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Castle of our Skins Weaves Music, Spoken by Word, and African American Quilts Honoring Ancestral Stories Through the Arts

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. - EntSun -- Castle of our Skins continues its ninth season theme which is stitching together stories, history, and art with Sound & Appliqué, an in-person concert complete with two world premieres, seven original quilts, and original poetry created by Shirley Graham Du Bois Creative in Residence, and Marlanda Dekine. The event will include a 1:00 p.m. virtual lecture by textile artist L'Merchie Frazier on Saturday, January 22nd, followed by a 7:00 p.m. concert performance at the Brattleboro Music Center, 72 Blanche Moyce Way.

"African American quilting traditions are synonymous with making beautiful things out of scraps," Ashleigh Gordon, Artistic/Executive Director, and violist of Castle of our Skins states. "That history is a direct metaphor for our existence and resilience as Black people and serves as the inspiration for this program."

Two composers, Lauren McCall and Elizabeth A. Brown, were selected from an international call to composers to create a chamber piece inspired by African American quilting traditions. Their works, which respectively draw inspiration from coded messages used during the escape from slavery and the words and work of Gee's Bend quilter Louisiana P. Bendolph, will receive their world premieres. Original poetry exploring the significance of ancestral land, water, and memory will accompany a triptych of commissioned quilts by Boston-based artist L'Merchie Frazier. Four quilts created by Chicago-based artist Alpha M. Bruton will be paired with select movements from Florence B. Price's Five Folksongs in Counterpoint for string quartet. "This chamber work" notes Gordon, "uses the musical technique of cutting up, overlapping and re-envisioning bits of melodies to create something new and beautiful. It makes for a natural pairing to the creative juxtaposition of fabric used by master quilters of past and present."

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Sound & Appliqué includes the following performers: Flutist Orlando Cela;Violinists Gabriela Díaz and Mina Lavcheva; Violist Ashleigh Gordon; Cellist Leo Eguchi; Pianist Sarah Bob; and Narrator Brianna J. Robinson.

Sound & Appliqué is funded in part by grants from the Fromm Music Foundation and the Harvard Musical Association. The Sound & Appliqué Commissions are supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Howard Gilman Foundation, and anonymous donors.

Castle of our Skins is a Black arts institution that centers Black music, culture, and history through people, programming, and partnerships. Visit www.castleskins.org | https://bmcvt.org/event/season-guest-castles-of-our-skins/.

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