Inspira: The Power of the Spiritual (2015-2016)

Inspira is a performance project that incorporates audiences' feelings and thoughts in an improvisational presentation of West African, jazz-inflected spirituals. From the opening notes of "Hush, Somebody's Calling My Name" to a classical violin mashup of text and voice featuring Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and Dr. King's speech; from Tiananmen Square Protesters' "We Shall Overcome" in 1989 to the piece's climax "Ferguson Diaries," Inspira creates breathing space for people to share grief, anger, and love.

Created by a multiracial and multigenerational ensemble, INSPIRA includes Francis Wong from San Francisco Chinatown on tenor sax, classical violinist Michael Jamanis, Philadelphia vocalist and community organizer Matthew Armstead, and playwright Amanda Kemp.

Photos by Jennifer Felty.

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