Intercultural Journeys Welcomes New Board Member

Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger

Intercultural Journeys is pleased to welcome Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger as the newest member of the Board of Directors. Elected in July 2018, Ms. Hirlinger is a vocalist, social justice advocate, and music teacher at Abington Friends School.

"We are delighted to welcome Keisha to the Intercultural Journeys Board of Directors," said Dr. Alice George, Chair of the Board of Directors. "Keisha brings a wealth of experiences to IJ’s board, from her musical and educational backgrounds to her training in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her strengths and talents align beautifully with IJ’s peace-driven arts mission, and I am confident she will bring great insight and advice as IJ continues to present and produce high-quality artistic programming driven by contemporary issues.”

Ms. Hirlinger has over two decades of experience as a musician. As a vocalist, Ms. Hirlinger has performed with the Philadelphia Singers, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as hip-hop producer Justin Gilmore of KRU records, dance music producer and DJ MacGuyver, New York composer Andrew Shapiro, and New Orleans composer and trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe. As a music teacher, Ms. Hirlinger has served prestigious institutions such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Settlement Music School, Rita Gold Center for Children and Families, and LiveConnections. Ms. Hirlinger holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Oberlin College, as well as a Master of Arts (Music and Music Education) from Teachers’ College, Columbia University.



PHILADELPHIA, April 9, 2018 — Hailed by critics for their “powerful, emotional, and intimate” (Philadelphia Inquirer) performances, feminist flamenco dance company Pasión y Arte lights up the stage on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 in My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz. Sharing choreographic tools across genres, Pasión y Arte charts a new path across movement and motion to explore the effect of trauma on the female body, an exploration vital to creating social change. Presented by Intercultural Journeys, this performance will take place at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral (tickets: $8-$40).   

Pasión y Arte Artistic and Executive Director Elba Hevia y Vaca says, “Flamenco is my identity, my way of life over a nearly 50-year intense journey of study, exploration, and creation. I continue to strive to penetrate the flamenco dance form at the deepest levels, making use of all I’ve learned and using my aging body to give voice to myself, to women and their stories, and to push the rigid boundaries of traditional macho flamenco, encoded over decades and centuries. As a Latina, indigenous woman from Bolivia, I have my own particular way of looking at flamenco and I want to share some of that unique perspective in this work.”

My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz will be grounded in a rich artistic flamenco history while featuring the transcendent interplay of contemporary/traditional of flamenco dance, music and cante, side-by-side with debut excerpts of a collaborative explorations with postmodern dancer/choreographer Annie Wilson. Wilson seeks to engage with flamenco in ways that deconstruct her practice of postmodernism in a commitment to dismantling the myth of the “neutral body,” a concept that reinforces a white, male-favored, cisgendered framing. In addition to Ms. Hevia y Vaca and Ms.Wilson, additional performers and collaborators include dancers Jeanne d’ Arc Casas and Sarah Candela.

My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz will also feature original composition and the first time collaborating with guitarist Andreas Arnold. Andreas Arnold expresses himself through a musical kaleidoscope that reflects the classical traditions of his homeland of Germany, jazz from the US where he has been living for the last decade, and music from the Mediterranean, in particular the art of flamenco guitar from Andalucía. In addition to Mr. Arnold, the performance will also feature musicians Barbara Martinez (cante), Adam Maalouf (cello) and Jeremy Smith (percussion).

"Elba is a passionate and honest artist, committed to a fierce and profound self-expression in all the work she creates, both as an individual artist and in collaboration with a rich array of additional artists," said Carly Rapaport-Stein, executive director of Intercultural Journeys. "Intercultural Journeys is thrilled to close its 2017-18 season with Pasión y Arte's phenomenal artistic voice."

This is the fifth and final performance of Intercultural Journeys’ 2017-2018 season, Borders & Boundaries.

My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz will be held on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at 7:00PM at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral (23 S. 38th St). For more information and tickets: Tickets are $8-$40.

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Syrian-American hip hop artist Omar Offendum to perform in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, March 20, 2018 — Recognized for his potent poetry and witty wordplay, acclaimed Syrian-American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum takes center stage with Intercultural Journeys (IJ) on Sunday, April 8 for his performance, SyrianamericanA. Tracing the lines from Harlem Renaissance great Langston Hughes to Syrian poet Khalil Gibran, Offendum guides listeners across a compelling poetic pathway in this beat-driven performance.

“The part of my life featured in SyrianamericanA is intimate and passionate—it’s a reflection on the history of my country, of my family, being erased and bombed away. There’s an extra sense of responsibility in our current moment, and my dedication to these stories stems from a sense of loss of the beauty found within Syrian culture,” says Offendum. “Hip hop can be an immense force in bringing people together, bridging cultural divides in a thoughtful and intriguing blend of personal and political.”

Born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC, and living in Los Angeles, Omar Offendum’s artistic output speaks to people across the globe. He has been featured on several major news outlets, toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, and most recently been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa.

In the week preceding his performance, SyrianamericanA, Offendum will take part in educational and community-based events. On Thursday evening, April 5, at the Penn Museum, Offendum joins curator Lauren Ristvet as she gives a tour of the exhibition Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq. Offendum will offer a short performance inspired by the exhibition, and the two will lead a conversation highlighting diverse connections between artistic and historic worlds. Additionally, Offendum will spend a week with the students of Bodine High School, exploring the intersections of poetry and song, as well as give a student-centered performance at Swarthmore College.

“Omar’s lyrical style, filled with contemporary and historic references, is magnetic,” says Carly Rapaport-Stein, Executive Director of Intercultural Journeys. “Juxtaposing the rich history of Syria and his exceptional poetic voice, Omar’s performance will be a timely and powerful artistic journey across cultures and mediums.”

