Joi BrownPast, Perspectives, Possibilities

Strathmore's 2017-2018 season provides windows to the world.

Windows are fascinating symbols. In literature and film, windows are often symbols of discovery. The curious are always peering through windows, observing something that twists the plot line or stirs emotion. The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a few different definitions for the word “window,” one of them being “a means of entrance (as to the mind); especially: a means of obtaining information or maintaining contact.”

When we began planning Strathmore’s 2017–2018 season, there were many lively discussions about the potential of music and art to break down barriers and build understanding between people of different backgrounds. Particularly, we were struck by the power of songwriters and the way in which lyrics and music composition reflect perspectives of people from different places, cultures, and eras. Music can take us on a journey through individual narratives and stories, giving us a glimpse into worlds we don’t know. Ultimately, songs can reveal universal themes of humanity to help us find common ground. The people, places, and situations change, but the songs themselves, over and over, reflect themes that are familiar to us all—resilience, family, youthful innocence, restless longing, fear, dreams—highlighting our connections to the past, each other, and the world around us. Songs are windows to all of this and more.

Our international features this year provide a particularly important peek into the world around us. Latin Grammy and Grammy-winning singer Lila Downs (October 20) draws on feminist social justice themes in stories that too often go untold. Ukrainian vocal group DakhaBrakha (November 17) cuts to the heart with stunning polyphonic harmonies and songs representing the spirit of those fighting for their cause. The Persian artists of Niyaz (March 16) explore the feminine myth in a multimedia tribute, focusing on themes of hope and diversity in the face of injustice.

In times of social discord, we look to the arts and music to create windows that allow us access to understand others. This is where we find humanity. Music and stories remind us we are more alike than different.

Look for preconcert lectures and educational events to deepen your experience throughout the season. We hope you will explore with us.

Joi A. Brown
Artistic Director

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