- Event Start: 7:30 pm
- Admission: £10.00
Freedom Road – A Re-Imagining
An incredible live band bringing to life protest anthems, with photography from the esteemed Charlie Phillips and impactful monologues from young Black British voices.
Freedom Road Re-imagined is an immersive live music performance created by Sabina Desir and Jessica Lauren. Using the combined art forms of live music, photography and filmed footage, focus is drawn to the resilience, determination and pride of Black British Communities.
Presenting an intergenerational perspective of protest through the lens of esteemed photographers Charlie Phillips and Vanley Burke alongside the young photographer Shaïny Vilo. Both Phillips and Burke’s have made it their lives work to document the fight for equity and Civil Rights by Black and Asian people in the UK.
The show’s visuals draw you into times both past and present when the collective and individual voice is weaponised as a force for change. The show is as much a tribute to these activists as well as a celebration of the tenacity and drive of Black British communities. Central to the show is the exhilarating music. Music associated with the US and UK Civil Rights Movement. Music that sustained, empowered and educated, music that became and remains some of the most important of the 20th Century. Many of the band members, some of the UK’s finest Jazz players, are direct descendants of the Windrush generation including the shows Producer and Artistic Director Sabina Desir.
Intercut with the music and stunning visuals is the recorded voice of Taariq Forder. Taariq brings his lived-in Black British experience, enriching the telling of this intergenerational conflict.
If it is at all possible to inject an energy of positivity amid turbulence, and movement for change, Freedom Road Re-Imagined does this brilliantly. The artists from cross – cultural and multi – generational backgrounds bring incredible musicianship and storytelling and present a show that is moving, defiant and joyful all at once!
On March 8th 2020 singer Sabina Desir and keyboard player Jessica Lauren proudly presented their immersive performance Freedom Road at the Turner Contemporary as part of the POW! Thanet Festival: an immersive live performance featuring music that provided the backdrop to the American Civil Rights Movement.
With audio recordings taken from speeches by Dr Angela Davis, and a visual art installation (both physical works and digital projections) by artist Karen Vost based on archive U.S police photographs of arrested Freedom Riders, the show sold out and created such a stir within the Kent community that the decision was taken to tour it but, a few short weeks after the performance the world is being rocked by a global collective awakening caused by the murder of George Floyd. The most powerful political uprising since the Civil Rights Movement of over half a century ago sweeps like a wave across people of all colours and brings them together in protest against systemic racism.
In response to this uprising and wanting to add their voices to the long overdue conversation that was opening up they took the opportunity to revive Freedom Road as a filmed performance, re-framed in the present context and drawing parallels with the Black British experience. The film was released for a short time in July 2021 and impacted positively gaining coverage both locally and from the BBC but the full impact of the work is to be had experiencing the dynamics of the live performance.
The songs are central to the piece and form the needle through which the narrative weaves using powerful photography from the hugely important Black photographer, Charlie Phillips who has captured and documented the last 60 years in the lives of Black British people. The images of contemporary protest from photographer Shaïny Vilo are presented alongside the elder statesmen, further highlighting the need to address systemic racism today and why Freedom Road has chosen to do so through combined arts.
Intercut with the music and stunning visuals is the voice of Taariq Forder. Taariq brings his lived-in experience, enriching the telling of this inter-generational conflict.
If it is at all possible to inject an energy of positivity amid turbulence, and movement for change, Freedom Road does this brilliantly.The artists from cross – cultural and multi – generational backgrounds bring incredible musicianship and storytelling and present a show that is moving, defiant and joyful all at once.
‘We feel a great sense of responsibility to represent both this momentous time and that of the historic struggle with diligence, passion and respect through the medium of art, and are excited by the prospect of sharing this as a live experience.’
Artistic Director and Producer Sabina Desir
Listen to some of the music from the show