Jonathan Green, Chair of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project Joins Strategic Partners for The Requiem for Rice.
October 22, 2017
Gaillard Center Martha and John Rivers Performance Hall.
The Requiem for Rice, is a lamentation for the repose of the souls of the dead who were enslaved, exploited, and brutalized on Lowcountry South Carolina and Georgia’s rice plantations and who remain unburied, unmourned, and unmarked. It is a modern take on a classic requiem performed by a full symphony orchestra and choir. An African and African-American inspired take on a classic requiem, it also features classic West African dance, drumming, and singing. The lamentation ends in celebration, laying to rest once and for all, the shackles of shame, blame, guilt, and denial that pervade this painful period in European, African, American, and African-American history. The Requiem ends in celebration of enslaved African ancestors’ lives, ingenuity, labor, and sacrifice for generations unborn and unseen, reclamation of our history and culture, and reconciliation among people of African descent, Africans, Americans, and Europeans.
The Requiem for Rice is a collaboration between The Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum sponsored by the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project and its Strategic Partners · Executive Producer, Jonathan Green, world renowned artist and founder and President of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project ·
Producer and Librettist (author of the libretto on which The Requiem is based), Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), Department of History and author of Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (Indiana, 2008) and Wade in the Water: A Journey from Western Africa to Gullah Geechee (in progress) and co-author of Rice: Global Networks and New Histories with Francesca Bray, Peter Coclanis, and Dagmar Schaeffer (Cambridge, in press). Fields-Black is a direct descendant Africans enslaved on three rice plantations (Colleton County, SC), Cockfield, Smithfield, the location of Alice Huger Ravenel Smith’s gorgeous and nostalgic watercolors, and Myrtle Grove, which was owned by the largest slave holder in the US. ·
Composer, Dr. Trevor Weston, Associate Professor, Drew University (Madison, NJ), Department of Music whose recent works are: “Messages for Chamber Ensemble” (Chamber Music Charleston), “4: a musical drama in response to the 4 girls killed in Birmingham AL in 1963” (Trilogy, An Opera Company in Newark, NJ), “The People Could Fly” based on the African-American folktale of enslaved people who flew away to freedom (Starling Chamber Orchestra in Cincinnati, OH), “Verve Music” (Charleston Chamber Players), “Three Moods” (Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Players), “Ashes” (Carolina Chamber Chorale, Charleston), “In the Giving,” “O come, o come Emmanuel,” “The Greatest Gift,” and “Christmas is Jesus Christ” (Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir), and “Here’s to Life” and “Why Should I Care” (Lee Pringle/Charleston Orchestra Pops)
Litany, Nikki Finney, was born by the sea in South Carolina and raised during the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. She began reading and writing poetry as a teenager growing up in the spectacle and human theatre of the deep South. At Talladega College she began to autodidactically explore the great intersections between art, history, politics, and culture. These same arenas of exploration are ongoing today in her writing, teaching and spirited belief in one-on-one activism. She is the author of four books of poetry, On Wings Made of Gauze, RICE, The World Is Round, and Head Off & Split, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2011. She has written extensively for journals, magazines, and other publications. For twenty-one years she taught creative writing at the University of Kentucky and now holds the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She travels extensively, never lecturing, always inviting and hoping for conversations that just might improve the human condition.