Friday, January 08, 2010

Mendi+Keith songs on youtube

from The Sour Thunder: Blue Jasper

The Sour Thunder blends science fiction and autobiography with pop music, new music, and a theatrical bi-lingual text (English and Spanish), creating a personal and surreal tale of cultural and racial identity. Commissioned by the Yale University Cabaret, the premiere of The Sour Thunder took place in two separate venues simultaneously, with images and sound streamed from both venues to the web. The CD recording of The Sour Thunder is a studio performance with all instrumentals and vocals performed by the Mendi + Keith Obadike. The Sour Thunder takes place as Mendi is traveling with a friend to study Afro-Dominican culture and Caribbean literature in the Dominican Republic. While Mendi's story is told, another story simultaneously takes place in Solaika Dast, a state where scent is the primary means of communication. From Solaika Dast, Sesom is sent to a new world where her sensibilities take on new meanings. While some pieces clearly tell Sesom's story, or Mendi's, others fit squarely in the nexus between the two. Musically, The Sour Thunder is told through a series of 23 sound-text pieces and songs. The textures that make up "The Sour Thunder" were created using digitally treated hollow body guitars, Nigerian mbiras, field recordings of environmental sounds, and electronically processed vocals.
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The song titles come from an English translation of an Igbo proverb: "Si kele onye nti chiri; enu anughi, ala anu." ("Salute the deaf: If the heavens don't hear, the earth will hear.") We have been mulling over the different choices our predecessors have made in the presentation of their lives and work. We note
how much Marian Anderson holds back as she tells her life story in her autobiography My Lord, What A Morning, and conversely, how much Audre Lorde puts forth in her biomythography Zami, A New Spelling of My Name and other works, and Marlon Riggs put forth in his documentaries. We place these praisesongs together because we want to recognize that while their choices may be perceived as contradictory, all of their choices were political, and all of them were made as part of an effor to move us forward.

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