OSWEGO — The Martha Redbone Roots Project featuring the Native American and African-American vocalist, songwriter, composer and educator will provide a virtual concert followed by a live Q&A at 7 p.m. March 2 in SUNY Oswego’s Artswego Performing Arts Series.
Redbone is known for her unique gumbo of folk, blues and gospel from her childhood in Harlan County, Kentucky, infused with the eclectic grit of pre-gentrified Brooklyn. Inheriting the powerful vocal range of her gospel-singing African-American father and the resilient spirit of her mother’s Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw culture, Redbone broadens the boundaries of American roots music.
With songs and storytelling that share her life experience as a Native and Black woman and mother in the new millennium, Redbone gives voice to issues of social justice, bridging traditions from past to present, connecting cultures and celebrating the human spirit. Her latest album “The Garden of Love- Songs of William Blake” is “a brilliant collision of cultures,” according to the New Yorker.
Redbone’s recent work has been predominantly in theater. Redbone is the composer of original music and score for the 2019 revival “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” a choreopoem by the late Ntozake Shange, where Redbone honors the author’s 1976 classic by intertwining her original compositions celebrating the music of the African-American diaspora with the choreography of Tony Award-nominee Camille A. Brown at The Public Theater in New York City.
Redbone is currently in development with her own new work “Black Mountain Women” at The Public Theater. It is a timely musical about the ongoing environmental destruction of her ancestral homeland in Appalachia told through the lives of four generations of women in her matriarchal Cherokee family.
The performance ties into the SUNY Oswego Institute for Global Engagement’s Year of First Nations.
A live question-and-answer session will follow the virtual performance.
Tickets, available via tickets.oswego.edu, are free for SUNY Oswego students; discounted for SUNY Oswego faculty, staff and alumni; and available to the general public (per household stream). A streaming link will be sent via email within three days of the performance.
For more information on performing arts events at SUNY Oswego, visit oswego.edu/artswego.