Afrofuturist Sound Ecologies is led by Mellon Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research Teaching Fellow Jadele McPherson (PhD Student, Anthropology Department, The Graduate Center, CUNY) and will explore Afrofuturist sound ecologies through innovative performance methods. Working collaboratively with artists, students and scholars, they will explore ecology locally through Afro-Caribbean music and performance to study how sound can alter or shift environments. This project seeks to propose alternative epistemologies in studies of the Anthropocene that can be translated into effective, community-based pedagogies and practices.

Events, Research & Scholarship:

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021, 4:00 PM (EST)

Mind, Body and Soul: Afrofuturist Sacred Sounds (Part 2)

Dancer Rita Macias dancing for Yemaya (in blue dress in left image) and dancing for Oyá (in right image); photos by Lin Benitez.

On February 2nd Lucumí practitioners celebrate the Virgen de la Candelaria, syncretized with the orisa Oyá who symbolizes the wind, societal transformation, and owner of the marketplace. In Brazil, Candomblé practitioners celebrate Yemaya’s feast day. Yemaya and Oya are feminine orishas that represent cosmological counterpoints, death and maternity, in their embodiment of the black feminine divine in West African and diasporic epistemologies. The second part of our series will consider these feminine energies in Afro Atlantic spiritualities in tandem with the sonic and historic legacies of Quisqueya, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We have invited a
stellar group of artists and scholars Dr. Kyrah Malika Daniels, Maxine Montilus, Stephanie “Soli” Araujo, and Ayanna Legros and hosts Jadele McPherson and Joseph A. Torres-Gonzáles whose work will expand our conversation about Afro-Latinx artistry, ecology and wellness.

Please join us as we continue to grapple with social distancing, keeping our creativity alive and practicing wellness as we experience a new phase of compounded duress during this global pandemic. Our series invokes our ancestral voices for wisdom as we chat as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room, and share intimate, live performances that will inspire us to begin this New Year refreshed and fortified.

This event is free and open to the public, but please register here to access the Zoom link and attend.

Image credits: Left: Dancer Rita Macias, photo by Lin Benitez. Middle: LaSirenn by Pablo Soto Campoamo. Right: Vodou Practitioner, by Fet Gede, Haiti.

Image credits: Left: Jadele McPherson performing at "Sister Sanchez Tribute" at the Schomburg Center, photo by Ed Forti. Right: from LaSirene, Rites & Reason Theatre, Brown University

~ We dedicate this series to the spirit and memory of Miriam Jiménez Román whose pioneering work on Afro-Latinx intellectuals and artists in New York City continues to inspire new collaborations. ~

Click here to read more about this event, the participants and there work

Friday, December 4th, 2020, 4:00 PM (EST)

Mind, Body and Soul: Afrofuturist Sacred Sounds

Photo by Sokari Ekine from La Sirene at JACK in 2016, dancer is Hansell Vaillant.

"Mind, Body & Soul: Afrofuturist Sacred Sounds" will explore embodied art practice during the COVID pandemic and rebellions nationwide protesting the police state, carceral practices which has resulted in a disproportionate loss of Black lives. Our series brings artist practitioners, healers, and activists together to create spaces in the absence of being able to engage in our past in-person collaborative processes. We will collectively ask what promotes wellness and creativity during the pandemic, and consider the ways our work embodies the sacred and connects with environmental justice and other relevant themes. The series, which will take place Friday, December 4th, 2020, Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021, and Friday April 2nd, 2021, will engage a community of about 10-12 artists, activists, and cultural workers that highlight the work of Afro-Latinx creatives around the country.

This event is free and open to the public, but please Register here to access the Zoom link and attend.

Read series organizer and Teaching Fellow Jadele McPherson's own words on the first event of this new series:

"On the eve of December 4th Cubans who observe begin celebrating Santa Barbara-Changó, who represents music and social justice, with parties that have delicious food and sweets, live music and the power to elevate everyone’s spirits who attends. This year I will genuinely miss these parties since we cannot gather in large groups, and so the launch of this series will bring artists together through sacred sound by other means. We will channel that spiritual energy to make space and to discuss how we are keeping our emotional creativity alive and practicing wellness while living under the compounded duress of the pandemic. In this first installation of the series, join Beatrice Capote, Jennifer Celestin, Raymel Casamayor, and co-moderators Joseph Torres Gonzalez and myself as we invoke our ancestors voices, chat as if we were hanging out in someone’s living room, and share intimate, live performances that will inspire us to enter a New Year refreshed and fortified."

Photo of dancers Tadeo Asojano and Yesenia Fernandez Selier from Wemilere (which means Party Honoring the orishas) at JACK (2015) by Lafotographeuse.

Click here
for more information about this event, the participants, and the series.

More About Jadele McPherson

Jadele McPherson. Photo by Jon Vachon

Jadele McPherson is an artist-scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of sound and healing, mutual aid, and performance in Florida, Haiti and Cuba. McPherson is currently a PhD student in the CUNY Graduate Center Anthropology Department and teaching fellow with the Mellon Seminar for Collaborative Research and Engagement where she is researching how sound impacts wellness, climate change & environmental sustainability. As a founder of Lukumi Arts (2008), an experimental theatre company focused on Afro-Cuban arts, she wrote and produced La Sirene: Rutas de Azúcar which debuted at JACK (2016), in the HERE Arts SANCTUARY series, and Brown University's Rites & Reason Theatre (2017). Jadele was an artist in the James Baldwin tribute Can I Get a Witness? at Harlem Stage co-created by director Charlotte Brathwaite and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, and No More Water/The Fire Next Time at the Park Ave Armory (February 2018). Jadele was also a featured guest on The Hoodoisie, a Chicago-based radical live news show (October 2018) and shortly after released her solo debut EP entitled “Peace & Quiet” (2019).

Project Leader