SyrianamericanA  will be held on Sunday, April 8 at 7:00PM in the Ibrahim Theatre at the International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street. For more information and tickets:

Renowned Indonesian Dancer to Perform in Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA, February 8, 2018 — Intercultural Journeys (IJ) welcomes internationally renowned cross-gender dancer Didik Nini Thowok to the Philadelphia stage for Dual Face | Dwimuka on Sunday, March 11 at 7:00 pm. With his signature blend of comedy and dance-based storytelling, Didik weaves together a spellbinding performance that offers a compelling perspective on the duality and fluidity of gender.

The multi-talented Didik Nini Thowok is a dancer, teacher, singer, comedian, costume-maker, and makeup artist. His unique style stems from a multitude of historic cross-gender dances found in Southeast Asian, drawing from the regional dance traditions Sunda, Cirebon, Bali, Central Java, and beyond. Part master dancer, part movement historian, Didik’s in-depth study of these traditional forms and their accompanying costumes, masks, and make-up make him the world’s leading interpreter of cross-gender performance. Didik has performed for dignitaries throughout the world, and has collaborated with respected international artists from across the globe, including Astad Deboo and Pooja Bhatnagar (India), Akira Matsui and Richard Emmert (Japan), and Pieter Chin and William Lauw (Canada). While Didik has performed on the East and West Coasts of the United States, this is his first visit to Philadelphia.

“I followed my heart, and started my work as a response to my natural passion for dance. The more I dance, the more I realize that it is crucial work to keep these traditional dances alive and to pass it on to the younger generation,” says Didik Nini Thowok. “They give a nuanced understanding of Indonesian culture, a well rounded picture of gender representation, and show the depth and beauty of our ancestral roots - which is a very valuable aspect in our society.”

Joining the production is producer and Didik Nini Thowok’s international artist representative, Ratri Anindyajati, who served as curator, dramaturg, and cultural liaison. She worked closely with Didik and IJ curator Alex Shaw to program and sequence the dances, develop narrative structures, and contextualize the performance within the landscape of Philadelphia. The result is a cohesively-flowing show that weaves Didik’s vignettes with the live-improvised musical stylings of multi-instrumentalist and composer Sean Hayward.

In the week preceding Didik’s performance on Sunday, March 11, Didik will engage in events with community partners in the Philadelphia area. On March 6, Didik will give a free seminar at Swarthmore College at the invitation of the departments of music and dance, gender studies, and Asian studies. On March 7, Didik will offer a community dance class with the Philadelphia-area Indonesian dance ensemble Modero and Company.

“Didik’s work is a vibrant addition to discussions of gender expression, as well as a unique look at a fascinating aspect of Indonesia’s performing arts heritage,” says Carly Rapaport-Stein, Executive Director of Intercultural Journeys. “Drawing from the rich history of the art form and his extraordinary talent as a movement artist, Didik’s performance will offer a profound commentary on gender and culture.”

This is the third performance of Intercultural Journeys’ 2017-2018 season, Borders & Boundaries. The season continues in April, as IJ presents Syrian hip-hop artist and poet Omar Offendum in SyrianamericanA, and concludes in May with Pasión y Arte’s My Voice, Our Voice | Mi Voz, Nuestra Voz.

Dual Face | Dwimuka will be held on Sunday, March 11 at 7:00PM in the Ibrahim Theatre at the International House Philadelphia (see map). For more information and tickets:

About the Collaborators

Ratri Anindyajati

Jakarta-born Ratri Anindyajati is an independent producer and official Producer/International Representative of Didik Nini Thowok. A graduate of the MFA Creative Producing and Management Program at California Institute of the Arts, Ratri serves as curator, dramaturg, and cultural liaison for Didik’s US performances. Her passion lies in storytelling and producing works that explore humanity and identity through the lens of diversity and multiplicity of cultures. Before relocating to Los Angeles, Ratri was a producer at the Indonesian Dance Festival, an international contemporary dance festival in Jakarta, as well as arts management and production collaborator at European festivals including Impulstanz (Vienna, Austria) and Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels, Belgium).

Sean Hayward

Sean Hayward is a composer and performer based in Los Angeles and Surakarta, Indonesia. His music is a reflection of his wide ranging interests, which include Javanese gamelan, process music, Balkan folk music, the contemporary classical guitar, extreme metal, and ancient tuning systems. Sean is currently a doctoral candidate in the Performer-Composer program at the California Institute of the Arts where he also serves as a lecturer. Aside from performing as a soloist, Hayward performs regularly as one half of the guitar violin duo, Duo Meranti, an ongoing collaboration with composer-violinist, Chrysanthe Tan. Sean is also the founder of the experimental Indonesian music collective, Gamelan Suara Baru.

Ajinkya Joglekar: #WhyIGive


Intercultural Journeys is made up of passionate people who value diverse cultures, are curious about the world, and want to make a big impact. Throughout November and December, we'll share their stories of giving - their stories of why they think IJ makes a difference in the world.

Music is my passion. When I was younger it was my daily focus and practice; today, it's inherent in everything I do - from sparking creativity to connecting with people. This is why IJ's work is so important. IJ opens my mind to new music and artists and inspires me to be curious again. When we are curious, we can ask questions; we can learn; we can truly connect. This is what IJ does for me and the broader community. Will you join me in supporting IJ today?

-- Ajinkya "Jinx" Joglekar, Board Member, Intercultural Journeys

  Jinx plays the Philly Folk Fest Main Stage in 2005 with Lester Chambers (of the Chambers Brothers) and Jef Lee Johnson.

Jinx plays the Philly Folk Fest Main Stage in 2005 with Lester Chambers (of the Chambers Brothers) and Jef Lee Johnson.