About This Show
A rare, intimate evening with Grammy award-winning Tenor, Karim Sulayman. Ranging from Billy Bragg to Francis Poulence to Sam Cooke, this is music of innocence, age, reconciliation, catharsis and consolation. Sulayman is joined for this program by Eighth Blackbird artists Matthew Duvall and Lisa Kaplan.
The music performed during Bleuet is centered by a collection of disparate songs written by French composer Francis Poulenc during World War II. Together, the songs create a narrative arcing the trajectory of a life from young to old, from innocence claimed by war to reconciliation and consolation.
Sung in Arabic, Bleuet expands on these ideas by featuring Li Beirut, written by Fairouz in 1984 after the devastating civil war of 1975-1990, and echoing her reflections on the casualties of corrupt leadership ultimately being herself, her city, her people and her country. The evening also includes music by Gustavo Santaolalla, Sam Cooke, and Billy Bragg, Stacy Garrop and Frederick Rzewski.
From Karim Sulayman
This set is conceived as a sort of mini-cycle in which we track Poulenc’s view of youth and innocence through his commentaries on war and the damages left in its wake. The humor in the first and last songs shows how they mirror each other as we start and end with long, absurd lists—the first to appeal to a horde of impossible children, and the last, a list of attractions, wild and sometimes smutty, in a landscape upended by fighting (also heralded in by a more direct commentary in the penultimate song, C.). Lune d’ Avril is a prayer from a child to end war and Bleuet is the memorial to a young, fallen soldier. While we may not today be at literal war, our country is in a war of ideas, ideals and dogmas.
About The Chicago Artists Workshop
This performance is a continuation of the Chicago Artists Workshop [CAW] initiative created during the pandemic by the Grammy award-winning Chicago-based arts organization Eighth Blackbird. The mission of CAW during the pandemic was to support local artists with performance fees and streaming production support. This initiative, continuing the mission to support local art and artists in Chicago, is relaunching on July 5 with Stories of Vapor and Mist, featuring compositions by eco-acoustic composer Matthew Burtner. More information on that show can be found here.
Artist Links: www.eighthblackbird.org//@eighthblackbird
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