished player of both electric and double bass. Exploring everything from rock to jazz to classical to country, specializing in "New/ Avant Garde" music and "extended techniques," Mike has somehow managed to support himself financially as well as creatively. He leads May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way, is one half of the Brown-Jewell duo, and is a member of many other group, including Kotorino, Wheelchair Sports Camp, Keva, Charles Atlas, Now Over Ever, The Kerosene Ensemble, and Fingerprint. You can learn more about Mike Brown here.