What if, once a day, you closed your eyes and concentrated on your breath. Then, what if you focused on the collective breathing of the people around you. And then, what if you noticed your own heartbeat? Then, you acknowledged the other hearts beating beside you. They might beat like a drum, be staccato or in sync, rapid or slow.
At her jazz concert, a mix of Afrofuturism, meditation, and sustained heat and energy, Angel Bat Dawid posed these questions to her audience. What is it like to collectively breathe with each other? Have you noticed your own heartbeat? What is it, to be a room of individuals, together? For an hour, Dawid and tha Brothahood, made us think about the conscious and collective.
In the Wex performance space, they created the futuristic planet of Chicago with a cello, vocals, a keyboard, drums, and hand-crafted sound instruments. Starting the performance by walking through the crowd, Dawid and tha Brothahood brought with them the sounds of closeness and the vibrations of outer space. Then, they moved through songs like “What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black (Dr. Margaret Burroughs),” a piece inspired by Burrough’s poem of the same name. During these songs, they improvised with each other, catalyzing a jazz that had traces of blues, R&B, and soul. A jazz that flew into an Africentric cosmos.
Sitting in the audience, I was glad to see Dawid and tha Brothahood’s cosmos in action. And it was great to see other Shumate Council members there as well. Along with the rest of the people in the performance space, we focused on our breathing and heartbeats. Breathing in and out, together.
Dawid recently released her debut album, Oracle.
Also, take a listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/59lypjMPo7ZILhNMCgaE19
Zoom Family Film Festival https://wexarts.org/series/zoom – international films, hands-on activities, gallery tours, and more