VCUarts Music department presents the Langston Hughes Project, a multimedia performance of Hughes’ kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite, “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz.”
The performance, featuring spoken-word and music by the Ron McCurdy Quartet, will take place Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 8 pm. at the Singleton Center for the Performing Arts.
Hughes scored the 12-part epic poem as a homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. The performance comprises live music, poetry and video imagery. Left unperformed at his death, the masterwork draws musical cues from genres ranging from blues and bebop to Jewish liturgy and African drumming.
Video images include the African-inspired mural designs and cubist geometries of Aaron Douglas, the blues and jazz-inspired collages of Romare Bearden, the macabre grotesques of Meta Warrick Fuller, the rhythmic sculptural figurines and heads and bas reliefs of Richmond Barthe, and the color-blocked cityscapes and black history series of Palmer Hayden and Jacob Lawrence.
This event is funded by the VCUarts Inclusion Infusion Initiative. The initiative funds visiting artists, designers, performers and scholars, whose work offers a catalyst for student dialogue about diverse aspects of identity, such as culture, class, race, gender, sexuality and religion.
Read more on the VCU News page.
Image: Ron McCurdy, Ph.D.