Duke Performances

Leyla McCalla

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.



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