Solange Celebrates Black Voices with Eldorado Ballroom Series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
Grammy Award-winning artist Solange Knowles' latest creative endeavor celebrates multi-generational innovation through a multi-faceted music series.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music has announced the lineups for its upcoming spring series Eldorado Ballroom, curated by Knowles and her creative group Saint Heron. The program takes its name from the historic Black music hall in Third Ward, Houston, where Knowles first fell in love with the art of performance.
"It has been a joy to partner with Solange on her latest curatorial feat,” says BAM President Gina Duncan. “Through Saint Heron, she is reshaping the way that we experience culture in bold, unexpected, and experimental ways."
The program strives to preserve the works of Black practitioners by celebrating decades of performative innovation and excellence. The series features seven versatile shows ranging from jazz, gospel and opera, with an emphasis on honoring the Black voice.
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“The Black voice is a sacred vessel. Being able to have an opportunity to honor it through all of these different conventions is just a dream job,” Knowles told Vulture in a recent interview. “The whole series is just about honoring voices that I think should be taking up more space in the conversation, specifically about Black women in music.”
The series kicks off on March 30th with a night of R&B at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House. Performances from Kelela, Res and KeiyaA will celebrate the experimentation and musical expansion within R&B that redefined what the genre could be.
The following days will see Type of Guest, a visual art show with Autumn Knight at the forefront. The show also features an installation from Maren Hassinger and will showcase the unique identity of performative art.
In April, the series will showcase Unseen Nuyorican Films, a rare archive of films from New York’s Puerto Rican neighborhoods presented by composer Gio Cortez. Alongside, Coeval Dance Films will present Black and contemporary dance films as seen through the perspective of Saint Heron.
Shortly after, Eldorado Ballroom will present Glory to Glory (A Revival For Devotional Art). With performances from Twinkie Clark and the Clark Sisters, as well as saxophonist Angella Christie, the program highlights the music of Black women who have dedicated their art to their religious experience. The night also pays tribute to the late Mary Lou Williams through a choral performance led by the New York Philharmonic’s choral director Malcolm J. Merriweather.
Closing out April, The Cry of My People invites civic disruption in the form of jazz. The night features performances from saxophonist Archie Shepp, singer Linda Shamrock and poet/playwright Claudia Rankine. The concert will empower audiences by illustrating Blackness in America.
The final performance of Eldorado Ballroom, On Dissonance, takes place in September and will feature the orchestral and opera works of late composer Julia Perry and jazz pianist Patrice Rushen. The show is named after Perry’s 1960 composition and will bridge the gap between the present and a widely unfamiliar past.
Tickets for Eldorado Ballroom are currently available to BAM members and Saint Heron patrons and will later go on sale to the general public on February 21st at noon.