I call Afro Yaqui Collective the Sun Ra Orchestra of Pittsburgh. In many cases, the themes AYC’s performances are wrapped around are progressive and heartfelt. This time the story line was the impact of climate change on human migration patterns. I attended the second night, and it spilt over with beautiful dance choreography, performers of all hues, and the warmth of the New Hazlett. As with MCG’s performance space, I can never figure out how the brick sidewalls sound so soft.
If you go to an Afro Yaqui concert, the Pittsburgh world can feel much bigger. So was it, too, at the August Wilson Center for the VIP opening night of Familiar Boundaries. Infinite Possibilities. The reception was awesome, the guided tours enhanced the already amazing art on hand, and then there was Somi to close the evening. Oh, my……
When Janis Burley Wilson welcomed the attendees at the Buika performance a week later, she beamed about the increasing international flavor of AWC’s offerings. Buika sang in Spanish all night and conversed bilingually with the audience. What I will say, in a very positive way, is that AWC’s mission is clearly also to feature more women-focused performances. As of this writing, Faith Hill came right on the heels of Somi and Buika.
Next up: PumpkinFest 7, with a House of Soul reprise and an Elias Khouri serious repackaging.