Thu, Feb. 27 thru Fri, Mar. 6, 2020
Acclaimed Haitian-American songwriter Leyla McCalla, formerly of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, returns to Durham for a residency and world premiere of her stunning new multimedia project, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever.
Developed in collaboration with director Kiyoko McCrae, the piece deftly weaves together original music, archival recordings from Duke’s Radio Haiti / Human Rights Archive, dance, and video projection to tell the story of Radio Haiti-Inter — Haiti’s first Creole-speaking station — and its founder, Jean Dominique, on the 20th anniversary of his political assassination.
Leading up to the premiere of Breaking the Thermometer in Duke’s von der Heyden Studio Theater, Duke Performances will host a nine-day production residency with opportunities for free public engagement around McCalla’s music, the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, and the life and activism of Jean Dominique. Through visits to Duke classes on Haitian history, songwriting, and African diasporic dance; a public workshop on multimedia project collaboration; and an off-campus lunchtime conversation, the residency will engage a broad cross-section of the Duke and Durham communities. Campus and community partners include the Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics; the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library; the Duke Departments of Music, English, Theater, and Dance; Hayti Heritage Center; and The Pinhook.
Duke Performances at Duke University is the lead commissioner of Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever. Co-commissioners include the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and MDC Live Arts – Miami Dade College. Development residency support and space provided by the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is made possible, in part, with a grant from the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; a grant from New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; and a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Duke Performances at Duke University, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, MDC Live Arts – Miami Dade College, and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to the Human Rights and Radio Haiti archives at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University for serving as the research site and partner on Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, and to the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.