Cameron Powers -- Biography
Fascination with Peruvian Indian peoples encountered on mountaineering expeditions led Cameron to spend 8 years going to and from Andean villages back in the 1960’s and 70’s. He immediately discovered the value of learning to play their music with them as an easy aid to bonding in trust and friendship.
Cameron graduated with BA in Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder, with an emphasis on the study of Quechua, the language of the Incas.
Cameron also received a fellowship to attend a two-month intensive immersion program in Quechua at Cornell University. It was there that he began to realize the value of being a musician as well as a linguist.
Cameron also received a scholarship to work on a Doctoral program in Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He continued to study the Inca language and began studies of the Tibetan language.
Again he experienced a great contrast between the warmth of his musically-oriented “extended family” in Peru versus the de-humanizing “computer-translation-oriented” approach that other American linguists were pursuing.
In 1973 Cameron lived in Greece with Leda Papanastassiou and her family and studied Greek language and Greek music. Leda later became his wife and the mother of his children.
Returning to Boulder, Colorado, Cameron performed Greek music and began the study of Arabic music with various local bands: “The Silk Route,” “The Boulder Bouzouki Band,” and “Solspice.”
He created Musical Instruments, Houses, Spanish Language Teaching Programs in Boulder while raising his children.
He began performing Middle Eastern and Balkan music with “Sherefe” in Boulder and travelled with the band to New Mexico and California for additional performances and studies.
Cameron has a long association, since 1986, with Middle Eastern Music Camp which takes place every summer in Mendocino, California. He has studied with Nasser Musa, George Lammam, Haig Manoukian, Faruk Tekbilek, Nabil Azzam, and many others. He has studied with Simon Shaheen at Arabic Music Retreat in Mt. Holyoke, Mass. And he has studied with numerous musicians whom he has met on travels in Turkey, Egypt and Morocco.
After the events in New York on 9/11, a pall was cast on his role as an American playing Middle Eastern Music. “Terrorism” had somehow entered the music. Gigs were cancelled; people became nervous about producing Middle Eastern Music-oriented shows.
Knowing full well from his travels in the Middle East and from his extensive chain of friendships with Middle Eastern musicians that there is a warm reception available to anyone, including Americans, who wish to travel the Middle East, he realized the importance of continuing his “musical missions.”
Just now back from Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine, he and his partner, Kristina, are eagerly awaiting opportunities to travel in the US and help people understand the Middle Eastern, Arabic, psyche.