Music means a lot of different things for so many different people:
For musicians, inarguably, it is the most cathartic form of personal expression, while for most listeners, it arrives as the soundtrack of our daily lives, bookmarking where we were, what we were doing and even how we were feeling along the way.
February 8-9, at Fort Greene's Irondale Center, Brooklyn residents will have the chance to experience "Soundtrack '63," celebrating the 50th anniversary of the year 1963-- one of the most pivotal turning points in America's modern history.
"Soundtrack '63" is presented by 651 Arts, a Brooklyn-based arts organization committed to developing, producing and presenting performance and cultural programming rooted in the African Diaspora.
The interactive show, featuring Blitz the Ambassador and Abiodun Oyewole from The Last Poets, accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra, along with a visual experience spans hallmark events leading up to, during and following the year 1963 and is sure to leave the audience reflecting on how far the country has come and while also asking whether we've come that far at all.
"When [we] decided to create a whole series based upon the 50th anniversary of 1963, I wondered whether this was something the community was really ready for, because although we've progressed as as a people-- from the feminist movement, to the civil rights movement, to now something as simple as drinking from the same water fountain -- you also will see how we're still dealing with some of the same injustices, same core issues, only packaged differently," said Jodine Dorce, marketing manager at 651 Arts.
"There's definitely a lot of successes and a lot more reasons to celebrate, but that's not to say there still isn't more work to do."
Whether you've read about this time in history, discussed it in a classroom setting or lived through it yourself, this show's musical revival will serve as a poignant reminder of the pain, love and laughter specific to an era when America was forced to take a long hard look at itself and make some very pivotal decisions.
Re-live the classics with new arrangements on popular tunes of 1963, re-imagined under the musical direction of Tut Asante Amin, a Bed-Stuy resident, music teacher and young jazz aficionado.
“The music of 1963 was the soundtrack to a transformation," said Chen Lo, curator of Soundtrack '63. It inspired generations of African descendants to reclaim their humanity. The spirituals of the past brought faith and courage; pop tunes were an escape from harsh realities; and truth-tellers sang with a soulful defiance that electrified the Civil Rights Movement. The music of '63 still resonates with piercing clarity. “ – Chen Lo, curator of Soundtrack ‘63.
Soundtrack '63 opens this Friday, February 8, and Saturday, February 9, at 8:00 p.m., at the Irondale Center, located at 85 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Tickets are $20, and you can buy them online here. (But hurry, because the show's selling out fast).