Three Syracuse University students have been selected as recipients of the Voyager Scholarship: the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service, a new award for juniors committed to public service funded by the Obama Foundation. The recipients are: Ka’ai Imaikalani I ’24…
‘Black Voices’ Malmgren Concert: NYC-Based Warp Trio Blends Classical, Jazz, Hip-Hop
Spotlighting works by Black artists in classical, jazz and hip-hop music, New York City-based Warp Trio brings “Black Voices” to Syracuse University. As part of Hendricks Chapel’s Music and Message Malmgren concert series, the community is invited to reflect and celebrate this Sunday, Sept. 25, at 4 p.m
NPR New Sounds calls Warp Trio “musically omnivorous” and “apparently mathematically challenged,” as the trio consists of four musicians: pianist Mikael Darmanie, violinist Josh Henderson, cellist Ju Young Lee and percussionist Rick Martinez. The group’s name references the trio genres of the 18th century, which normally featured four musicians.
Warp Trio will perform with a few special guests to make their four-piece production a seven-person showcase. Emily Haughton dances, Sylver Wallace sings and spoken word artist LiKWUiD emcees the show.
Collaborative performing arts can communicate the human experience in ways that aren’t always expressible through one art form alone. “Music is so complicated, just like the Black experience is so complex,” Henderson said.
A wealth of art and music created by the African diaspora is waiting to be discovered or rediscovered by new audiences. Covering a long history in about one hour, “Black Voices” will begin at the turn of the 20th century when composers like Debussy and Scriabin were all the rage. Warp Trio looks back to ask, “Where were the Black voices?”
“We found a really amazing pool of classical pieces from British American composers,” says Darmanie. “Combining these pieces with poetry and Black voices, movements, and songs, really shows the scope of what Blackness meant and what we’ve gone through.”
On the setlist are powerful, genre-bending renditions of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” and more. As they piece together traditional and contemporary musical elements, Warp Trio encourages the audiences to come with open eyes and ears.
“A lot of times when Blackness and Black voices are represented, the trauma becomes the forefront, which, it should be present, but we forget about Black joy,” says Darmanie.
After performing together and with their guest collaborators for several years, Warp Trio knows how to bring spontaneity and creative dialogue into their music-making. Promising an evening of discovery and reflection, Darmanie reassures, “We’ll end on a positive note that we have hope. We see change coming.”
Warp Trio is creating change through their music and teaching. During their brief Syracuse residency, they will engage with Setnor School of Music students in chamber music coaching, improvisation workshops, and a Q&A on industry-life after academia.
The Music and Message performance is free and open to the public. Complimentary parking is available in the Quad Lot and Irving Garage. For more information, visit chapel.syracuse.edu.
Story by Piper Starnes, graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications