Cassandra Wilson Collaborates with Kenwood Academy

In September of 2009, the Yoruba Arts Foundation produced a two-week music and song writing workshop for students at Kenwood Academy that culminated in a joint performance with jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson in concert at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago.  The concert was the opening act for The Hyde Park Jazz Festival, co-sponsored by the Hyde Park Alliance for Art and Culture and the Yoruba Arts Foundation.

Kenwood Academy Project

The workshops were designed to expose students to the process of creating an original work of music and translating it into a performance.   The students were also introduced to elements of West African Yoruba mythology as source material to create new music.  The students examined basic elements that go into constructing a piece of music such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form and lyrics. The students were guided through the creative process by Ms. Wilson and her team.  The exercises done in the workshops were designed as preparation and rehearsal for the opening concert.   In cooperation with Kenwood Academy, the students worked intensively five days a week over the two week period with professional musicians and writers.  The students prepared to perform two songs with Ms. Wilson.

The students performed flawlessly, accompanying Ms. Wilson with enthusiasm and confidence.  The performance was well-received and a big success.