Reading and Music by Ifa Bayeza and Evelyn Harris
October 12, 2016
Augusta Savage Gallery
UMass Amherst Campus
A candlelight literary soireé and dramatic reading from Ifa Bayeza’s acclaimed novel Some Sing, Some Cry, co-authored with her sister Ntozake Shange.
In an evening of words and music, Bayeza transports us to 1917 Charleston, S.C., to recount the touching love story of Lizzie Mae Winrow and Osceola Turner, a young song and dance duo, who dream of escaping the Jim Crow South to seek fame and fortune in New York. World War I will both tear the couple apart and fuse their future. As action moves from the back streets of the southern city to the trenches of war-torn France, the intimate tale of these two embattled hearts mirrors the transformation in music and dance that will usher in the Jazz Age.
A performance by the internationally acclaimed vocalist Evelyn Harris features her skilled grasp of musical styles accompanied by pianist Paul Arslanian. Harris' 18-year tenure with the internationally acclaimed black women’s a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock gave her inspiration to grow as an artist, recording and co-producing 10 albums on the Warner Brothers, Redwood and Flying Fish labels. Widely respected for the mastery of her craft, she tells a story of the struggle for peace and justice through songs that confess the reveries and fears of a people intimately affected by violence and hatred. Harris relocated to the Pioneer Valley in 2002 and has taught at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School, MacDuffie School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College and Westfield State University. She currently directs the Ku’umba Women’s Chorus at the Northampton Community Music Center and Voices of New Africa House. She uses singing as cognitive therapy with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients in several nursing homes in the area. During the summer, she is a vocal instructor at the Institute for the Musical Arts Rock ‘n’ Roll Girls Camp.
The Augusta Savage Gallery is located in New Africa House. Click here for directions.