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Friday, June 12, 2020

Singing with spirits

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, I was joined by Okwui Okpokwasili and David Thomson in leading an opening ritual for Danspace Project's platform, Utterances from the Chorus, conceived and curated by Okwui and Judy Hussie-Taylor.

As the audience settled into seats in St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery's parish hall, David and Okwui began to hum and vocalize as I read an invitation. It opened with a question derived from Okwui's exploration for the new platform which, regrettably, was interrupted and scrapped as the coronavirus pandemic shut our city down.

Here, I offer a new version of this invitation. As we now struggle with multiple traumas--the pandemic, the economic crisis, the murder of our Black kin--and dedicate our lives to justice, may you find this ritual healing, strengthening and motivating.

I invite you to perform it privately or in groups, as you find it useful.

Eva Yaa Asantewaa, InfiniteBody

Eva Yaa Asantewaa
(photo: D. Feller)

Okwui asked:

What does it mean to weave a collective song?

And so, let us ask:

What does it mean to weave a spirit song on Lenape land? 

What does it mean to sing with the African souls?

What does it mean to be guided?

What does it mean to be activated?

Today, charge this space with the energy of sound.

Seek and find your name inside your cells,

inside your veins,

inside your bones.

Sit or stand with the energy of your name circling inside you until you hear its song.

Bring that energy out into this space on the flow of breath and flow of melody.

What is your name?

Sing your name.

Sing your true name.

Find a melody that transports your name into this space.

Keep singing your name into the space.

You can get loud with it.

You can get soft.

You may pause if you’d like to rest,

and you may resume at any time.

You may raise your votive candle above your head at any time, and that gesture will mean whatever it wants to mean.

You may extend your votive candle in front of you at any time, and that gesture will mean whatever it wants to mean.

Feel and sing or chant the name of ancestors of your family blood or ancestors of your mind.

Find the melodies that transmit their names into this space--loud or soft.

Keep singing their names into this space.

Keep singing their names into this space.

Keep singing their names into this space.

Return at any time to the song of your own name.

Sing. Sing out.

Sing. Sing it out.

Keep singing.


DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve, at Gibney, as Senior Director of Artist Development and Curation and Editorial Director. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.


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