Left: Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Right: Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Left: Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Right: Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Be prepared for ‘Blackbird, Fly’

  • Thu May 17th, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

by Norm Stamper

Special to the Sounder

“We slash the blackbird’s throat, ask her why she does not sing”

The American artists Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), sons of Haitian immigrants, are passionate about freedom, justice, and equality. Those values will be front and center in their upcoming performance at Orcas Center.

Only a handful of tickets remain for the June 23 production of the provocative, highly acclaimed concert. Bringing Bamuthi and DBR to Orcas represents a major milestone in the young life of WIWP, a moment worth savoring.

Founded by Michell Marshall less than a year ago, and dedicated to showcasing “citizen artists” with a message of inclusion, diversity, and racial justice, WIWP has already produced two major sold-out events. The first, last October, was the wildly popular, “Dragon Lady,” Sara Porkalob’s one-woman, two-night dinner theater extravaganza. Funny, poignant, unforgettable.

And, in March, WIWP and guests made beautiful music together at our first annual fundraiser, “…And All That Jazz.” The show featured island treasure Martin Lund, the sublime Moqui Lund (up from Los Angeles), and Oliver Groenewald with his exciting Seattle-based NewNet Band. The evening far exceeded expectations, helping to solidify WIWP’s standing in the community—and building enthusiasm for our June offering of “Blackbird, Fly.”

A sampling of reviews of the upcoming event provides a sense of what’s in store for ticketholders:

“Composer/violinist…DBR is a musician without borders, equally at home composing for an orchestra at Carnegie Hall or accompanying Lady Gaga on American Idol. Spoken word artist…Bamuthi is a brilliant wordsmith and captivating performer who got his start acting on Broadway and winning the national poetry slam.” – the Stranger

“This introspective, uplifting piece beautifully weaves movement, music and spoken word into a richly layered multi-sensory evening.” –Saint Johns University

“This profoundly reflective and powerfully uplifting work explores the artists’

Haitian heritage, while delving into universal themes of cultural identity, tolerance and inclusion”—ArtsVista

“[DBR is] about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets.” –New York Times.

Omnivorous? Let’s just say you’re unlikely ever to see a more versatile (and accomplished) violinist. Bamuthi once joked that DBR “plays that thing 20,000 different ways.”

As to Bamuthi’s approach? He told a reporter for the Times, “Part of the rap against activists is they’re railing against something. I want to make something. I want to make the world I want to see. It’s not just pretty art.”

After what will likely be for some a life-altering performance, the audience will have the opportunity to visit with the artists. Be prepared for an evening of powerful art and sensational entertainment.