Hear Rhiannon Giddens talk about her opera Omar, scheduled to debut next year at the Spoleto Festival. Omar tells the story of Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved Muslim-African man who was brought to the Carolinas in 1807 and wrote his autobiography, in Arabic, in 1831. John Kennedy (Music) hosts a panel discussion with Rhiannon, who wrote the opera's music and libretto, and is joined by Mohammed Kadalah (Modern Languages & Literatures) and Michelle Burnham (English), along with students in English 12H, Literatures of the World.
The Center for the Arts and Humanities welcomes back Rhiannon Giddens, the 2019-2021 Frank Sinatra Artist-in-Residence, and guest Francesco Turrisi.
For a full list of Winter 2021 residency events, see below.
The following events are open to all:
Tuesday, January 19
Wednesday, January 20
Rhiannon and Francesco will join students from the SCU Music course Global Music & Cultural Politics to discuss how they conceive of “World Music” and how they approach crossing music’s borders in their own practice. As the new Director of the cross-cultural musical organization, Silk Road Ensemble, Rhiannon Giddens will talk about the ensemble’s new project focusing on the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.
Thursday, January 21
Join Rhiannon and students in the SCU Music course, Introduction to Listening: Jazz, for an in-depth discussion of early 20th-century female Blues singers such as Ethel Waters and Alberta Hunter. Rhiannon will discuss the lives of these artists and perform some of their songs, both iconic and lesser-known.
Friday, January 22
This roundtable address histories of exclusion and white privilege within music education here in the United States and in a global context. How can music scholars, educators, professionals, and musicians identify, understand, and evaluate anti-colonial or decolonizing practices even as they are often entrenched in Western models of music making and colonial logics? Rhiannon and Francesco, along with guest panelists Charles Mc Neal (Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community, San Francisco Opera) and Loren Kajikawa (Associate Professor of Music, George Washington University), bring their own unique experiences as lifelong music learners and their expertise in an array of musical genres, canons, and institutions--including jazz, hip hop, and African American folk music, opera, Baroque music, Italian and Irish folk traditions, Arabic music, and more. Moderated by Christina Zanfagna.
Monday, January 25
In this live discussion and performance, Rhiannon and Francesco will introduce viewers to the lives and sounds of a wide variety of musical instruments. Join them to learn more about frame drums, accordions, banjos, and more, as they use their instruments to delve into the historical and cultural routes of music across borders. Q & A to follow.
The following events are also happening this week but are not open to the public:
- Women and Literature: Women's Prison Writing with Kirstyn Leuner (English)
- Measuring Humans with Michelle Bezanson (Anthropology)
- Elementary Italian II with Irene Bubula-Phillips (Italian Studies) and Marie Bertola (Italian Studies)
- University Honors Program with Naomi Andrews (History)
- Filmmaking: Short Fiction Production with Nico Opper (Communication)
- Italy, Gateway of Cultures with Irene Bubula-Phillips (Italian Studies)
- Lesbians and Gay Men in History with Nancy Unger (History) and Sharmila Lodhia (Women's & Gender Studies)