Sita Chay: Violinist, Grammy Winner and Multi-dimensional Artist
Sita Chay is a multi-talented, multi-faceted artist who deftly shifts between genres and artistic disciplines. It’s quickly evident with just a glance at her bio. She plays violin with the world renowned Latin music band, Flor de Toloache, for which she won a 2017 Latin Grammy, the first and only Korean artist to do so. Contrast that with her contemporary shaman ritual project SaaWee which is an interdisciplinary work that combines movement, sound, and visual languages, and you quickly see that she is an artist with great depth and vision, but it doesn’t end there.
Deeply interested in immigrant arts, Sita founded the multi-cultural project called the Cosmopolis Collective. This group shares the stories of immigrants and its aim is to bring the community together by highlighting the similarities between cultures. The New York Times, The New York City Council, and the Immigrant Arts Coalition have all taken notice and Local 802 Members may recognize her from the September 2017 cover of Allegro Magazine.
“I have always felt very fortunate being musician because it helped me to deeply connect with artists of different eras and cultural backgrounds. To me, music reveals the truth. It outweighs superficial barriers and I wanted to share this way of understanding with wider range of audiences. My world music band, Cosmopolis Collective, was founded with the hope that we can raise awareness of the commonality of diverse traditions - our innate tendency of being constantly influenced by different cultures is a beautiful power that connects us. I believe that realization helps bring harmony to the community.”
In 2016, Sita found her way to Broadway as a sub for On the Town and it had huge influence on her:
“It was the ‘aha’ moment for me when I first watched the book of On the Town in the pit. I finally understood my reason for studying acting and dancing which I thought was kind of a waste at the time. It is difficult to put into words the unique energy of Broadway orchestra: we are happily susceptible to actors’ every little ad-lib. The conductor, audience, stage director, and the props department, are all responsible for creating the lively magic of theater. When this magic happens, there is no room to hold back. I love that sensation of diving in with all the senses awake. This is something I can’t leave behind even when I am outside of the Broadway world. I am now always thirsty to create in three dimensions and for all the senses. When I started my contemporary shaman ritual project, SaaWee, I brought with me all the things that created magic on Broadway shows - story, movement, visual art, and connection with the audience. I wanted to create a space where everyone is involved through all senses, leaving little option of drifting away from the journey. When SaaWee starts the ritual, the percussionist and I walk around the audience who are seated in circular shape surrounding us so that the vibration of the jang-gu (Korean drum) and the violin envelops the audience. As Broadway actors embody the characters in their entirety on stage, we are never out of character during the ritual. We are shamans who touch upon sadness and joy of the current society not only through the sound but also through all the languages we are given to express. When we walk in circular motion, we are outlining the shape of the room of such dimension. When we sit on the floor barefoot, we represent the connection to the soil and nature."
Sita has also found likeminded interdisciplinary artists while working on Broadway and was inspired by the level of artistry at every show she performed.
“It is important for the public to know that Broadway consists of open minded and multifaceted artists and that ability plays a crucial role in bolstering multidisciplinary identity of the Broadway show. I think those talents we have as collective should not be overshadowed by commercial atmosphere. Through this creative platform, I am continually inspired by my colleagues’ musical journeys and what they can create."
SaaWee performs in Europe this summer and will have their album release show on August 21, 2019 at Nublu in New York City.
For more about Sita visit:
More videos from Flor de Toloache