Berklee Presents The Coming: Black History Month Celebration
The Signature Series at Berklee presents The Coming: Black History Month Celebration on Thursday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center. The concert will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Africans being brought onto American soil at Point Comfort, Virginia, in August 1619. The evening will include performances by Berklee’s Reverence Gospel Choir, led by director Dennis Montgomery, along with African dancers and drummers, and a reading by Daniel Black, professor of African American studies at Clark Atlanta University.
Tia Fuller, a professor in the Ensemble Department, felt compelled to create this event after reading Black's 2014 novel, The Coming. “I was inspired to write and record a song that was a reflection of our ancestors' struggle, and a musical narrative of those 'diamonds' who endured the unrighteous acts of the Middle Passage and slavery,” says Fuller. “It has been a goal of mine to do a production of Black's The Coming, incorporating songs of my last release, Diamond Cut, as the musical backdrop.”
Berklee's Rainbow All-Stars and Kanye West ensembles will perform the rich traditions and more contemporary portrayals of the African diaspora, depicting the capture and journey of Africans across the transatlantic slave trade. In addition, there will be performances by dancers from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music, a string quartet, and a video presentation.
The Coming has been described as “lyrical, poetic, and hypnotizing, telling the story of a people’s capture and sojourn from their homeland across the Middle Passage—a traumatic trip that exposed the strength and resolve of the African spirit.” Through the musical direction of Fuller and the prose of Black, they will pay homage to the diverse cultures of Africa and the evolution of African American music.
The Berklee Performance Center is located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Admission is $10/$15 in advance and $15/$20 the day of the show. Tickets are available online and at the Berklee Performance Center box office.
Listen to “The Coming,” from Tia Fuller’s Grammy-nominated album, Diamond Cut: