Slideshow: Multicultural Welcome Concert Featuring [BABA]

By 
Melissa Sack
May 31, 2016
Ryan Edwards on percussion
(From the left) [BABA] cofounder Ryan Edwards '11, Paul Laurey, Black Light, Gabriella Silva, Kara Fili, and [BABA] cofounder Mafu Williams
Black Light—[BABA] principal dancer
Mafu Williams on guitar
Black Light—[BABA] principal dancer
Mafu Williams singing into a berimbau
Mafu Williams
Kara Fili (special guest dancer)
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer

Music and light combined for a Berklee and Boston Conservatory collaboration as part of Berklee's Multicultural Welcome Concert for summer students. The concert, held on May 20 in the David Friend Recital Hall, featured [BABA]—a site-specific sound and visual creation team that blends live acoustics with electronic production, from ambient soundscapes to drum and bass—and a corps of three Boston Conservatory dancers under the direction of faculty member Tai Jimenez.

Cofounded by Berkee alumnus percussionist Ryan Edwards '11 and guitarist Mafu Williams, [BABA] brought a multidiscplinary effect to the concert, which was presented by the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Describing the naturally collaborative performance between the recently merged Berklee and Boston Conservatory, Edwards says, "My basic philosophy is that music and dance are natural expressions of the same side of our humanity. It is just generations of specialization and institutionalization that have wedged them apart. It is only natural, perhaps the most natural, to experience them as one. 

"It is a wonderful, ongoing conversation, music and dance. The real joy and space of creative expansion is moving between leader and follower. In the case of the recent [BABA] event, we skated all up and down that line."

Collaborating with dancers, projection artists, and other media, [BABA] approaches each event as an installation, reconsidering sound, space, time, and place. [BABA]'s resident projection artist and animator Samo created a visual projection score, employing multiple projectors placed throughout the David Friend Recital Hall. The cast treated the space with props and elements of curiosity, bending perception, and betraying expectations.