Tamar-kali’s Demon Fruit Blues is a multilayered, immersive music-based experience that examines and deconstructs the origin of misogyny and the ‘curse of womanhood’ as outlined in Genesis 3:16:
“To the woman he said:
I will intensify your toil in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
The work speaks to how the perception of the female body in this context has reverberated throughout Western history as well as left an indelible sociopolitical mark on those who identify as women. Harlem Stage, the work’s producer, is committed to this project because it deconstructs the perception of women and female bodies through the Judeo-Christian lens. Tamar-kali weaves a complex narrative that juxtaposes the roles women play as demonized because of original sin and elevated as the mothers of humanity, e.g. the Virgin Mary.
Demon Fruit Blues represents the cultural and ideological concepts that drive Tamar-kali as an artist. The work is inspired by the subversive majesty of female African deities in the post-colonial diaspora, ‘goddess’ themed literature & art, feminist theory and the artist’s personal experience. Lyrically and compositionally, the work explores the concept of healing a culture that is influenced by unspoken narratives that psychically sever the ties between history and culture. The resulting compositions weave a sonic tapestry that connects the dots between modern day rock, gospel, the blues and original African rhythms as well as reframe the influence of classical music in a contemporary context.
Demon Fruit Blues will engage local communities through humanities activities, educational performances and think tanks to examine the work’s themes while in-residence at The Harlem Stage Gatehouse, and explore intersectional realities and intersectional identities through music, dance and visual imagery.
This work will utilize lighting design, video projections, movement, lyrics and sound. Collaboration with a team of artists including Director Liesl Tommy (in negotiation), a dramaturg (in conversation with potential partners), a choreographer, and visual artists (in conversation with potential partners) will support the creation of a fully-embodied, multidisciplinary performance piece.
Harlem Stage is the preeminent home for artists of color to create, develop and present new work. Harlem Stage has supported the early-mid development of the project by presenting a work-in-progress showing of the work in February 2017 and hosting the WaterWorks Dinner in November 2017. Tamar-kali is the recipient of and is currently participating in the Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program where she is continuing to experiment and further develop Demon Fruit Blues.