With her Black Earth Ensemble, Mitchell uses science fiction to address the question: “What would a world look like that is truly egalitarian, with advanced technology that is in tune with nature?”
Tickets are required and are available at amherst.universitytickets.com or the Concert Office at (413) 542-2195.
Single ticket prices:
General Public: $18
Senior Citizens (65+) and Amherst College Employees: $12
Students, with valid ID: $10
AC student rush one hour before each concert: FREE
Recorded in May 2015 at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Mandorla features Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble with new collaborators Tatsu Aoki (bass, shamisen, taiko) and Kojiro Umezaki (shakuhachi). Also in the mix is Chicago artist, scholar and poet Avery R. Young, who brings the composers’ lyrics to life with visceral humanity; and longtime collaborators Tomeka Reid (cello, banjo), Alex Wing (electric guitar, out, theremin), Mazz Swift (violin) and Jovia Armstrong (percussion).
Mandorla Awakening II explores what Mitchell describes as a “collision of duality,” urban vs. country, hegemonic vs. vulnerable, acoustic vs. electric, with the dialogue of contrasting musical languages: Japanese, African-American gospel, R&B, jazz. The work chronicles the journey of a couple as they find themselves navigating between two civilizations: the World Union, a crumbling society rampant with disease and inequality, and Mandorla, a utopia where spirituality, technology and nature coexist harmoniously. Mandorla Awakening was included among the top 10 jazz albums for 2017 by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR and Wire (UK).
Nicole M. Mitchell is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. She is perhaps best known for her work as a flutist, having developed a unique improvisational language and having repeatedly been named “Top Flutist of the Year” by DownBeat magazine's critics poll and the Jazz Journalists Association (2010–17). Mitchell initially emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late ’90s, and her music celebrates contemporary African-American culture.
“One of the most exciting jazz soloists and composers in the world” –Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader