Verisimilitudes: A Journey Through Art Song in Black, Brown, and Tan by Quanda Johnson

COURSE: Independent Project

MEDIUM: Video

DESCRIPTION:
Verisimilitudes: A Journey Through Art Song in Black, Brown, and Tan is an Interdisciplinary concert of Black composers and lyricists of Classical art song. It is a 40 minute concert that includes dance and a jazz band. Originally conceived as a multimedia live concert, it was re-envisioned as a multimedia virtual work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:
Within the content of this concert are fifteen art songs that depict the reality of the souls of a diaspora people. Most of the lyricists and all the composers are of African descent. In large part they come from the U.S. but also extend to Great Britain, Guadeloupe by way of France, and Sierra Leone. They speak to the veracity of Black life and Black feeling. A diasporic African reality in a Classical mode that challenges while it embraces a Western European vernacular. It is using “culture” as an agent of resistance.

I refer to verisimilitude in the plural. While syntactically incorrect, as it relates to the multiple veils of reality Black people must negotiate, it is very correct. To be packaged in Blackness, or should I say “non-whiteness” is to live ever in a world of spiraling modalities and twirling realities. To paraphrase the great artist, Romare Bearden, in “calling and recalling” — we turn and return, then turn again to find the place that is our self.

I welcome you to…
Verisimilitudes:
A Journey Through Art Song in Black, Brown, and Tan

10 Minute Version:

Full Length: