FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2015
High-resolution images available upon request.
Image Credit: Carolyn Stanish
LOCALLY FORMED SUPERGROUP THE LIBERIAN WOMEN’S CHORUS FOR CHANGE TAKES THE STAGE AT WORLD CAFE LIVE, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21
Philadelphia, PA — The superstar singers and social justice activists of the Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change put their rhythmic power and luminous five-part harmonies on display in the ensemble’s largest-ever local performance, For the Sake of Our Sisters, at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Vocalists Fatu Gayflor, Marie Nyenabo, Yomo Payne, Zaye Tete and Tokay Tomah are all wildly popular in their home country of Liberia and are now based in Philadelphia. The Chorus reinterprets and reconceptualizes traditional songs reflecting individual members’ discrete ethnic and linguistic traditions, adding new breadth to Philly’s local musical landscape.
Fatu Gayflor, artistic director of the Chorus for Change, has been dubbed the “Golden Voice of Liberia.” A renowned singer and recording star in her homeland, she has also won acclaim here, receiving a prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Like her fellow Chorus-mates, she has harnessed her music for activist causes.
For the Sake of Our Sisters is part of a larger initiative of the Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) and is funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.
“These singers are women who suffered trauma and loss during the years of civil war in Liberia, and, yet, found the strength to use their fame and great artistry to ask, by means of performance, that child soldiers put down their weapons, and that enemy ethnic groups listen to one another,” explains Toni Shapiro-Phim, PFP’s Director of Programs. “Here in Philadelphia, Chorus members continue to approach their community work holistically, connecting to their neighbors through traditional songs and stories that evoke a sense of continuity within the disruption of war and exile, as well as a sense of responsibility and possibility.”
The Chorus has rallied around the issue of domestic violence in the Liberian immigrant community, inspiring dialogue and action through performance of traditional songs. PFP has been working with the group to develop and extend their message through outreach and interviews. The Chorus has already performed for hundreds of people in community settings, mainly in Liberian neighborhoods. “We want our families and community members to have access to information and resources that will allow them the chance to flourish, with dignity, in their adopted home,” says the Chorus’ Fatu Gayflor. This performance moves beyond that message as they bring their amazing artistry to a wider audience.
The all-ages show includes a performance by Nana Korantema Ayeboafo and the African Ensemble and tickets are on sale now for $12.
About THE LIBERIAN WOMEN’S CHORUS FOR CHANGE
The Liberian Women's Chorus for Change brings the power of Liberian traditional song to the forefront of efforts to make communities safe and strong. Composed of renowned singers, dancers and musicians from Liberia—Fatu Gayflor, Marie Nyenabo, Yomo Payne, Zaye Tete, and Tokay Tomah—the Chorus inspires awareness and dialogue about domestic violence and other concerns of Philadelphia-area Liberian immigrants. The Chorus was formed in response to these artists’ own community research which found that local Liberian immigrant women have a hard time accessing resources and getting the support they need. Together, these award-winning performers create dynamic music intended to encourage women to make their voices heard, and to take positive steps forward. See video here.
About THE PHILADELPHIA FOLKLORE PROJECT
The Philadelphia Folklore Project is a non-profit arts and social justice organization working to sustain vital and diverse living cultural heritage in communities in our region. They do this through collaborative projects involving exhibitions and performances, research, documentation and education, always prioritizing folk and traditional arts in service of social change.
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