Tag Archives: FAA110

Somi : the best jazz performance I’ve ever watched

On the evening of Valentine’s Day on February 14, Somi’s performance was held at Colwell Playhouse in Krannert center.

By Aejin Shin

concert tickets

Somi, the daughter of immigrants from Rwanda and Uganda, was born in Illinois, where the show was performed. She is a very famous vocalist and composer. Her songs have very special theme – the stories of African immigrants in New York’s Harlem.

She told a story before performing. This was a very effective way to get the audience engaged. Also, these introductions and backgrounds also took place in between songs. When perfoming, it felt like she was directly communicating with me. She also naturally included the audience in her performance.

setting of the stage before the performance begins

Somi’s performance consisted of Somi and her band. They showed great chemistry. The band made her song more exciting. Different types of musical instruments were used, and the techniques of the performers were different song by song.

Somi introduced musicians from her team during the performance. The thing I was impressed with was that Somi showed a very deep respect to her band. In fact, this kind of performance is usually performed mainly by vocalists. But Somi shared the spotlight with her band members resulting in most musicians getting a chance to play solo. They looked like true friends, not just partners.

Standing ovation after the performance

She sang various kinds of songs. The day of the concert was Valentine’s Day, and there were songs about oppressions, Harlem, and so on, including a love song centered around Valentine’s Day. She sometimes screamed and sometimes sang in a sweet voice. She led the performance skillfully. I admired her professionalism. Due to my native language not being English, sometimes I couldn’t fully understand her message. However, her music clearly contained a message easy to follow. Even if I couldn’t fully understand the lyrics, her performance helped fill the gaps.

If you’re more curious about Somi and her performance, you can visit Somi’s site for more information.

Local Talent: Somi Emitting Power and Love

By Veronica Y. Gonzalez
Statue outside the Colwell Playhouse
Stage before performance began
Event Program

For Valentine’s Day, I had the pleasure of attending Somi’s performance at The Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Prior to this event, all I knew was that Somi was a jazz artist from Champaign-Urbana. I had never attended a Jazz performance so I had no idea what to expect. Her performance was breathtaking. She set a really high standard for the future Jazz performances I will see. Her voice and storytelling were beautiful and the musicians accompanying her were extremely talented. It was also exciting to hear her sing in French because I don’t get to practice my French very often.

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Step Africa! Rhythmical History of Resistance

By Aejin Shin.

I watched an African-American drumfolk performance ‘Step Africa!’ on February 7, 2020 at the Colwell Playhouse. Actually, I knew little about American history before watching this performance. I was born and educated in Korea and just a month has passed since I came to America. So, I just expected that this drumfolk performance would be a fun and interesting one.

People waiting for the beginning of the performance

However, the performance was quite different from what I had expected. Yes, the rhythm at the beginning was exciting and several performers danced like one body. Colorful choreography caught my eyes. They danced and sang to the beat, which made me feel like dancing and singing together in between. But the deep sense of struggle hidden in their jubilant rhythm was something I had not expected. I came back home and studied more about American history. Here’s what I’ve found.

Before starting the show

History behind ‘Step Africa!’

On September 1739, the largest slave revolt in U.S. history took place near the Stono River. The slaves left no clues as to why or how they revolted. The message of the rebellion is told only by  white men who subdued the slaves. However, you can also find interesting features on that record. The drumbeat played a very central role in the revolt. Plantation farm owners were afraid of the drumbeat even after the riot was quelled. So, they made a bill that would ban slaves from using drums in 1740. But the slaves did not give in to them. They made rhythms by using their bodies and continued the African spirit in their own way. My country, Korea, also has a tragic history of being forcibly occupied by Japan. Many were brutally sacrificed, but my forefathers sublimated their suffering to satire and humor in order not to lose the soul of the nation. Because we share a similar history, I could sympathize with the stories in the performance.

Explanations about the founders of the Colwell Playhouse

Impressive Points of the Performance

The performance recounted the events of 1739. The performers used their hands and feet to create rhythms and sang in loud voices. The most impressive thing was that they communicated with the audience and made it a part of the performance. They skillfully elicited a favorable response, and the audience was willing to be part of the performance. I’m not sure if they intended this point, but this seemed to overlap with the images of black slaves who joined the rebels through the drumming in 1739. Also, the most important significance of the performance is that it revealed the history of the U.S that has been overshadowed. We have not learned about many people who fought bravely against injustice. The performance reminds us of many people who fought for a free America in a smart way – through fun, exciting rhythms. I strongly recommend going to this concert!

Resistance, Freedom, and Community

By Veronica Y. Gonzalez
Stage before show starts
Event Program
Ticket and crowded theater

I attended Step Afrika! on February 7, 2020 at The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The performance definitely built a strong sense of community. There were many parts where they danced in unison perfectly. They were all doing the exact same movement at the same exact time. It was unbelievable. I believe moving in ripples is a stronger sense of unity than moving in unison. Knowing when the person before you is going and then moving at the right time is such a hard thing to do. Especially when there are like 7 people ahead of you and you have to know exactly when each of them moves. It was like their minds were connected and they were communicating with each other the whole time.

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The Power of Movement: The Body as an Instrument Against Oppression

The production of Drumfolk was performed by the professional organization Step Afrika! at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in the Colwell Playhouse on February 7th, 2020. Drumfolk is a stepping performance that highlights the battles of Africans throughout American history. 

