Living Arts is pleased to present Teatro Chico: [Other] Americans on Saturday, March 25. [Other] Americans features stories on the American experience from a variety of cultural backgrounds. An evening of spoken word and poetry, this Teatro Chico performance seeks to answer the question "what defines us as Americans?" The performance features Detroit artists Sakila Islam, Zain Ali Shamoon, and Brendan Asante. The event will also include a clay art activity led by Ladybug Studios.
A suggested donation of $10.00 per adult to support Living Arts' community programming is appreciated. Youth are free.
This event is recommended for ages 13 and up. There will be a Q&A with the artists after the performances.
Living Arts' Teatro Chico series is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund, Ideal Group and the Jubilation Foundation.
About The Artists:
Brendan Asante is a Ghanaian vocalist/musician born and raised in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Graduating from the University of Michigan in 2014 for Jazz Studies as a vocalist, Asante started his practice as a solo artist thought the art of glossolalia - a term used to describe the phenomenon of speaking in tongues. Using his Ghanaian heritage as an influence, Brendan sung in phrases and syllables that appeared to have words hidden inside of them - leaving the listener to place their words on his phrases in an effort to connect with what they "think" he's saying. Creating an avenue to establish a deeper relationship with the listener as a result, this is evident in his release called 'The Ladyfriends Collection' - a series containing 11 textured vignettes that pair female names with descriptive phrases. From "ephemeral emily" to "I Know, Imani", Brendan can be heard mumbling or belting in his own language, using melody as the driver of everything else. This artistry gradually developed into fuller collaborations with artists such as Atu, Dpat, River Tiber, Kaytranada, Waajeed, and more. Asante released "Rejection", a batch of b-sides from his hard drive, in 2016. In 2017, he released his first formal single ever, called "I Can Tell", as the first song from his latest project ACT I: Reflections – EP. Songs from the EP will be released in tandem with a developing visual storyboard on his Instagram and a more expansive experience located on his website -mindofasante.com.
Sakila Islam is a spoken word poet who has been performing since she was 12 years old. A Bangladeshi immigrant and graduate of Detroit Public Schools, Sakila strives to tell the stories of both halves of her identity and combine the east and west through her work; she focuses on giving a voice to those who don't have a platform to speak. Currently, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, Sakila recently performed at the White House as part of the Generational Experiences of Asian Americans event, and has attended the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam for the past two years as a youth poet representative of Team Detroit through InsideOut Literary Arts.
Zain Ali Shamoon is a proud Muslim American and spoken word crime fighter. In more professional terms, he is a doctoral candidate in Human Development and Family Studies from Michigan State University (MSU). He earned his masters in Couples and Family Therapy from MSU in 2011, and is in the midst of analyzing his dissertation regarding domestic violence survivorship stories in the Midwest US South Asian community. Zain has long engaged at the nucleus of storytelling – a storyteller in his own right as a long time spoken-word and hip hop artist, as well as a director of student theatre showcases at MSU. He is the co-founder and host of Narratives of Pain, a non-profit focused on creating showcases for reclamation and healing, where there is a line-up of stories for survivors and disenfranchised members of society, as well as those reeling from trauma.
Photo credit: Inner City Muslim Action Network