A multimedia concert event at the Lied Center of Kansas on Wednesday will take audience members on a live musical journey through the music of the civil rights era.
“Liner Notes,” created by critically acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Paige Hernandez, is educational, multigenerational and interactive. Combining live music, poetry and video projections, it features music inspired by the civil rights movement, performed by the Corner Store Jazz Quintet alongside vocalist Akua Allrich and lyricists Hernandez and Baye Harrell.
“It really explores the intersectionality of Black music,” Hernandez said, describing “Liner Notes.” “Everyone on our creative team is a brilliant artist as well as a music lover. We love to be able to share the intentionality of different songs’ histories. Or, to put it more simply, ‘Liner Notes’ champions hip-hop’s sampling as a form of cultural preservation. The show is a live and energetic way to see how the old informs the new and creates new generations of fans.”
As the title suggests, liner notes from artists’ original albums are also a part of the experience. In the age of streaming and digital downloads, the performance brings attention to the explanatory text included on an album, so that audience members can learn more about the backstories of the music.
In its 12th year, “Liner Notes” is a programmatic series with several versions that examine the intersections of hip-hop and its many musical influences and genres. Through jazz standards, hip-hop samples and actual liner notes from artists, it bridges together music’s past and present as well as generations of music lovers.
“In this installment of the show, we look at how the music of the civil rights movement helped for a nation to heal, while also expressing themselves artistically,” Hernandez said. “We explore the talent of many artists, including Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Miriam Makeba and Talib Kweli. All of these artists used their musical platforms to help others overcome moments of adversity.”
The original “Music of the Movement” installment was commissioned by the Smithsonian in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death.
Revisiting an adverse time in history with authenticity, thoughtfulness and integrity, the cast cultivates a safe space where audience members can encounter the music on a deeper level and see it performed with exhilarating joy.
“I hope audience members will leave feeling hopeful and energized,” Hernandez said. “Our ensemble’s talent and energy is unmatched. It’s an interactive show that can be shared across families and generations. Come out and be in community with us. I promise, it’s a one-of-a-kind, feel-good time.”
The “Liner Notes” performance is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30 in the Lied Center Auditorium, 1600 Stewart Drive in Lawrence. Tickets can be purchased at lied.ku.edu, the Lied Center ticket office or by calling 785-864-2787 (prices: $20-$30 adult, $11-$16 student). See the event webpage at this link.
Paige Hernandez is one of four visiting artists in the Lied Center’s 2022-23 season taking part in the Utilizing the Performing Arts to Enhance DEIB curriculum at the University of Kansas. In this program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lied Center works with a curriculum team and visiting performing artists to create curriculum related to the artists’ work, exploring issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Critically acclaimed as a performer, director, choreographer and playwright, Hernandez has performed on many stages throughout the country. Additionally, she has collaborated with Lincoln Center and has been commissioned by the National New Play Network, the Smithsonian, The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse and the Glimmerglass Festival.
Hernandez was named a “Classroom Hero” by The Huffington Post, a Citizen Artist Fellow with the Kennedy Center, “40 under 40” by The Washington Post and one of “Six Theatre Workers You Should Know” by American Theatre Magazine. She is currently the associate artistic director of Everyman Theatre in her hometown of Baltimore, and she continues to develop and tour original work internationally with her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT.