Super excited to announce my participation in the Boccaccio Project! I’ve composed a piece for my Flutronix partner, Nathalie Joachim entitled, Have and Hold. Watch video of the performance here. Read for more details about the project from The Library of Congress:
A Series of Musical Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the mid-14th century Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) wrote the Decameron, a collection of 100 stories shared between a group of 10 acquaintances who had removed themselves from society during the darkest period of a plague. This early artistic response to an outbreak provided context and a means of expression, and the parallels to the quarantine and social distancing phenomena we have been experiencing worldwide in these difficult past few months resonate with us.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we draw on Boccaccio’s example to offer some musical responses. We have asked 10 pairs of composers and performers to write and perform brief solo works to be premiered online over the course of 10 weekdays in June.
Have and Hold reflects the desire to be near others during an extended period of social distancing and isolation. Personally, I have realized that being around people and experiencing life with them not only brings me great joy, but fuels my energy, creativity and spirit. This piece is truly dedicated to all of the people in my life who I miss dearly and long to be near again.
I had the immense pleasure of co-producing Nathalie’s new album “Fanm d’Ayiti” and it has finally arrived! It’s like Christmas in August! Read the full press release below, and get ye to Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, or your preferred digital platform to buy and stream the full album today. For all of the audiophiles out there, the album is also available on vinyland sounds simply delicious. Thanks for supporting, and enjoy the music!
“a unique mixture of classical music, electronic programming, hip-hop, neo-rhythm & blues and folkloric elements rooted in the Haitian cultural heritage.”
– El Intruso
“For a very long time I didn’t feel comfortable calling myself a composer, because the people for whom that title was reserved did not look, or live, or create music that was anything like mine.”
– 15 Questions with Nathalie Joachim
New Amsterdam Records is excited to release Fanm d’Ayiti, the debut solo album fromHaitian-American composer, flutist, and vocalist Nathalie Joachim. The album, which translates to Women of Haiti in English, shows Joachim exploring her Haitian heritage and celebrating the songs and stories of some of Haiti’s most iconic yet under-recognized female artists. The songs on Fanm d’Ayiti were all written or arranged by Joachim and feature her performing on vocals, flute, and electronics alongside the Grammy-nominated string ensemble Spektral Quartet.
Fanm d’Ayiti features the powerful Haitian female voices from yesterday and today, including the recorded voices of Joachim’s grandmother, the girls choir of Joachim’s family’s home farming village of Dantan, and conversations with Emerante de Pradines, a prized voice of Haiti’s Golden Age; Milena Sandler, daughter of the late, famed chanteuse Toto Bissainthe; and celebrated vodou songstress Carole Demesmin.
Fanm d’Ayiti began in 2015, shortly after the passing of Joachim’s maternal grandmother. Joachim explains:
“She and I spent many a cherished moment underneath the mango and coconut trees in her yard in Haiti – and in my childhood home in America – singing songs with one another. It was our way of telling each other stories, and her way of passing on a centuries-long cultural practice of oral history. Her absence ignited a deep desire for understanding in me. In what ways did our voices connect with the voices of other Haitian women? What did our songs tell us about our past, and what might they mean for the future? The foundation of Fanm d’Ayiti began to reveal itself readily through conversation: with my family, and with others willing to share their piece of our cultural puzzle.”
These exchanges led Joachim to learn about and honor the dozens of Haitian female artists who were each committed to carrying forward the story of the first free black republic, who used their voices to uplift future generations by celebrating the nation’s strength.
“I feel lucky to be joining my voice with theirs,” continues Joachim, “and bringing listeners a sonic portfolio of my originals and arrangements of historic Haitian songs, woven together in a musical celebration of activism and hope.”
09/13/19 — Chicago, IL @ Black Ensemble Theater (Chicago premiere and album release) LINK
10/26/19 — New York, NY @ Kaufman Music Center / Ecstatic Music series (NYC debut and album release) LINK
01/10/20 — Chapel Hill, NC @ Carolina Performing Arts at UNC LINK
02/19/20 — College Park, MD @ Clarice Smith Center at UMD LINK
Flutronix was on the radio! During an awesome week down in Chapel Hill, NC, where we’ll be in residence at the University of North Carolina for the next two years, we had a bit of time to share our story with the public. For those of you who don’t know, we’ve been commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts to develop our latest project, Discourse: a new site-specific evening-length performance piece aiming to unify and empower communities through conversation by showcasing the value of their narratives. Before our performance to kick off the residency, we got a chance to talk about our history and also our future on WUNC radio. Take a listen to learn more about how we met and what we’re up to these days!
Very happy about this interview Nathalie, Flutronix’s other half, did in Indy Week. It’s a thorough profile of our latest project, Discourse, commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts, and highlights our commitment to using art as a way to connect with people and communities in order to process the challenging times we’re living in. “I really do feel that artists have a way of tapping into what is in people’s hearts and on their minds, and discovering ways for that to be processed,” says Joachim. “It is something people struggle with: how to process what we’re living while we’re living it.”