Every Friday, we highlight three great shows from local performing artists that you can see this coming weekend.

The Triangle Soundpainting Sextet
Friday, March 14th at 7:30PM at Looking Glass Cafe


Ever since a few monks in the Middle Ages turned their voices into black marks on a page, we’ve been writing music down. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s improvisation, where a few gifted musicians take a melody and twist it around without knowing where it’ll go next. But even that starts with a melody.

The Triangle Soundpainting Sextet (which performs tonight as part of the monthly Art Walk) goes a step farther. They start with nothing. Conductor Wendy Spitzer guides them with only a few hand gestures, leaving them free to take the sound in any direction those gestures lead them. Then again, six musicians can’t go off in totally different directions – this isn’t the Triangle Noisepainting Sextet. So audiences will hear six musicians improvise as one, building off of each other’s instincts and impulses to create a single piece. And they’re upping the ante by integrating spiky Carrboro poet Ricky Garni into the mix. It’s an artistic juggling act, and one that will be thrilling to see AND hear.

Diali Cissokho And Kaira Ba
Friday, March 14th at 8PM at Cat’s Cradle


It’s a long way from Senegal to Carolina. But that’s the amazing journey that Diali Cissokho took to bring his music to us.

Cissokho comes from a long line of griots, the storytellers/musicians/historians of West Africa. Their instrument of choice is the kora, a kind of resonant harp whose percussive rhythms accompany the griots’ story-singing. He makes for a concert all by himself, but he won’t be alone onstage: he’s accompanied by Kaira Ba, an ensemble of young North Carolinians who play a mix of western and African instruments. Their high-energy melange bursts from the Cats Cradle stage tonight, where they’ll celebrate the release of their new album The Great Peace

Along with compulsively danceable openers Orquesta Gardel, Cissokho and Kaira Ba bring the music of lands an ocean away to our hometown.

Let Them Be Heard
Friday, March 14th and Saturday, March 15th at 8PM and Sunday, March 16th at 3PM


The thing about American history: it’s not that far distant from us, and it likes to hang around. So if our history seems like something that lives only in books, Bare Theatre’s Let Them Be Heard banishes that notion.

Back in the mid-1930s, the Federal Writers Project sent a few representatives to conduct interviews with elderly men and women who had grown up as slaves. It’s amazing to think that one of the most painful parts of American life lived that long, but we’re lucky that those stories survived. The writers emerged with extraordinary slavery narratives, setting down voices that would otherwise have been anonymous and forgotten.

Earlier this year (in partnership with Durham’s Stagville Plantation site), Bare gathered some of the North Carolina stories from this collection and transformed them into an acclaimed stage show. Now the play is back, with local actors bringing these tales of unthinkable disaster and miraculous survival to life. It’s a kind of resurrection: flesh becoming words becoming flesh again. Go this weekend, and you’ll feel history alive around you.

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