Location: Zion-Memorial Church,
37 Franklin Street, Carleton Place
image: Living Epistle © 2023 Steve Prince | Eyekons
album art for TAO by Justin Broadbent * 2021
‘Membering the Second Line:
Community, creativity, and transcendence
an exploration with Shad Kabango & Steve Prince
In New Orleans funerary tradition,
the 'Second Line' are the gathered mourners that music brings back to life:
those who choose to remember,
yet who also choose for remembrance to be framed by a joy that informs the future.
This May, Cdn hip hop artist Shad and New Orleans visual artist Steve Prince
will share and explore what the concepts of the 'Second Line’
mean to them personally in their work as public thinkers and artists.
What are we, as collective members of the human race, called to remember -- and how?
What is the role of particularity, of place, of participation?
How do we cherish our roots whilst yet moving towards transcendence?
Can music and art provide answers?
Can they somehow equip us to better join the membership?
Is that membership merely human?
Shad Kabango is both a multi-award-winning musician/poet and an award-winning documentary and radio host (Emmy, Juno, Peabody, etc), with seven full albums to his name. He is also a husband, a dad, a complex and careful thinker…and, very funny. Born in Kenya of Rwandan refugee parents and raised in London (Ontario), educated in both Business and the Liberal Arts, Shad brings a mix of life experience, thoughtful education, and determined hopefulness to his witty, provocative, incisive lyrics. Most often identified as a hip hop artist -- indeed, as one of Canada’s best -- his style blends a number of genres and actually often defies categorization. Interdisciplinary in his work, Shad frequently collaborates with visual artists as well as with other performance artists. The album A Short Story About a War (2018) was released with an art exhibit exploring the album’s themes, and both that and his most recent release TAO (2021) are notable for the number of fellow musicians and poets that partake. TAO broke a record: making Shad the most shortlisted musician in Polaris Prize history. Shaped by responses to both The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and The Abolition of Man, that album draws the attentive audience into reflections upon what it means to be human -- from a multiplicity of directions. Building on themes present in his work from the beginning, Shad does not flinch from harsh realities or unsettling potentialities, nor however does he deride the ever-present agency of hope. He consistently challenges his listeners to defy convention and to -- joyfully -- participate in radically reweaving the current unravelling of communal connectivity.
Steve Prince is a multi-award-winning mixed media artist, master printmaker, lecturer, educator, and art evangelist. He too is a husband, a dad…and also a dynamic sharp thinker who will make you laugh. A native of New Orleans, Steve is inheritor of its rich tradition of intermingled art, music, history, and religion -- this manifests in his narrative art which is rich in a particularity that confidently asserts universal truths. Director of Engagement and Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Muscarelle Museum at William and Mary (Virginia), his internationally exhibited work does not shy from demanding that his audience pay attention, remember, learn. Drawing upon Biblical and African diasporic traditions, and speaking through a variety of art mediums (he is ‘multi-lingual’), he also invites response. There are painful stories amongst the triumphant ones -- but it is in naming the pain, the offence, and then refusing to let the story end in those places that defines so much of his work. ‘Life more abundant’ is pervasive. Manifesting this is his specific interest in the cathartic Jazz Funerary tradition of New Orleans, as seen in his Katrina Suite and other printworks works directly referencing the Second Line: tears and dance; grief and joy; life and death and life. Steve has commemorated many key moments and persons in the African-American struggle, not only in print but in public sculptures. In the several residencies he has been awarded, and in the workshops he has conducted -- at colleges, churches, museums -- he reiterates his conviction that we are “all living epistles, whether we want to be or not,” and that we should anchor this in hope, faith, and collaborative creativity.
'Soul Serenade' © 2023 Steve Prince | Eyekons
Detail: 'Bird in Hand: Second Line for Michigan' (2012)