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L.A. Philharmonic Celebrates Black Women Artists with ‘Rock My Soul’ Concerts Oct. 30-Nov 22

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Rock My Soul

*The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Rock My Soul” Festival, curated by Julia Bullock, will celebrate Black women artists in collaboration and community via a series of concerts featuring Chaka Khan, MeShell NdegeOcello, Rhiannon Giddens, J’Nai Bridges and many more across musical genre lines.

The concerts will be presented between Sunday, October 30 and Tuesday, November 22 at the L.A. Phil’s Downtown Los Angeles venues Walt Disney Concert Hall and REDCAT as well as the intimate outdoor John Anson Ford Theater in Hollywood.

Inspired by the friendship between composers Florence Price and Margaret Bonds, whose mutual support helped them break down barriers to have their music heard in the classical music world of the early 20th century, Rock My Soul shines a light on the power of creative community.

The phrase “Rock My Soul” has a long lineage and legacy: It is the leading lyric of a traditional Black American spiritual about expanding one’s being in every dimension and direction imaginable. The song title was later utilized by philosopher and educator bell hooks, who communicated the importance of understanding the pursuit of love, a sense of community, and commitment to continuous exploration. So for me, the sentiment of “Rock My Soul” isn’t an ethereal, intangible endeavor-it’s a call to express yourself, engage with everything within and around you-and find enjoyment while doing it.

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Rock My Soul DivasThe festival Rock My Soul with the LA Phil offers a diverse range of music with messages about historical recognition, liberation and fierce self¬ empowerment; and highlights artists who speak to our need for accountability as a human collective.

When the LA Phil asked me to curate this festival, I was excited, because the artists that precede and surround me who identify as B/black, American, and women have deeply impacted my musical life. However, like many artists, I don’t want to be positioned, even if what I choose to share is geared in a certain social or political direction. That said, there’s no denying how strong bonds in personal relationships, claiming one’s identity, and reflecting and considering past and present circumstances that impact what art is made and offered.

Curated by Mercedes Cooper, Senior VP of Programming for Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY, Rock My Soul Humanities programs include a performance by and conversation with Grammy Award-winning musician and Queen Sugar composer Meshell Ndegeocello, the participatory event Movie Soundtrack Yoga led by R&B Yoga founder Lauren Spearman, and a live performance by J’Nai Bridges followed by the film Carmen Jones.

 “We are proud to amplify the vast and very special artistry of Black women in collaboration with the LA Phil,” said Cooper. “This series seeks to rediscover and reflect on the abundant contributions made by Black women, past and present, across musical genres in relation to storytelling. Our hope is that this exploration through music, movement and motion pictures conjures new imaginations for our future voices.”

For additional information about Rock My Soul, please visit: laphil.com/rockmysoul.

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