Siletz Bay Music Festival Presents
MY WORDS ARE MY SWORD
Presented by Siletz Bay Music Festival to coincide With Black History Month, “My Words Are My Sword” is a groundbreaking musical drama for actor and orchestra that fuses jazz, hip-hop and classical music. It will be presented with two performances at the B’nai B’rith Camp in Otis, on February 9 at 1:30pm and 7:00pm in a celebration of Black History Month.
The evening’s event will also serve to honor the life and work of the late Yaacov “Yaki” Bergman, who provided the Festival with guidance and inspiration as its long-time artistic director prior to his untimely passing in 2023. A reception will follow the concert.
“My Words Are My Sword” is a stunning orchestral piece that explores the experience of being black in America through music and spoken word, poetry, hip hop, and the words of Frederick Douglas, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and Martin Luther King, Jr. When the idea for the project came to Maestro Yaki Bergman during the Covid hiatus, he introduced actor-poet Darius Wallace and composer Jasnam Daya Singh to write the words and compose the music. The entire process was completed on Zoom.
The work was first presented in 2022 with performances by the Portland Chamber Orchestra and the Walla Walla Symphony, both of which Bergman served as conductor. Many of the Portland Chamber Orchestra’s members will travel to the coast for its presentation in Lincoln City. A full orchestra will perform the piece, conducted by Raúl Gómez-Rojas, music director of Portland’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Gómez-Rojas has won accolades for his guest performances with the Oregon Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Oregon Ballet Theatre, among others.
The 1:30 concert will be presented free of charge to area students, grades 7 – 12. Taft students will be bused to the event but all schools are welcome. Tickets for the evening’s performance, priced at $40 and $15 for students, are now available at www.siletzbaymusic.org. B’nai B’rith Camp is located at 3509 NE East Devils Lake Road in Otis.
“This is one of the freshest, most unvarnished and relevant new works we could share with our audience in times of so much division and hunger for hope and reconciliation,” said Bergman at the time of the work’s premiere. “The work explores the magical word “if” and how true liberation grows from an understanding of the manifestation of self within body, mind, soul, and spirit, specifically toward a people but universally towards all. The term “blackness” is redefined through story, monologue, characterization, poetry, and song as it addresses current issues with the buried history of black bravery and excellence,” added Bergman.
The piece’s writer and performer Darius Wallace, currently based in Memphis, is a founding company member of that city’s Tennessee Shakespeare Festival and has performed extensively around the country in schools, universities, theaters, and libraries in a one-man show as Frederick Douglas. In writing “My Words Are My Sword,” Wallace has “incorporated text from the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., poetry by Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, the writings of Malcolm X and a re-enactment of the childhood history of Frederick Douglas.
Jasnam Daya SinghComposer Jasnam Daya Singh is a Latin Grammy-nominated concert and jazz pianist whose performances in many countries have earned worldwide acclaim for their innovative style and virtuosity. His music draws from a broad range of influences, including the samba music of his native Brazil, straight-ahead jazz and the European classical tradition.
The Siletz Bay Music Festival was founded to bring multi-genre world-class music performed by outstanding musicians to the area, reaching across race, culture, age, social and economic barriers and providing extraordinary musical experiences.
My Words Are My Sword
Friday February 9th 2024 at 7:00PM
B’nai B’rith Camp, 3509 NE East Devils Lake Road, Otis, OR.
Purchase tickets online by clicking here, or call the box office at 541-264-5828