By Elena Grantcharski

Ticket Stub for the Friday performance of Drumfolk

In my opinion, the entire point of Drumfolk was the concept of using your body as an instrument. One of the most powerful parts of the performance for me was when they narrated that, “They took our drums, but they could not stop the beat.” It showed the power of making something out of nothing. They no longer had their drums, so they had to use their bodies. Most of the performance was stepping and beatboxing and it shows how they would not let themselves be oppressed. In a literal sense, they were slaves; but in their mind they would never consider themselves as such. The power of the mind, the strength of their will, and the expression in their movements was very apparent in this performance. Dancing amazes me because of how accurately dancers can express their feelings just by moving their bodies. 

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Music and Art

Farewell to FAA 110 and all the amazing experiences

Jessica Moreno

FAA 110 has been an amazing class. Before I started the class I was very closed to trying new things and I just wanted to stay in my comfort zone, but ever since this class started I realized that I should try new things to see what I like. This has truly been one of my favorite classes, and I really like how the class was set up. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I signed up but it sure wasn’t what I got. My advisor had told me it was just an easy course to get credits, and I had signed up just for that reason but my outcome was amazing from this class. I met new people, I experienced thing that on my own I know I would have never done and I went to places that when I first got here I thought I would go once or twice, but I ended up going 10+. This was an amazing class and I am glad I got to take it and experience what I did.

These are the events I attended:

-Buddy Guy

-Chris Botti

-Jennifer Monson

-Baile Latino

-Homecoming Concert

-Wynton Marsalis

Tiger

-The Nature of Forgetting

The eccentric student finally makes it to the end.

By: Basith A. Syed

I started the semester not knowing what classes I would take so I just looked for classes that filled some gen-ed requirements. I found FAA110 which I thought was unique and the professor reviews on “rate my professors” were amazing. I decided to sign up for the class and in all honesty, I have never had any professors that were so generous, passionate and supportive.

In terms of the class, it was pretty straightforward and the syllabus was on point. I went into the class thinking it would be like theater class that I took in high school because for that class we had to go to the theater shows almost every week and we would just talk about the history of theatre. However, It was nothing like my high school class it was more about our experiences, what we enjoyed, share our thoughts about live performances and discuss arts that we never think about. Such as the architecture of your house, and think about things that you never cared about such as nanny cams.

All in all, I learned a lot from this class and helped me find a passion I never would have discovered otherwise. I am really grateful that I had the opportunity to take a class with professors that are so humble and down to earth. I will continue going to Krannert shows because it gives you the opportunity to forget everything going on around you and just enjoy a couple hours in heaven.

Some of the events in Krannert that I had the pleasure of attending.

UI Symphony Orchestra

Ticket to UI Symphony Orchestra.

UI Jazz Band

Live jazz performance at Krannert

Carol Concert

Book all carols performed by the choir during the 2019 carol concert.

Opera Scenes

My favorite scene performed in the opera show.

Saying Farewell to Fine Arts in Motion

Written by Danielle Herrera

A semester filled with music, dance, performances, and laughter has finally come to an end.

Back in high school I was always interested in the arts and humanities, and I wanted to make sure that I continued to cultivate these passions of mine in college. Unfortunately, during registration day I found that the majority of courses that were interesting to me were already full. So, on a whim I decided to register for FAA 110, a course that not only completed one of my general education requirements but also was held just downstairs in my residential hall. Given only the description “Exploring Arts & Creativity”, I was unsure if I would enjoy this class mainly because I had no idea what it entailed. I had the premonition that FAA 110 would be another art history that was tolerable, but not particularly exciting; fortunately, I was incredibly mistaken.

When I found out that the main curriculum of FAA 110 required us to watch performances and write about them, I was pleasantly surprised. As a student who was involved in music and theater, I have always enjoyed watching live performances and was extremely eager to see these events on a larger scale. My excitement was not unwarranted; in general, almost every event I went to for FAA 110 was memorable in some shape or form. Certain snapshots of plays or songs by musicians will always be remembered in my mind, along with the emotion that it evoked within me. Here are just a few of these special moments:

Buddy Guy

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

Chris Botti

Home

Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Nature of Forgetting

FACT Variety Show

Cultural Night

Into Her Closet: How to Make a Drag Queen

Overall, this class gave me the opportunity to experience events that I would never even think of attending. It allowed me to expand my perception of the idea of performance and what constitutes as art. I loved each and every performance, and I can proudly say that through all the singing, dancing, and acting my passion in the arts has been revived. I will forever be grateful to have experienced all these memorable events especially with such a wonderful group of people.

Radioactive Art (Make-Up Event #2)

Written by Ashleigh Cox

A wall of photos in the exhibit!

Krannert Art Museum’s second ArtTalk discussed the way we get rid of nuclear waste. The curator, Lilah Leopold, focused on a few different pieces and explained the intention of the exhibit from the artists’ point of view.

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The Nature of Forgetting

Written by Ashleigh Cox

Tom expresses his frustration!

The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful play about a man’s memory fading with Alzheimer’s and how it appears from his point of view. Theatre Re performed the piece at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on November 12th and it was quite a memorable event!

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