Freedom Road –  A Re-Imagining

This is the backstory to the Freedom Road Re-Imagined performance at NAC

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 peice and form the needle through which the narrative weaves using powerful photography from the hugly 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 intergenerational 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

FREEDOM ROAD – The Music

Musical Arrangements by Jessica Lauren

See more about the project

 

 

'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
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Freedom Road – A Re-Imagining

30 September 2022, from £10.00

Freedom Road – A Re-Imagining An incredible live band bringing to life protest anthems, with photography from the...

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