Sundays on the Lawn – Live Music Performances
Heems

Join us Sunday afternoons, 1:30 – 4pm for Sundays on the Lawn, a new outdoor program featuring internationally renowned bands and musicians, plus free art making classes and lawn games. Bring your friends and families for an afternoon on the museum’s lawn. Grab a picnic from the cafe and enjoy a stellar line-up of bands organized around the theme of call and response and calls to action by guest curator Ariana Hellerman. Art making classes and lawn games start at 1:30pm, music performances start at 3pm.

* NOTICE: This programs will take place inside the museum!

 

Musical Performace: Heems

Heems (Himanshu Suri) is an Indian-American artist from Queens, New York who cut his teeth with the rap groups Das Racist and Swet Shop Boys. He also has his solo career and Thums Up, a collaborative project with jazz musicians Vijay Iyer, Rafiq Bhatia, and Kassa Overall. Heems is a vocal advocate of the South Asian community in New York and social justice in general. In the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden, Suri collected and retweeted racist tweets, drawing attention to the prevalence of xenophobia and Islamophobia in the celebratory national mood. With Swet Shop Boys, “Terminal 5” became an unofficial anthem for protesters at airports around the country in response to Trump’s immigration executive order. When he’s not rapping, Suri can be found eating food with family.

 

More about:

CALLS:

CALL and response

CALL to action

Call and Response is a form of interaction in which the speaker’s statements (“calls”) are punctuated by direct commentary from the audience. In music, it is a technique where one musician offers a phrase and a second player responds. The musicians build on each other’s offerings and move the song forward, collectively. Forms of call and response music are widely present in parts of the world touched by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and in this country, can be seen in the most famous of African-American music genres including gospel, blues, soul, R&B, and hip hop. Often times, the lyrics reflect the social struggles experienced.

A Call To Action is an instruction to an audience, designed to provoke an immediate response. Calls to Action have inspired radical collaborations that call for change, whether for peace, the end of war, community formation, or political resistance.

Artist’s Calls to Action have inspired songs that become protest anthems, fighting issues of injustice, including institutional racism, income inequality, and war. In the United States, Sam Cooke penned the Civil Rights masterpiece “A Change Is Gonna Come;”  folk and mainstream artists like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, helped to create the soundtrack to the anti-war movement during Vietnam.

In many ways, both Call and Response music and musician’s Calls to Action relate to civic life and the struggle for social justice. Call and Response is often a pervasive pattern of democratic participation— used in public gatherings, in the discussion of civic affairs, and in religious rituals – it ensures that all voices are heard and that all issues are addressed. Politically, social Calls to Action are usually sparked when something has gone awry; it signals an alarm for change.

In this series, we have engaged artists from different parts of the world, whose music shines light onto one of the two Calls. “Call and Response” music and musical “Calls to Action” are quite similar in that they both tell interactive stories and are both dependent on a collective experience.  In these dire political times, we are in need of dialogue and each other.

 

– statement by Ariana Hellerman

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