“M is Black Enough” – Spoken-word-meets-new-music collaboration at Mass MoCA

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M is Black Enough exercises spirited conversation and debate through steelpan, cello, text, and voice. Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler of Kronos Quartet, teams up with composer and percussionist Andy Akiho, poet Roger Bonair-Agard, and percussionist Sean Dixon for a work-in-progress program of spoken word and music, both complex and aggressive. Slam poetry meets new music in this electrifying and thought-provoking program of music and words presented by three spectacular contemporary performers in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center on Saturday, March 26, at 8pm.

Jeffrey Zeigler is a versatile cellist known for his work within the classical and new music realms. The New York Times describes his playing, which is passionate, artful, and often improvisational, as “fiery…with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone.” His debut solo album, Something of Life, features premiere works by notable contemporary musicians including composers Philip Glass and Paola Prestini, and drummer Glenn Kotche of Wilco. MASS MoCA audiences will remember Zeigler from the 2015 Solid Sound Festival where he performed a duet with Kotche.

Andy Akiho is a steel pan master and composer of contemporary classical music whose body of work has been called “mold-breaking” by The New York Times. His commissioned works have premiered with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall’s prestigious Ensemble ACJW. His work has been featured at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA.

Roger Bonair-Agard is a renowned poet and spoken word performer from Trinidad and Tobago. He has published three books of poetry, is a two-time champion of the National Poetry Slam, a Cave Canem fellow, writer-in-residence with VisionIntoArt, and poet-in-residence with Young Chicago Authors. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the louderARTS Project and teaches poetry at the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Facility in Chicago. He leads workshops and performs spoken word internationally.

Sean Dixon is a composer, producer, percussionist, and bassist based in New York City. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and The New School before founding R&B-soul band The Chesterfields with Scott Sharrard. His work has been shaped significantly by Guinean master drummer M’Bemba Bangoura and Bahian musician Mestre Kiki da Bahia, whose colorful influences can be seen in Dixon’s jazz, blues, pop, and R&B-flavored sound. He has worked with MASS MoCA favorites including Zammuto, Gotye (Wally de Backer), and Elysian Fields. He is currently co-leader of experimental pop-rock-R&B duo SLV, a frequent NPR Music favorite.

M is Black Enough ignites MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center with electrifying music and words on Saturday, March 26, at 8pm. Tickets are $8 for students, $12 in advance, $18 day of, and $22 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays through June 24, 2016. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours or purchased online at massmoca.org. All events are held rain or shine.

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