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WATER SPEAKS At POOL Exhibition

SPLASH CONCESSIONS DESIGN

SATURDAY, JULY 16TH & 30TH, 3-5 PM
WATER SPEAKS by Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger & Doug Hirlinger

Fairmount Water Works
640 Waterworks Dr., Philadelphia, PA 19130
(In Fairmount Park Near Phila Museum Of Art)

Free And Open To The Public

 

POOL: A Social History of Segregation is a museum exhibition at the Fairmount Water Works featuring a curated collection of powerful art installations and informative experiences, including rarely seen archival film footage and photographs that explore the history and contemporary implications of segregated swimming in America. POOL investigates the role of public pools in the United States with the goal of deepening understanding of the connection between water, social justice and public health.

 

The exhibition will also present SPLASH / CONCESSIONS: a series of special events curated by Philadelphia Jazz Project director, Homer Jackson and Chef Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe. SPLASH is a series of newly composed, musical performances created specifically for this exhibition, which will be presented in the lanes of the former Kelly Pool and outside the Fairmount Water Works (weather permitting). In between thirty-minute musical sets, our CONCESSIONS stand, organized by Chef Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe will be open, with food prepared by young, local entrepreneurs of color, including Chef Chris Paul of Lakay PHL, Chefs Omar Tate & Cybille St Aude-Tate of Honeysuckle Provisions and Chef Melissa Fernando of Sri's Company. Also Books & Stuff, the online multicultural, Afrocentric, books and gifts source run by designer and entrepreneur Lynn Washington, will round things out with related book selections for sale.

 

The very first musical team to present are vocalist Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger and her husband, percussionist Doug Hirlinger. They will present a powerful musical performance, entitled WATER SPEAKS - From the origins of West Africa through the Middle Passage, to the pools, rivers, lakes and oceans of the United States, the water has borne witness to our lived experiences. Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger and Doug Hirlinger musically explore the perspectives of the water and those who have experienced joy, life, death, sorrow, resilience and love in relation to water.

 

JULY 16TH & 30TH, 3-5 PM
Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger & Doug Hirlinger Group

 

Keisha & Doug Hirlinger


We spoke with Keisha and Doug Hirlinger about their work and this new performance created for the POOL exhibition.


PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?

 
Keisha: I am a singer-songwriter with a background in classical vocal training. My influences are varied. Right now, the content of my music has been focused on issues of social justice and equity. In terms of sound, my music is heavily influenced by American folk music, African-American spirituals, and Black music traditions.

 

Doug: I’m a multidisciplinary artist focused on drum set and vibraphone performance, electronic music, sound design, composition, and creative coding, individually and in multiple combinations.

 

PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?

 

Doug: So many... Too many to have time to order and list. Monk, Morton Feldman, Elvin Jones... lately many guitarists...

 
Keisha: My biggest influences are Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Phoebe Snow, Aretha Franklin, Kathleen Battle, Mahalia Jackson, and others. I have also been inspired by traditional Celtic music, music from the African diaspora and India. Some of these influences are reflected in my vocal style while others influence the kind of music that I write.


PJP: Tell us about your upcoming performances connected to the POOL: A Social History of Segregation exhibition. Why is it important?

 

POOL Magazine CoverKeisha: I think anything that brings awareness and attention to issues of social justice is always important and especially now. And while we know too well that we are still living with oppressive systems and have a lot of work to do, it is important that we see from where we have come and what has led us to this moment. These stories, however difficult to see, can also inspire and motivate us to continue in the fight of creating a more just and equitable society and nation. We see what those before us were capable of doing and we can use that inspiration to continue the legacy of the activists and freedom fighters before us.

 

Our performance is a journey narrated from the perspective of the water. We begin by looking at what came before the oppression and hardships that Black people have endured on this soil. We remind our listeners that we came from thriving communities, we came from joy and music.  We move through some of the harder parts of our history, through loss of identity, loss of life, and struggle, to the joy that is our right and resistance to those systems that would like to see us remain in bondage. We write, “We are more than our saddest stories. We are stronger than those that would keep us bound. Joy is life. Joy is the life of the people.”

 

PJP: Who performs on this project with you?

 
Keisha: My husband and co-writer, Doug Hirlinger on vibes and Madison Rast on Bass.

 

PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, why this music?

 
Keisha: My influences are varied. The music we wrote falls under the umbrella of jazz, but you can hear other influences as well, including western classical music, folk music, and spirituals. I would counter, why not jazz? Why not any kind of music?


Doug: Jazz is not a style or a genre. It's a cultural tradition that shares the main root with most American music. That root is the music of Africans forced to live and work in the Americas and their descendants. The Jazz tradition has many of its own branches. When exploring an instrument with any real intensity it's likely, I think, that one will quickly encounter some or all of these branches. I was fortunate enough to experience this fairly early in my life.

 

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:


Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger is a classically trained singer-songwriter and educator. She is a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change grant for women who use their art to create social change and a facilitator and curator for ARTZ Philadelphia, an organization which provides arts experiences for those living with dementia and their care partners. Keisha uses her platform as both a performer and educator to bring attention to social justice issues through both her own performances and educational concerts collaborating with artist-activists from the Philadelphia region.

 

 


Doug Hirlinger is a multidisciplinary artist focused on drum set and vibraphone performance, composition, electronic music, sound design, and creative coding, individually and in multiple combinations. Doug has performed with Matt Mitchell, Ralph Bowen, Gene Perla, Joel Frahm, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Doug is interested in intersections between digital technology, activism, improvisation, and sound/music. In 2018 Doug completed an artist residency at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts resulting in a 10-piece suite exploring gentrification, inequality, and musical legacy in Philadelphia with collaborators Ursula Rucker, M’Balia Singley, Tim Motzer, and John Swana.

 

 

To keep up with the creative activities of The Hirlingers visit: KEISHA'S WEBSITE and DOUG'S WEBSITE.

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 16TH & 30TH, 3-5 PM
WATER SPEAKS by Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger & Doug Hirlinger

Fairmount Water Works
640 Waterworks Dr., Philadelphia, PA 19130
(In Fairmount Park Near Phila Museum Of Art)

Free And Open To The Public

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT POOL

CLICK HERE FROM FOR MORE ABOUT FAIRMOUNT WATERWORKS

DOWNLOAD FREE POOL EXHIBITION MAGAZINE HERE

 

POOL: A Social History of Segregation is a project by Victoria Prizzia of Habithèque Inc. POOL was made possible by generous support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the Philadelphia Water Department. We would also like to thank leadership of the FUND for the Fairmount Water Works and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation for their ongoing support for this project. Much of the historic content of POOL was provided by and/or written in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Wiltse, who generously made his extensive research available to the makers of POOL.

 

Special thanks to exhibition, creative director and lead designer, Victoria Prizzia of Habithèque Inc, to Karen Young and the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, as well as to Chef Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe. Major support for POOL has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Philadelphia Water Department.

 

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the CultureWorks | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.

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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.