Modeling Afro-Asian Collaboration: Jazz, Spoken-Word and Political Aesthetics
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Winifred Smith Hall
Modeling Afro-Asian Collaboration: Jazz, Spoken-Word and Political Aesthetics is a new project-in-progress of jazz music and spoken word devoted to the seemingly endless list of young African Americans whose lives have been tragically cut short by violence in the recent past. The piece is a collaboration between distinguished Bay-area jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang and activist poet Amanda Kemp. Modeling Afro-Asian Collaboration is organized into vignettes, each named for a Black victim of violence, including: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin, while featuring Jang’s original music in conjunction with Amanda Kemp’s spoken word.
Jointly sponsored by UCI Illuminations and the Department of Music.
Jon Jang has broken barriers and genres as a composer, pianist and artistic director of ensembles in developing original works that celebrate intercultural collaboration and encourage alliances between the Asian and Black communities in the Bay Area. A recipient of numerous ASCAP awards and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kronos Quartet, Jang is a pioneering artist who has consistently been one of the most vital and stimulating voices in the Bay Area’s cultural scene. His works have embraced topics of social justice, racial equality, politics, and history, and in particular, events relating to the Asian American experience. He is the founder of the Asian Improv aRts organization, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017. In 2010, Jang presented the World Premiere of Angel Voices: Rhapsody on Angel Island Poetry as part of the 28th Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival.
Dr. Amanda Kemp blends activism and spirituality, theatre arts and history. A survivor of the New York City foster care system, Dr. Kemp has been a lifelong poet-performer and advocate of racial justice and equality since her first anti-apartheid march in 1983. She earned her B.A. from Stanford University where she helped to lead the Stanford out of South Africa divestment movement and the successful struggle to revamp the University’s Eurocentric humanities requirement. Awarded Stanford’s prestigious Gardner Fellowship for Public Service, Dr. Kemp apprenticed with the Honorable Maxine Waters and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. A poet and playwright, Kemp left politics to pursue a doctoral degree in Performance Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. As a playwright, Kemp debuted her play “Sister Outsider” in the Johannesburg Arts Festival and formed “Intimate Dread,” a trio of women performance poets. A master teacher, Dr. Kemp has taught at Cornell University, Dickinson College, Millersville University, and Franklin & Marshall College where she served as the chair of Africana Studies. She has keynoted Martin Luther King programs at colleges, high schools, and in elementary school settings. Kemp is currently a Visiting Scholar in Africana Studies at Franklin & Marshall College and continues to publish on race, performance, and freedom.