Marc Bamuthi Joseph (BAMUTHI) is acclaimed for his groundbreaking productions that combine spoken word and contemporary movement in a dynamic theatrical form based on hip-hop aesthetics. His new multimedia performance work /peh-LO-tah/ links art and sport to notions of camaraderie, pride, and tradition across cultures. Inspired by memories of playing soccer growing up, BAMUTHI draws on his experiences as a child of Haitian immigrants, chronicles of his travels to World Cups in South Africa and Brazil, and his energized hip-hop style.
Themes of freedom and citizenship are articulated through the lens of immigration as BAMUTHI leads the five-person ensemble of The Living Word Project to investigate questions like: What is your place? What makes “home” home? Framed by a backdrop of video projections, the fútbol-inspired footwork complements the musical narratives performed in English and Portuguese, to the hum of South African drums, inspirational gospel, and the power of poetic verse. Conversant with Black Lives Matter and in tune with “the Beautiful Game”, /peh-LO-tah/ is a timely and reflective ode to Black joy.
BAMUTHI 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.
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