Miyamoto is Black Enough
performed by Andy Akiho, Roger Bonair-Agard, Sean Dixon, & Jeffrey Zeigler
6pm doors • 7pm show
The poet knows all sorts of things. Right now,
he is convinced he is inside the belly of his greatest
work ever. Rum will do that.
Miyamoto is Black Enough is a collaborative exploration of meaning and conversation, based on Ariana Miyamoto, a Japanese national who grew up as a self-described mixed race “hafu”, the child of an African-American father and Japanese mother. After winning Miss Universe Japan 2015, many Japanese expressed concern at her lack of “pure” parentage — that she was not Japanese enough.
In Miyamoto is Black Enough, a contemporary band that boasts two hafu of their own — a Trinidadian-Brooklynite Black man, and an Irish/Finnish/Swedish hip-hop-influenced drummer — Miyamoto is certainly Black enough.
This work celebrating Miyamoto’s legacy is a blend of hard-driving rhythms and biting social commentary that utilizes steelpan, cello, drums, and poetry/vocals. Drawing from a melange of musical styles, M is Black Enough forms a brash symphony that nods the head, moves the feet, and asks the listener/viewer to challenge and disturb her own comfort. The resulting work is a bold narrative about people, justice, struggle, joy, and celebration.
Miyamoto is both a building frenzy of excitement and a cerebral jaunt through one’s own belief systems, leaning towards a joy that refuses itself unless it is foundation’d in justice.
Four remarkable artists form the cohort that makes this project possible: Andy Akiho as composer and performer on his trademark steelpans; Roger Bonair-Agard with poetry and spoken word; Jeffrey Zeigler as cellist; and Sean Dixon on drums.
“…'(M)iyamoto,’ incandescent in its synergy between music and poetry, is already more than good enough.” (LA Times)
Music by ANDY AKIHO
Text by ROGER BONAIR-AGARD
Performed by ANDY AKIHO, steelpan; ROGER BONAIR-AGARD, vocals; SEAN DIXON, drums; & JEFFREY ZEIGLER, cello
Described as "mold-breaking", "alert and alive", "dramatic", and "vital" by the New York Times, Andy Akiho is an eclectic composer and performer of contemporary classical music. Recent engagements include commissioned premieres by the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall‘s Ensemble ACJW; a performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and three concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Akiho has been recognized with awards including the 2014-15 Luciano Berio Rome Prize, the 2015 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, a 2014 Fromm Foundation Commission from Harvard University, the 2014 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Emerging Composers Commission, a 2014 Chamber Music America (CMA) Grant with the Friction Quartet and Jenny Q Chai, a 2012 CMA Grant with Sybarite5, the 2012 Carlsbad Composer Competition Commission for the Calder Quartet, and the 2011 Finale & ensemble eighth blackbird National Composition Competition Grand Prize. Additionally, his compositions have been featured on PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and by organizations such as Bang on a Can, American Composers Forum, and the Society for New Music.
Akiho was born in 1979 in Columbia, South Carolina, and is based in New York City. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina (BM, performance), the Manhattan School of Music (MM, contemporary performance), and the Yale School of Music (MM, composition). Akiho is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition at Princeton University. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival, Heidelberg Music Festival, HKUST Intimacy of Creativity Festival, Bang on a Can Festival, Silicon Valley Music Festival, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest Festival, and Avaloch Farm Music Institute, where he is the Composer-in-Residence. Akiho’s debut CD No One To Know One, on Innova Recordings, features brilliantly crafted compositions that pose intricate rhythms and exotic timbres around his primary instrument, the steel pan.
Poet and spoken-word artist Roger Bonair-Agard was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States in 1987. His collections of poetry include Tarnish and Masquerade (2006); Gully (2010); and Bury My Clothes (2013), which was a long-list finalist for a National Book Award. He contributed to the collection Burning Down the House (2000), a selection of poems from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. He is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and has appeared on programs such as HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the PBS NewsHour, among others.
A former Cave Canem fellow, Bonair-Agard performs his work and leads workshops internationally. He has been a writer-in-residence with VisionIntoArt and a poet-in-residence with Young Chicago Authors. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the louderARTS Project and teaches poetry at the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Facility in Chicago.
Sean Dixon is a composer, producer, drummer, bassist and educator based in New York City. He has performed, toured and/or recorded with Gotye’s Ondioline Orchestra, Maxwell, Aloe Blaac, Doyle Bramhall II, Amy Helm, Miyamoto Is Black Enough, Andy Akiho, Helga Davis, and many others. Venues include National Sawdust, The Park Avenue Armory, The Kennedy Center (DC), The Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), Mass MOCA (MA), Festival such as The Sydney Festival (Australia), MONA FOMA (Tasmania), River To River (NYC), Trans-Musicales (France). 2018 also brought on his first Off-Broadway experience as a collaborator and performer in Jomama Jones’ Blacklight presented at The Public Theatre and The Greenwich House Theatre.
