2018 Favorites II

I Loved Presenting These Shows: 

Storytelling at Woodridge Library. Occasionally I feel like I've done my very best; that I'm in the flow and the audience is totally with me. This was one of those magical evenings. 

Storytelling Residency for Dubuque (IA) Arts Council. 24 shows in 9 days in mostly rural Iowa schools. A unique cultural experience. 

Freedom Song Leaders at Square Roots Festival After a few years of school shows, it was refreshing to be at home (the workplace) with avid adult singers and friends. 

Maud Martha Out Loud. Joining the literary community in a marathon reading of Gwendolyn Brooks' only novel. Then reading "my" chapter again at the Blacks in Green Festival, sharing reminisces with Nora Brooks Blakeley, the icon's daughter. Then attending the dedication of the Gwendolyn Brooks Library at Chicago State University. The joys of living in Chicago!! 

Sitarsys at the Chicago Jazz String Summit. Tomeka Reid responded to my suggestion about including non-Western strings in her programming. Our brand of jazz was enthusiastically received and I made some new friends. 

Sitar with Chicago Guantanamo Blues Exchange. What a blast playing with Chicago and Cuban musicians! Glimpses of what could have happened if I'd been able to take a sitar to Cuba in 2017. 

Sitarsys at the Evanston World Arts & Music Festival. The thrill of seeing people flock to the stage when we started playing. Thanks Dayna Calderon! 

Black Earth Ensemble's 20th Anniversary at Constellation Chicago. Being one of the many who've played with BEE and adding sitar to a couple of tunes. Then being invited back on stage because Z and I were singing so loudly in the audience. Also receiving my first ever compliment from one of the city's jazz critics. 

Sitar with Lindblom's Boys Chorus. Playing an Indian melody and seeing the immense number of engaged and talented young people in Chicago's most maligned neighborhood. 

Classic Black at Chase Park. Presenting Contimuum:The Black Arts Movement at our neighborhood park with one of the movement's writers and a London music critic in the audience. Love performing with all our Classic Black alums - Mwata, David, Fred, Isaiah, Edward, Emily, Zahra, Atiba, Justin, Angel, Avreeayl, Jendayi, Nkosi!!

Subbing for Cheryl Corley at Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Presenting the NPR corresondent's beautifully written narration while she covered Aretha Franklin's funeral. Co-writer Lucy Smith's voice and mastery of myriad blues forms is amazing!!