And as always, We'd Like To Hear From YOU!
Transmedia artist and creator of the MassQing ritual Daniel Callahan had the honor to MassQ artistic director of COOS Ashleigh Gordon for one of his gallery exhibitions. Before her performance, Ashleigh underwent the experience of speaking with Daniel, providing him with content to inspire a MassQ which he created using Ashleigh's face as a canvas. The transformation process was a joy to watch, and the entire ritual was a tremendous experience. COOS is collaborating with Daniel as well as many other local artists (dancers, spoken word artists, fashion designers, and more) to produce a massive MassQuerade Ball entitled Convergence. To find out more, please visit: www.massqball.com
And as always, We'd Like To Hear From YOU!
Visual artist Nicholas Hlobo (b. 1975, Cape Town, South Africa) is an internationally recognized South African creative whose presence in the world is broadening the image and identity of South Africa. His work is firmly grounded in culture, gender and sexuality, history, and identity, namely his own Xhosa, Black, and gay identities. His work is bold, fearless, and encompasses works on paper and canvas, sculpture, installation, and performance.
In one of his performances, Hlobo descends on to a stage of 2 musicians in a white cocoon whilst singing in Xhosa. The backdrop is a video of South African images, with text that discusses his personal history, his family, his artistic modus operandi, and more. Concerning identity, Hlobo writes that he was not fully aware of being Xhosa until he started high school in Johannesburg in 1988. The transition from a monoculture (where he grew up) to multicuture (Johannesburg) sparked this Xhosa consciousness. Yet, despite the admitted violence of Johannesburg, he considers it home, the heart of South Africa, and a city full of potential.
His career as an artist includes solo exhibitions in the Netherlands (Beelden aan Zee in The Hague), Norway (National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design, Oslo), the UK (Tate Modern, London), and the United States of America (ICA, Boston; Locust Project, Miami; SCAD, Savannah). He has also participated in prestigious biennials and group exhibitions in Germany, Italy, the USA, France, Australia, the UK, and China. His work is also included in permanent collections of museums around the world.
"I am my own group. I create my own world. There are so many truths about myself that I don't know." - Nicholas Hlobo
And as always, We'd Like to Hear From YOU!
Today's BIBA (Beauty in Black Artistry) Vlog features Clifton Ingram, one of the winners of Castle of our Skins's Call for Proposals. Next month, COOS will premiere his work Tyaphaka, which is based on an intense structural installation by the South African visual artist Nicholas Hlobo. Ingram's string trio will be paired with contemporary dance, choreographed and executed by Lexy Lattimore. For more information about Clifton, please visit his website at: http://cliftoningram.virb.com . For more information about the upcoming Tyaphaka event produced by Castle of our Skins, please visit www.castleskins.org/tyaphaka.html
And as always, We'd Like to Hear From YOU!
Happy Black History Month 2017! While every month is Black History Month for Castle of our Skins, the dedication of February as Black History Month has lead to many important Black Americans being given the recognition they justly deserve, and has lead to more cultural curiosity - something for which Castle of our Skins is constantly striving.
Last year, for our Freedom Rising presentation, the amazing Shaw Pong Liu played For Violin by Ed Bland. This work, like many of Bland's pieces, has bold amounts of sophistication and aggression. In June, I will have the honor of performing Sketches Set #7 for piano, and I have started to work on it already during a recent residency at the Visby International Centre for Composers in Sweden! Please enjoy a short video clip from a practice session, and I hope this inspires you to learn more about Ed Bland and his life and music!
Next post: Sunday, February 26th! And, as always, We'd Like To Hear From YOU!
Happy New Year, everyone! Even though this album was released last year, this month's BIBA Vlog is about the amazing album by cellist Seth Parker Woods entitled asinglewordisnotenough. This album has four tracks, including an incredible work by George Lewis called Not Alone for cello and electronics. Seth is a powerhouse performer, researcher, and connoiseur of contemporary music. Please read more about him and purchase his album at www.sethparkerwoods.bandcamp.com! The next BIBA Vlog: Sunday, February 12th, 2017 ... from SWEDEN!!
Still in search of the perfect holiday gift?
We'd love to turn you on to some of our favorite Black owned businesses,
creatives and fellow COOS collaborators!
Our favorite place to eat!
Grab a gift certificate to Lucy's Ethiopian cafe
Our favorite vegan soul food cookbook series!
Created by the adventurous chef Bryant Terry
Our favorite place to grab organic bath and body care!
Gift baskets available at Saffiyah Botanicals
Some of our favorite Boston artists!
Shirts, mugs, gifts and more from Ayana Mack
Haute couture fashion by I Am Kreyol
Paintings by Stephen Hamilton
And of course work from COOS collaborators!
Visual art by transmedia artist Daniel Callahan
Audio CD's by composer Jeffrey Mumford
Membership to the Museum of African American History
Apologies for the BIBA hiatus. Castle of our Skins has been busy, though, both presenting lectures and concerts in Boston and Gettysburg, PA, as well as planning our exciting second half of the season, and upcoming seasons! In the interim, please stay connected, and stay strong in these challenging times! Happy Holidays everyone, and stay tuned for the next BIBA Blog on January 15th!
