TBA | August 13 | 5:00 pm CDT
Headliner: Queen Drea
For Queen Drea's New Music Gathering, she along with collaborators Paul Herwig and Ryan-Oliva Mccoy will provide an immersive sound, movement, and visual experience. Telling the story of Mawu. Mawu is a creator goddess, associated with the Sun and Moon in Dahomey mythology. After creating the Earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky. When she asked Awe, a monkey she had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli - the breath of life.
Queen Drea, recipient of a 2017 American Composers Forum Minnesota Emerging Composer Award, is a vocalist, performance, and soundscape artist whose pieces are often conceived under the auspices of improvisational settings which is where she thrives most. This gives her the freedom to enhance each piece as she is moved by the audience and as they are moved by her music, soundscapes and poetry, creating a symbiotic relationship between Drea and her audience.
Queen Drea has created work about depression in the Black community, the loss of Black men’s lives in America, and an Afro-Futurist operetta “From Black Wombs” about two sisters who have lost their parents in the revolutionary war against white supremacy. She has been commissioned to compose soundscapes for Ananya Dance Theatre and Black Label Movement, sound design for Penumbra Theatre’s production of “For Colored Girls”, as well as Pillsbury House Theater’s “Great Divide” 3 and 4. Queen Drea is a 2019 ASHE Lab Fellow with Penumbra Theater, a 2020 Naked Stages Fellow with Pillsbury House Theater, and 2021 Jerome Fellow Finalist.
“I have been investigating some thoughts on Black Love and how it is strong enough to withstand being denied. Acknowledging that the way we came to this country and the way our families were separated in the name of capitalism is the reason why we are separated now. Acknowledging the pain of this reality. Acknowledging the beauty of this reality. Acknowledging Black Love in its many forms and expressing this love through my art.” –Queen Drea