BLACKBIRD, FLY: A Concert for Voice, body and strings

BLACKBIRD, FLY weaves together an enduring tapestry of movement, narrative, music and Haitian folklore to engage audiences in dialog about critical questions of  our  time. Steeped in hip-hop aesthetic, this intimate duet between two preeminent sons of Haitian immigrants —composer/violinist DBR and arts activist/spoken word artist BAMUTHI —unveils their life stories in search of  their identity and role models, and explores universal themes  of tolerance and inclusion.

This work is a culmination of DBR and BAMUTHI’s collaborations with Atlanta  Ballet, Boston Children’s Chorus, University of Houston, SF Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Opera Philadelphia. In each of these communities, they have created and premiered new works offering myriad experiential arts education opportunities. Introspective yet uplifting, BLACKBIRD, FLY heightens our collective consciousness and sheds a new light on arts as a powerful tool for social and civic engagement.

BLACKBIRD, FLY has toured all over North America, including the Apollo Theater NYC, Vancouver, BC, Raleigh, NC, Cleveland OH, Orcas Island, Washington, and San Antonio, TX.

This profoundly reflective and powerfully uplifting work explores the artists’ Haitian heritage, while delving into universal themes of cultural identity, tolerance and inclusion
— ArtsVista

ABOUT MARC BAMUTHI JOSEPH 

BAMUTHI (Marc Bamuthi Joseph) is a curator of words, ideas and protagonists. His bold poetically-driven work investigates social issues and cultural identity. He is a steadfast believer in empathy as the most valuable currency in building community, and seeks to spark curiosity and dialogue about freedom, compassion, and fearlessness through pioneering arts stewardship and education.  A 2017 TEDGlobal Fellow, Bamuthi graced the cover of Smithsonian Magazine as one of America’s Top Young lnnovators in the Arts and Sciences; artistically directed HBO’s “Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices” and is an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country’s greatest living artists. Dance Magazine named him a Top Influencer in 2017.

BAMUTHI’s evening length work red black and GREEN: a blues was nominated for a 2013 Bessie Award for “Outstanding Production (of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form)” and he has won numerous grants including from the National Endowment for the Arts and Creative Capital Foundation. His latest touring work /peh-LO-tah/ is inspired by soccer and Bamuthi's first generation American experience, intersecting global economics, cross border fan culture, and the politics of joy.  Recent commissions include the libretto for Home in 7 for the Atlanta Ballet and theater work for South Coast Repertory Theater. He recently collaborated with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain on a new opera co-commissioned and produced by Opera Philadelphia, New York’s Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire, which premiered under the direction of Bill T. Jones in October 2017.

BAMUTHI is the founding Program Director of the exemplary non-profit Youth Speaks, and is a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one-day festivals which activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life.  His essays have been published in Harvard Education Press; he has lectured at more than 200 colleges, has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford and Lehigh, among others, and currently serves as Chief of Program and Pedagogy at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

For more information about Marc Bamuthi Joseph, click here.

ABOUT DANIEL BERNARD ROUMAIN

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s acclaimed work as a composer and performer spans more than two decades, and has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), DBR is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga.

Known for his signature violin sounds infused with a myriad of electronic and urban music influences, DBR takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. He has been nominated for an EMMY for Outstanding Musical Composition for his work with ESPN; featured as keynote performer at technology conferences; and written large scale, site-specific music for public parks.

DBR’s made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 with the American Composers Orchestra performing his Harlem Essay for Orchestra, a Whitaker commission. He went on to compose works for the Boston Pops Orchestra; Carnegie Hall; the Library of Congress; the Stuttgart Symphony, and myriad others.

DBR’s commitment to arts education has garnered long-term relationships with countless universities, orchestras, and performing arts centers.  DBR earned his doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan. He is currently Institute Professor of Practice at Arizona State University.

An avid arts industry leader, DBR serves on the board of directors of the League of American Orchestras, Association of Performing Arts Presenters and Creative Capital, the advisory committee of the Sphinx Organization, and was co-chair of 2015 and 2016 APAP Conferences.

DBR recently premiered We Shall Not Be Moved, a chamber opera co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Apollo Theater, with libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and direction by Bill T. Jones. New York Times called the work "The Best Classical Performance of 2017.

For more information about Daniel Bernard Roumain, click here.