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Art as Decolonization: The Making of the Jazz Opera Mirror Butterfly
September 14, 2019 @ 7:00 pmFREE
Join Gizelxanath Rodriguez and Ben Barson, two members of the Pittsburgh-based Afro Yaqui Music Collective, for a performance and talk on 9/14. They understand musical creation and performance as a revolutionary act. In 2017-18, Rodriguez and Barson worked to build an Ecosocialist International with over 100 activists from 5 continents with an emphasis on indigenous and African-diasporic alternatives to capitalism. These relationships were realized in the creation of Mirror Butterfly, a jazz-opera which was composed and written in conjunction with revolutionary women based in Yaqui territory, Mexico; Turkish/Syrian Kurdistan; and Tanzania. As part of the process, these activists, along with Barson, Rodriguez, Peggy Myo-Young Choy, Ruth Margraff, and Nejma Nerfititi, were asked to theorize what capitalism meant to them and what was sacred in this world that should be defended at all costs. The finished work travelled the regions that helped produce it, with a performance in Kurdish Iraq at the Mesopotamian Water Forum. Now the group is on an album release tour, with 100% of album proceeds going to support Yaqui resistance to mega projects, including fracking, that threaten the ancestral Yaqui river in Sonora, Mexico.