A celebration of Black art by an all-Black creative team.
Here's an important reminder: Black history didn't begin with slavery. So let's celebrate Black lives by going further back in time...much further back...all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
The product of an all-Black creative team, Brown Sounds is masterminded by the extraordinary Raehann Bryce-Davis, a rising star whose 2020 LA Opera appearances made audiences stand up and take notice. It's an evocative vocal piece tailored specifically for her ravishing mezzo-soprano: composer Ayanna Witter-Johnson's musical setting of poet Henry Dumas's delicious verses.
In this uplifting new Digital Short, Brown Sounds gets a sumptuous visual treatment from a dynamic assembly of artists—filmmaker Jérémy Adonis, fashion designer Allan Virgo and dancer Lateef Williams—all united in a joyous celebration of Black art, Black bodies and Black consciousness.
Brown Sounds is presented by LA Opera in collaboration with the African American Art Song Alliance, Aural Compass Projects, Black Opera Alliance, National Association of Negro Musicians and the Philadelphia Dance Company.
"What stunned me about the poem is how it used Black myth to construct a narrative of the diaspora before and after colonialism and enslavement.... There is an Edenic, utopian quality to Dumas’ depiction of precolonial Africa."
This project is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and from a consortium of donors to LA Opera’s Contemporary Opera Initiative, chaired by Barry and Nancy Sanders.
Henry Dumas's poem “Brown Sounds" copyright © 1968-2021 by Loretta Dumas and Eugene B. Redmond. Used by permission of the Henry Dumas Estate, Eugene B. Redmond, executor, c/o Faith Childs Literary Agency, Inc.