His 1994 NYC arrival commenced with brief stints at the Manhattan School of Music and The New School before establishing and co-leading The Chesterfields with notable guitarist/vocalist and childhood friend Scott Sharrard. Through those seven years he simultaneously nurtured professional relationships with numerous local singer/songwriters and a host of jazz, blues, pop and R&B artists, establishing him as a diverse and colorful collaborator.
Sean joined the critically acclaimed band Zammuto in 2011, going on to record two albums, Zammuto (2012), Anchor (2014), and tour internationally through 2015. During this time he co-lead the band SLVrecording an EP with Meshell N‘degeocello Dig Deeper (2012) and producing two full length albums, This Kind (2015) and Piece of Mind (2018).
While crediting Prince, Elvin Jones and Bruce Lee as his primary musical influences, his art has also been significantly shaped by studies with Guinea’s master drummer, M’Bemba Bangoura, and by Bahia’s musician/capoeirista Mestre Kiki da Bahia and Grupo Ginga. Since 2003 he has also committed himself to music for children and young people through both performance and education as the percussion faculty member at The Lawrenceville School and The Pennington School (2003–2005) and as performer/teacher with Arts Connection, Appleseeds, Alex and the Kaleidoscope Band, Moona Luna and The Dirty Sock Funtime Band.
Sean’s credits connect variously with Fife and Drom, Phil Orr and More, Jason Kravits Off The Top, Kellylee Evans, John Forte, Elysian Fields, ElectricViva, Digg Deep, Barnaby Bright, The Jazz Mandolin Project, Famoro Dioubate, Mory Kante, Sekouba Bambino, Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, Chubby Checker, Morris Nanton Trio, and many others.
Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most versatile cellists of our time. Acclaimed for his independent streak, he has commissioned over three dozen works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. Zeigler has been described as “fiery”, and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone” by the New York Times.
Jeffrey Zeigler was the cellist of the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet for eight seasons. During his tenure, Zeigler had the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of luminaries from John Adams to Noam Chomsky, from Damon Albarn (Gorillaz) to Trimpin and from Henryk Gorecki and Steve Reich to Tom Waits.
Since moving on from Kronos, Zeigler has enjoyed a wonderfully multifaceted career which has led to collaborations from Yo-Yo Ma and Laurie Anderson to Hauschka and Roomful of Teeth, from Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso to John Corigliano and Vijay Iyer, from Tanya Tagaq and Terry Riley to Vladimir Feltsman and John Zorn. Zeigler has also collaborated with members of the Eroica Trio and the Cleveland and St. Lawrence Quartets.
Recently, Zeigler gave the world premier of The Colorado Project at Da Camera in Houston and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Narrated by the Academy Award winning actor Mark Rylance, the film, directed by Murat Eyuboglu is performed live along side Glenn Kotche and Roomful of Teeth with music written by Pulitzer Prize winning composer, John Luther Adams, Bill Brittelle, Glenn Kotche, Shara Nova and Paola Prestini. The Colorado will next appear at Stanford Live in Spring 2017.
In 2016 Zeigler launched his new quartet, (M)iyamoto is Black Enough with the powerful Trinidadian poet Roger Bonair-Agard, brilliant composer and steel pan musician Andy Akiho and the virtuosic drummer Sean Dixon.
In 2018, Zeigler will premier a new work in collaboration with the distinguished stage director, Robert Wilson and remarkable composer, Paola Prestini. The work is entitled Two Oars.
In the Fall 2014, Zeigler released his first solo album, Something of Life. A collaborative release with Innova Records and VIA Records, the album features world premier recordings of works by Philip Glass, Glenn Kotche, Felipe Perez Santiago, Paola Prestini, Gity Razaz and John Zorn.
Mr. Zeigler has released dozens of recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe and Smithsonian Folkways and has appeared with Norah Jones on her album Not Too Late on Blue Note Records. Zeigler can also be heard on the film soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award winning film, La Grande Bellezza, as well as Darren Aronofsky’s Golden Globe winning film, The Fountain, featuring music by Clint Mansell and including performances by the Scottish band, Mogwai. Zeigler can also be seen making an on screen cameo in Season 4 of the Amazon Prime’s Golden Globe Award winning series Mozart in the Jungle.
Mr. Zeigler has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the Royal Danish Radio Symphony, the Basel Symphonie, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Mannes Symphony and the Vancouver-based jazz band, The Hard Rubber Orchestra under the batons of John Adams, JoAnn Falletta, Dennis Russell Davies, Thomas Dausgaard and Peter Oundjian.
Jeffrey Zeigler holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of Stephen Doane and a Master of Music degree from Rice University where he served as the Teaching Assistant for Paul Katz. He then continued his studies at Indiana University under Janos Starker. Mr. Zeigler has also studied at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh, England where he was a pupil of William Pleeth and Zara Nelsova. From 1998-2004 he was a member of the Fischoff Grand Prize winning Corigliano Quartet which served as the Lisa Arnholt Quartet-in-Residence at the Juilliard School.
Zeigler has been the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recorded Arts and the Chamber Music America Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award and The Asia Society’s Cultural Achievement Award. Zeigler is on the Cello Faculty at Mannes College The New School For Music and has been published on John Zorn’s ARCANA series and is a regular contributor to CelloBello and to Q2 of WQXR.