Acclaimed pianist/composer Vijay Iyer and celebrated poet/performer Mike Ladd (in collaboration with Iraq veteran Maurice Decaul) launch a new work of music and poetry commissioned by Harlem Stage's WaterWorks program. Building on their groundbreaking collaborations In What Language? (2003) and Still Life with Commentator (2006), Iyer and Ladd collaborate with young American war veterans of color from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create a new work (working title Holding it Down). Based on interviews with veterans of color about their dreams - harrowing, mundane or surreal - Iyer and Ladd build an evening of music, poetry, and song.
This project considers what it means for soldiers of color to move from a complex American landscape into the international context of war and imperialism, and then return home. How is this new generation of veterans suffering and surviving, and what are they able to dream about? How do they go about their irreversibly transformed lives, moving from the unspeakable back to the speakable? And a still newer question: What is the relationship between soldiers of color and our first African American president? How do they fit into a newly transformed American race dynamic? Using the condensed, universal logic of dreams to express and affirm their essential humanity, Holding it Down pays tribute to young men and women returning home.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Performance: 7:30 pm
Harlem Stage Gatehouse
150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street
New York City