In response to the nationwide trend of violence towards black people at the hands of law enforcement, musician and teacher Eun Lee has organized the 'Sing Her Name' event as a classical music tribute to Sandra Bland and the countless other lives lost due to police brutality.
When the spheres of classical and jazz collide the effect is astounding. Opera singer Lawrence Brownlee and jazz pianist Jason Moran, who gathered for a performance in a Harlem crypt, united to sing a piece in tribute to the senseless deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and scores of others.
For the past eight years Matana Roberts has been at work on her Coin Coin series exploring themes of history, memory and ancestry through narrative, musical and visual compositions. The multi-chapter composition of self-described “panoramic sound quilting” exposes mystical roots and delves into the intuitive spirit traditions from several pockets of American pastoral past. In 2011, Constellation records began to put out the Coin Coin project, now up to it’s third release: Chapter 3 entitled River Run Thee. A set of solo compositions for electronics, multi-tracked voices and her staple saxophone, River Run Thee directly deals with the American waterways and what transpired through nautical transportation in the past interspersed with field recordings and spoken-word passages. From Sticks And Stones in the early aughts to her solo and ensemble work on Constellation and Central Control records, Matana has made a name for herself as an internationally renowned composer, bandleader, saxophonist, sound experimentalist and mixed-media artist. Late last month, Matana presented Coin Coin: The Remix, a redux of River Run Thee at The Kitchen. Joined by drummer and percussionist Tomas Fujiwara with video work conceived by Daniel Marcellus Givens, the performances offered two rare reworked stylings of Chapter 3 in relation to the first two: Coin Coin Chapter 1: Gens des Coleur Libre, and Coin Coin Chapter 2: Mississippi Moonchile. To wit, the two-night residency held the celebratory honor of the series five-year release anniversary. In this two part series we caught up with Matana to discuss The Kitchen performance, life living on a boat and what pop culture means to the Black Lives Matter movement.