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Imani Uzuri, Performer-Scholar, Honors Martin Luther King Jr. at Juniata

(Posted January 9, 2012)

Imani Uzuri will perform at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in Rosenberger Auditorium and will facilitate a workshop Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Sill Boardroom.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Multifaceted performing artist Imani Uzuri will lecture and perform as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan. 16 and 17. She will showcase and discuss her upcoming album at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 16, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for Performing Arts, and will facilitate an inclusion-focused workshop, "Hush Arbor: Living Legacies of Negro Spirituals," at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science.

Admission to both performances is free. The events are open to the public.

In her Monday concert, Uzuri will discuss and perform pieces from her upcoming album, "The Gypsy Diaries." Featuring vocals, violin, cello, acoustic guitar, sitar and daf, Uzuri's music is both spiritual and meditative.

Uzuri's work goes beyond music and concerts. She also has made a mark in experimental theatre, performance art and museum sound installations. Uzuri's debut album, "Her Holy Water: A Black Girl's Rock Opera" has been heralded as "one of the best of the decade" by BoldAsLove.us.

She has performed in venues as varied as the Apollo Theater, Joe's Pub, the Whitney Museum and the United Nations. "(She) never fails to mesmerize audiences with her narcotic blend of ... ethereal sounds," wrote one reviewer in Time Out New York.

As a part of the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, Juniata also is sponsoring a Tuesday workshop at 7:30 p.m. which aims to elevate attendees beyond "simply tolerating one another and toward challenging what we think we know about one another."

The "Hush Arbor" workshop will incorporate lecture, history and interactive performance to discuss the celebrated folk music, African-American Spirituals. Uzuri teaches that Hush Arbors were wooded areas where slaves would gather to mourn, worship or sing. The workshop focuses on the conditions in which the songs were created and how African-Americans used the songs as pathways to catharsis, revolt and freedom.

"We will uncover and excavate how these songs are still relevant today," Uzuri states in her publicity materials.

Through both performance and lecture, Uzuri will expose the themes within the Negro Spirituals are metaphors for transformation and represent the human experience as a whole.

Written by Ellen Santa Maria

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.