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Ghosts Everywhere I Go: The Arches Project
6:30 PM talk with Travis Jackson
In both his playing and his writing, Vijay Iyer has a penchant for imbuing impeccably crafted musical structures with layers of thoughtfulness and meaning. The MacArthur Genius fellow brings that same sensibility to his latest work Ghosts Everywhere I Go: The Arches Project, inspired by the writings of poet, sociologist, comic book author, and University of Chicago professor Eve Ewing. “I am interested in critically examining the word in which we live, asking questions about why it functions the way it does, and using imaginative work as a way of thinking through how it could be otherwise,” says Iyer of the piece.
Ewing is uniquely posed to provide answers to those questions. Known for making waves both in the intellectual community and through the Twitterverse, Ewing’s work shines a bright light on the centrality of public education in Chicago and on the African-American artists and scholars whose were legacies where born in those rigorous schools. Of particular significance to both Ewing and Iyer is the impact Captain Walter Dyett, the monolithic music educator whose tutelage through Chicago Public Schools gave rise to the careers of legends like Nat King Cole, Von Freeman, Gene Ammons, Dorothy Donegan, and countless others. In dialogue with Ewing’s most notable works, Iyer’s multiple-movement suite meditates on “how the storied, vastly influential history of African American creativity in and from Chicago also expresses an age-old American struggle for resources, support, dignity, justice, and freedom.”
Joining Iyer in the world premiere of Ghosts Everywhere I Go is an all-star cast of creative musicians who also draw from Chicago’s deep well of musical innovation: guitarist Jeff Parker, cellist Tomeka Reid, and vibraphonist Joel Ross, along with bassist and New York resident Nick Dunston and London-based vocalist Eden Girma, and featuring readings by Professor Ewing herself.
Supported in part by the Reva and David Logan Foundation and the UChicago Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.