Wednesday, September 27 – Zakiyyah
Community Concert & School Workshop
*** RESERVE FREE SEATS HERE ***
The Opening Doors Project in partnership with The Melrose Education Foundation is thrilled to present a free evening community concert and conversation with artist-activist Zakiyyah. Reserve your spot HERE.
Zakiyyah is an artist-activist, rapper, and classically-trained vocalist who has crafted a unique sound she calls “Hip-Hopera.” Her upcoming album, “African Import,” provides a window into both the beauty and complexity of the black diaspora, and the significance of its consumption by mainstream society. Her live performances are fierce, inclusive, and uplifting.
After graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in political science and sociology, Zakiyyah Sutton worked in politics for City Councilor Tito Jackson and later Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins. She currently serves as a trustee for the Free for All Concert Fund, an organization that helps bring classical music to new audiences, and teaches voice through Harvard’s Holden Voice Program and the Hamilton Garrett Music and Arts Academy.
In addition to her evening concert, we have arranged for Zakiyyah to present an in-school version of her arts-activism workshop for Melrose teens entitled “Creative Revolution.”
The Melrose Education Foundation supports innovation and excellence in the Melrose public schools with grants to empower educators and forums to engage the community.More info here.
Also Made Possible by:
Sunday, May 21, 2023 – Sol y Canto Family Concert
Opening Doors had a double first with this concert: It was our first family-oriented program and also our first bilingual program. Families with kids of all ages were absolutely mesmerized by the performance of Sol y Canto at Temple Beth Shalom in Melrose, MA.
Sol y Canto is an award-winning, Boston-based Pan-Latin ensemble led by Puerto Rican/Argentine singer and percussionist Rosi Amador and New Mexican guitarist, singer and composer Brian Amador. Featuring Rosi’s crystalline voice and Brian’s lush Spanish guitar and inventive compositions, Sol y Canto is known for making their music accessible to Spanish and non-Spanish speaking audiences of all ages.
Since 1994, Sol y Canto has brought audiences to their feet from the Kennedy Center to the California World Music Festival, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Puerto Rico’s Museo de Arte and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as countless club shows and house concerts. Though they perform more for adults than kids days, the duo has a long history of making engaging music (and albums) for kids. Their song “El doble de amigos/Twice as Many Friends” was recently published by Barefoot Books as a picture book. The Boston Globe hails them as “sublime ambassadors of the Pan-Latin tradition.”
Opening for the duo and joining them in conversation were host Alastair Moock and multi-instrumentalist Anand Nayak. Moock and Nayak began performing together over a decade ago. As a team, they have produced four albums, three of which won Gold Medals from the Parents’ Choice Foundation and two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Children’s Album – the second of which the duo respectfully declined due to historic underrepresentation in the field.
Made Possible by:
Friday, January 13, 2023 – Pamela Means in Concert
On the Friday of Martin Luther King Day Weekend, we were thrilled to be joined by veteran singer-songwriter and resident Massachusetts badass Pamela Means for a version of her program “The Power of the Protest Song.”
Pamela is an out(spoken), biracial, independent artist whose “kamikaze” guitar style and punchy provocative songs have worn a hole in two of her acoustic guitars. Armed with the razor wit of a stand-up comic, an engaging presence, and elegant poetry, Pamela’s “stark, defiant songs” (The New York Times) set both the status quo and stage afire. Ani DiFranco says, “You groove so deep, I can’t get out. And I wouldn’t want to.”
Means’ commitment to interrogating social ills was fostered by her unique childhood. “As the adopted daughter of a white mother and black father, I learned about dismantling systems of oppression from the inside out.” Pamela received her first guitar at the age of fourteen, just after her mother died of cancer, and it soon became Pamela’s primary vehicle for expression. It would also serve as a passport out of a life that consisted of poverty, foster homes, and the inner city life of hyper-segregated Milwaukee WI.
Pamela relocated to Boston, busked in the city subway, founded her own record label, and began touring. She has since performed on three continents and across America, gaining fans and rave reviews wherever she goes. She has shared the stage with Pete Seeger, Neil Young, Shawn Colvin, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Gil Scott-Heron, Adrian Belew, Violent Femmes, Holly Near, and many more. With truth as ammunition, she brings the fight for social justice and human dignity to the forefront of a new generation.
Made Possible by:
Saturday, June 11, 2022 – The Opening Doors Festival
w/ Reggie Harris and Boston City Singers
Our first large-scale live music event aimed to make the cultural scene of Melrose, Massachusetts more diverse and inclusive by elevating voices of color within the community and beyond.
The festival featured a musical conversation by veteran musicians and storytelling troubadours Reggie Harris and Alastair Moock; music and drumming by the Dorchester-based teenage Tour Choir of Boston City Singers; and a community art project facilitated by Boston-based Artists for Humanity and Melrose-based Follow Your Art Community Studios, in collaboration with Melrose teen artists.
The afternoon was a huge success, with about 200 attendees and a completed mural which will live forever in Melrose at Follow Your Art Community Studios.
Friday, May 6, 2022 – Kemp Harris in Concert
Our first live performance and interview was with Boston-based musician Kemp Harris.
Kemp is an artist who defies categorization. Singer-songwriter, actor, activist, author, storyteller, and educator, his music spans and transcends the genres of soul, blues, jazz, and musical theater.
Born in segregated North Carolina in 1953, Kemp moved to the Boston area to pursue a career in education. He was a beloved, award-winning kindergarten teacher in Newton, Massachusetts for more than 40 years.
Throughout this time, he pursued his artistic career on the side – albeit at a very high level.
But, for Kemp, it was all part of the same pursuit. “I’ve incorporated my life experiences into what has become me and the music I create,” he says. “At the end of the day, I’m an old black man telling stories and spreading the love.”
Made Possible by:
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