Fear No Music will reflect on the first 30 years since the brutal murder of Ethiopian student Mulugeta Seraw with a multimedia performance two days prior to the anniversary of his death on the streets of southeast Portland. This is the second installment of Fear No Music's "Justice (Just Us) season which centers around restorative justice and forgiveness-based healing.
The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 at the Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 SW 11th in Portland. Tickets range in price from $10 to $20 in advance online at fearnomusic.org, or $15-$25 at the door.
This concert features the world premiere of "Nightwalk," a significant multimedia chamber work by Portland-based Ryan Francis, known for his "elegant waves of auditory bliss" (Oregon Artswatch)and "aggressively original musical language that uses nuance, precision and stylistic-variance to create music that is at once lush, probing and inventive." (WQXR). "Nightwalk" takes the audience on a filmed walk from SE 31st and Pine, the site of Seraw's murder, to the doors of the Old Church, reinforcing the proximity within which we all live to ongoing divisions within our community.
"The name Mulugeta Seraw was seared into my memory 30 years ago, as a teenager deeply shaken by the reports of his brutal murder in my hometown," said Fear Mo Music Artistic Director Kenji Bunch. "I had an inkling then that music could somehow be used to help heal the wounds of our community, but I could never have anticipated this: An evening celebrating the practice of restorative justice, a partnership with the international advocacy group The Forgiveness Project, and a world premiere by fellow Portland-born composer Ryan Francis that will bring together disparate sounds, cultures, and ideologies into a shared space. This one is going to be special."
Performed live by the Fear No Music ensemble, the score includes flute, clarinet, string quartet, piano and percussion.
Francis created the film component in collaboration with his sister, Tracy Cameron Frances, acclaimed artistic director of Boom Arts and the festival director for the Cascade African Film Festival.
The program complement to "Nightwalk" is David Bruce's moder epic "Gumboots" for clarinet and string quartet, featuring one of Fear No Music's new members, James Shields taking a star turn with the clarinet part. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and performed and recorded to general acclaim many times during its 15 year history, this instantly appealing piece is "a moving work of great beauty and vitality that conveys a sense of journey," according to the International Clarinet Association.
Bruce says Gumboot Dancing "was born out of the brutal labor conditions in South Africa udner aparteid, in which black miners were chained together and wore Gumboots (wellington boots) while they worked in the flooded gold mines, because it was cheaper for the owners to supply the boots than to drain the floodwater from the mine. Apparently slapping the boots and chains was used by the workers as a form of communication which was otherwise banned in the mine, and this later developed into a form of dance. If the examples of Gumboot Dancing available online are anything to go by, it is characterized by a huge vitality and zest for life. So this for me is a striking example of how something beautiful and life-enhancing can come out of something far more negative. Of course this paradox has a far simpler explanation — the resilience of the human spirit."
This concert takes place in conjunction with a display of The F Word exhibit, a touring exhibit from The Forgiveness Project, a UK-based organization that uses storytelling to promote personal and community healing and restorative justice. A thought provoking collection of arresting images and personal narratives exploring forgiveness in the face of atrocity, The F Word exhibit draws together voices from South Africa, America, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland and England. The exhibition examines forgiveness as a healing process, a path out of victimhood and, ultimately, a journey of hope. The exhibit will be on display at the Old Church for audiences to explore before, during and after the concert.
Learn more online at fearnomusic.org.
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