Courtesy the Artists
Songs of the Civil War
Join Courtesy the Artists (organized by Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade) and collaborators including niv Acosta, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Matana Roberts, Kali Wilder and the New York Regiment United States Colored Troop Reenactors (20th, 26th and 31st) for an afternoon of live performances based Civil War tunes. During a recent residency, Gaines and Segade came upon a book of sheet music that included songs from both the Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War. Considering the role of nationalism, feeling and music culture across both sides of the deadliest American war and the war that resulted in emancipation, Courtesy the Artists look for new meaning in nineteenth-century martial, sentimental, Abolitionist, minstrel and spiritual songs. This program is organized on the occasion of When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South.
Courtesy the Artists is a collaboration between Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade founded in New York in 2012, that includes a shifting network of writers, performers and visual artists. The project follows years of performances and exhibitions Gaines and Segade has made with collaborator Jade Gordon as the Los Angeles-based group My Barbarian. Gaines and Segade initiated Courtesy the Artists to develop a new model of continued collaboration upon moving to New York. Their first project in 2012, The Meeting at MoMA PS1, invited participants to respond to the 1968 agitprop album by singer and Black Panther Party leader Elaine Brown. Their second project, Trad. (2013), was conducted over a two-month residency at Recess in SoHo. The residency included 24-Hour Ballad, in which twenty-four participants interpreted the song “Black Is the Color (Of My True Love's Hair),” which resulted in the video currently on view in the exhibition When the Stars Begin to Fall.
niv Acosta is a Brooklyn-based artist born and raised in Washington Heights, Manhattan. He is 25 years old, Dominican and transgender. He trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance with Tadej Brdnik, Jessica Delia, Whitney V. Hunter and Catherine Cabeen. Acosta attended California Institute of the Arts, where he studied dance technique and choreography. He has presented his work at various events and spaces including The Sharon Disney Lund Theater at CalArts, Pieter Performance Space, and Human Resources in Los Angeles; The Community Education Center in Philadelphia; New York Live Arts, AUNTS at The New Museum, The Tank, and Danspace Project in New York; and Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the Center For Performance Research in Brooklyn. Acosta was awarded an Art and Social Change Grant through the Leeway Foundation. Other projects include we were an island (Vanessa Anspaugh, Danspace, 2014); Star Crap in Progress (Larissa Velez-Jackson, Center for Performance Research, 2013); An All Day Event.The End (Ralph Lemon, Danspace, 2012); Blues (Deborah Hay, Museum of Modern Art, New York 2012); Reusable Parts/Endless Love (Gerard & Kelly, Danspace Project at St. Marks Church on the Bowery, 2011); Eyes, Mouth, and All the Rest: Surrendering to the Desire of Others (Ishmael Houston-Jones, New York Live Arts, 2011); and gender < moving: queer bodies/home (with collaborators iele paloumpis and Jai Arun Ravine, Studio34 Yoga | Healing | Arts in Philadelphia, 2010), among others.
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna* 2013). She has been published widely and her performance work has been featured at The Kitchen, Exit Art, Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Walker Art Center. As a curator/director, she has staged events at El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Dixon Place, Symphony Space and BAM Café. A recipient of several awards, Diggs, along with Greg Tate, are the founders and editors of Coon Bidness, yoYo and SO4.
Internationally documented, Chicago-born Matana Roberts is an alto saxophonist. She works in numerous performance/sound mediums, including improvisation, dance, poetry and theater. She aims to expose the mystical roots and the intuitive spirit raising traditions of American creative expression in her music. Her innovative work has forged new conceptual approaches to considering narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures. past member of the BRC: Black Rock Coalition and the AACM: Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. She holds two degrees in music performance and is based in New York.
Mazz Swift is a critically acclaimed singer, composer and Juilliard-trained violinist who has, over the years, performed and recorded with a diverse accumulation of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Dee Snider, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, Valerie June, DJ Logic, William Parker, Butch Morris, Jason Lindner, Kanye West, Common and Jay-Z.
In addition to her work as a performing artist, Ms. Swift is an educator and has traveled to Suriname, Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Albania and Siberia as cultural ambassador on behalf of the United States Department of State. She is also a teaching artist with Carnegie Hall's Musical Connections program and, as such, has assisted in conducting workshops with inmates at Sing Sing (NY State Correctional Facility, a Maximum Security State Penitentiary) and at the Barbara Blum Residence—a non-secure detention residence for boys—coaching them in writing and performing their own songs.
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