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Jazz: the house America built

Mark your calendars for June 23rd! We would love to share our latest works with you.

 

Here are some photos from JamXchange that took place on April 30th.

 

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Responses to the “Transformations Suite”

The Transformations Suite

Composed by Samora Pinderhughes

 

The Transformations Suite is a composition in five movements, combining spoken word

and music. Continuing in the tradition of artists such as Bob Marley, Duke Ellington,

Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday and Tupac Shakur, the suite paints a musical picture of the

current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States. It connects the

experiences of all members of the African Diaspora both musically and socially,

examining notions of art, oppression, spirituality, resistance, faith and love.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6:30-9:30 pm, Student Center

259 RSVPs through Illuminations Eventbrite Link

 

Student comments (from students enrolled in the Illuminations Colloquium)

 

The time flew by at this event! I didn’t want it to end. The second it started, I felt like

I was transported into another place. The room was filled with so much emotion and

passion. I had to confront my own feeling on this issue. I am glad I went!

I enjoyed Transformations Suite mainly because of the variety of music used, such as

piano, spoken word, vocals, and drums to connect the audience with issues of social

inequality and injustice. With the incorporation of musical instruments of jazz into social

justice issues, I was able to understand these artist’s emotions through their spoken word

and vocals. Rather than listening to a speech about social inequality, I enjoyed the

musical integration in this event. Overall the event was musically soothing and I learned

how art and music can influence social change and also encourage society to step

forward.

 

I was not expecting this event to be anything it turned out to be. This performance of

jazz, spoken word, and singing was very powerful. I appreciated the time that they took

out to perform and prepare for this. It was amazing to hear how many places they

performed at—Julliard and so many others. They played beautifully. The way they

performed was so powerful and amazing. It was very moving and powerful to see how

passionate their music was. The spoken word was what moved me the most. The effect of

the spoken word performed made me feel what she felt. Having gone through the

experience herself, the emotion was powerful.

 

I loved how their performance was in stages, and also how the performance itself was a

transformation. It encouraged the audience to make a transformation. The ending where it

was on us to change was so great because it is true. We can listen, watch powerful

performances, and say so much, but if we do not do act on it then nothing will happen. It

is amazing and sad where this world has come to, but it can change. Thank you for the

amazing performance, Transformations Suite.

 

Personally, I never really liked poetry with music; however, this event has definitely

changed my mind. First of all, I love how everyone so enjoyed this event and I love how

much the musicians, singers, and poets have put their hard work into this performance.

The lyrics were very effective and inspiring in a way that made me enjoy them even

more. I also loved the Q&A that the performers did after. I might actually start to attend

more events like this after this very exciting experience!

 

The entire performance was fabulous, especially “Momentum.” Those shocking yellings

of "Now!" makes the audience automatically clap and encourage them to think about

unequal treatment and other difficulties. Moreover, I liked one part of “History,” the sax

solo especially because it made me clam down.

 

Last night’s performance at the Crystal Cove auditorium was amazing. I was very

impressed by how the music, poetry, and lyrics on the board came together to create a

strong impact. My favorite was the fourth section: Momentum. The performer gets very

emotional when she spoke her lines from her soul. Racism, slavery, poverty, and violence

must not be forgotten, and the time for us to speak the truth and demand justice is now.

I definitely was not expecting such an emotional performance. At the very end the

vocalist was talking about using seduction to draw in the audience before hitting them

with the message they wanted to get across. I felt that in the beginning the music was

inviting. Then the other vocalist did some spoken word poetry that was beautiful and

intense at times. Personally, words in these spoken word pieces did not speak to me, but

the tone and the feelings attached to them did. The jazz music gave this component of

hope for the future, while the spoken word poetry was there to display the issues in our

society today. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of historical audio and video with the live

performance. It was an eye opening experience and I’m glad I attended this performance.

 

I was profoundly impacted by the Transformations Suite performance last night. As a

cultural anthropology major, diversity and cultural awareness has been a passion of mine

for many years. I am ecstatic that an event like this can be brought to campus in order to

educate people about the history and continued impacts of racism. The event represents

the ideals of the Illuminations program: that art can teach, that it is a valuable part of

education and human experience, and should receive more attention. It was stated that the

event was to showcase how art could create social change, and I believe having powerful

spoken words mixed with music provides an emotional venue through which to

understand these difficult topics, and is much more powerful than a lecture or reading

could ever be.  Needless to say, this was not the jazz you listen to in a cafe while you

mindlessly drink coffee. While at the beginning there seemed to be a dissonance in the

music that made it slightly hard to listen to, it would seem that the music was designed

that way in order to reflect the subject matter. Talking about slavery, racism and poverty

is not easy, and as such the music should not always be easy, or pleasant, to hear. Instead,

it forced me to feel, as well as have my mind stimulated, rather than allowing me to tune

out to the sound of pleasant music. I was so moved by the line, “You are everything they

read about but are too afraid to see.” I felt this line encapsulated the current condition of

race talks in our community. We can read about racism and watch news reports on it, but

once people actually try approaching the topic of race there is an extreme amount of

discomfort. Oftentimes, this can lead to a conversation being shut down, which only adds

more tension to the situation. This line serves as a unifying statement, as many target

groups can rally behind this point, acknowledging that they have struggled, and yet

people do not want to hear about it. But instead of allowing ourselves to be shut down,

we must keep speaking through the difficult conversations, pushing for a better

understanding of each other and creating a better world. We have this power, through our

words, through our art, through our actions. Needless to say, I was in tears during this

event. Thank you so much for bringing this performance to UCI.

 

I really enjoyed this Suite because I thought the singers and musicians played with their

hearts. I would like to see more events like this on campus. This was the first time I

attended an event that so clearly portrayed a topic that is relevant today. I loved the

spoken word and the dialogue after.

 

It was my first time attending a musical-based composition that also provides educational

value. The Transformations Suite was an excellent event that aimed to use art to reflect

life, and actually it perfectly did. The jazz music was thoroughly impressive, with spoken

words and songs describing the history. I loved the saxophone because through it, I could

get the idea of what the main points during the section were. During the Transformation,

I sensed through the music a willingness to change. During the Cycles, I sensed puzzling

feelings. During Momentum and Ascension, I felt the enthusiasm and confidence to

change the world. I can understand how the composer wants to convey the messages of

history and revolution. I was so moved by the repeated words “NOW” in the Momentum

section, and I believe that “We got to change.” In all, this event was very meaningful for

its artistic and educational values.

 

So far this event has had the biggest impact on me. I really enjoyed the music, the lyrics,

and how it all tied together to address social injustice. The music was very moving and

the lyrics made me think of different issues within society. It also made me challenge

myself to address the feelings that the music and overall performance made me feel. I

really enjoyed the composition of the event—how it was a performance as well as a time

to address social injustice through lyrics and poetry-like speech. The composer did an

amazing job in creating and building up to the climax to provoke a sense of action against

these injustices, and demonstrating a little of what it can feel like to face these types of

challenges. I also enjoyed the question and answer because we got to meet all the

performers and hear their thoughts of their work and how they feel about it. I really

enjoyed this event, and I am so inspired and taken away by the composer and all the

performers in this presentation.