(We'd Like to Hear from YOU!)
BIBA is back from a summer hiatus, planning wonderful entries here, as well as a preparing for a FANTASTIC, giant new season for Castle of our Skins! The season kicks off with COOS's first ever portrait concert, featuring string works by the beloved composer Jeffrey Mumford! The concert, entitled a veil of liquid diamonds, will feature solo, duo, trio, and quartet works, and the composer will be in attendance for a Q&A after the performance. I (Anthony Green) recently got to speak to Jeffrey about music, life, and the future. Unfortunately the recording app that I downloaded did not do a very good job, and I cannot post the audio from the conversation here (which was my grand plan). However, I truncated the conversation, and scribed it for you all below. I hope you enjoy, and if you are in the Boston area on September 24th, PLEASE COME AND CHECK OUT COOS's a veil of liquid diamonds! Buy tickets : click here!
BIBA: Hypothetical situation. I give you $1 million and 2 years. What piece would you compose? What would the instrumentation be? Approximate duration? Instrumental forces?
JM: I have longed wanted to write a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra, so that would be the piece. Right now, I am focusing a lot of my work on orchestral music, and I would love to get the opportunity to record it. My focus these days is to get these pieces on CD and out into the world, because – as you know – orchestral music can be very difficult and expensive to get out there. But that is one of my next priorities. I finished recently a concerto for cello and orchestra, in memory of my former teacher Elliot Carter, and I am now working on another concerto for violin and orchestra, a concerto for piano and large ensemble, and a concerto for cello and chamber orchestra. So, a double concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra would be what I would write, and then create a CD of all of these concerti.
BIBA: That sounds like a fantastic project! I know that your repertoire does have lots of commissions from orchestras, but it also has lots of chamber music. What attracts you to the orchestral sound as a composer who also has quite a bit of chamber music?
JM: Well, I love the colors and the possibilities of writing for an ensemble that produces such amazing layers and colors. Like a lot of composers, I love that the possibilities to write for the orchestra are endless, and one can create a beautiful fabric of sound.
BIBA: How did you come into music, and when did you know that you wanted to be a composer?
JM: I always had melodies running through my head. Perhaps from my past lives, but I certainly heard melodies. I started my studies as a painter, but one of my paintings was sabotaged during my sophomore year. Nevertheless, I graduated with a degree in Art, but I had focused on going to graduate school for composition. Fortunately I had the opportunity to study with Bernard Rands and Elliott Carter.
BIBA: That is amazing. Do you still paint?
JM: Unfortunately no, there is no time.
BIBA: You mentioned that you studied with Elliott Carter. How was he as a teacher and what are some of the most valuable gems that he imparted upon you?
JM: Actually, he was great. I remember one time during our studies, I was writing a violin concerto, and after the first performance I had some doubts. I will always remember what he told me. He said, “always create a window for the soloist”. After that, I thinned out some of the textures, and the second performance went so much better because I created these windows.
BIBA: As a successful African-American composer, what words of encouragement and wisdom do you have for the upcoming generation of African-American and Black composers around the world?
JM: I have been thinking about this in the context that, next month – in October, I was invited to be on the panel for a major conference hosted by the BBC entitled Diversity and Inclusion in Composition. Also one of the panelists will be Chi-Chi Nwanoku, a bassist who started the all-Black Chineke orchestra in the UK. So I have been thinking a lot about this issue, and I would say that one of the most important things is to do what you and Ashe are doing – creating networks, making friends, making connections, reaching out into the community, becoming a voice for change, garnering a very clear vision, and having alliances within the greater community. Stay true to your voice. Don’t let anyone tell you what is or what is not Black music. Anything that a Black person writes is automatically Black music.
Read Adrienne's FULL BLOG POST and keep up to speed with the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival happening June 21-30, 2016 at Mannes College in NYC. And while you're at it, get to know Imani Winds and listen to a performance of their original composition "Umoja:"
Hello BIBA readers!
Here is our second BIBA Vlog, which is a reflection that is related to Castle of our Skins's upcoming event, entitled FREEDOM RISING: FROM EMANCIPATION TO INCARCERATION. We are excited to present this project with you TOMORROW at 6PM (reception) and 7PM (main presentation). This project is our second collaboration with the Museum of African-American History in Boston. It features narration, poetry by incarcerated poets, and music by Frederick Rzewski, Ed Bland, Yusef Lateef, Renee' C. Baker (world premiere), Jeffrey Mumford, and myself. The musicians for this event are Shaw Pong Liu (violin), Ashleigh Gordon (viola), Seychelle Dunn-Corbin (saxes), Lizzie Burns (contrabass), and our lovely narrators Ulysses Thomas and Nina LaNegra.
Peace to all.
(We'd like to hear from YOU!)
Beauty in Black Artistry
Writings, musings, photos, links, and videos about Black Artistry of ALL varieties! Feel free to drop a comment or suggestions for posts!