Symphony is a performance
piece by singer/songwriter Aireene Espiritu that carries listeners through
songs and sounds — a lullaby from a childhood growing up in the United States,
a folk song from another country, rhythms from regions connecting the audience
to their ethnic origins. The first half of the concert will be performed in the
dark, for when we listen with our eyes closed, we allow more room to receive,
be open and be touched by what we hear. Through this musical experience, Espiritu
aims to nurture intercultural openness and explore how we are connected to the
rest of the world.
“We are fortunate
to live in a colorful city that provides access to an array of languages,
religions, cultures, cuisines, music and arts. Still, wherever we are, it is
human nature to judge and be judged based on our ethnicity, skin color, gender,
etc. I've learned from my share of judgments, and I have also personally felt
the sting of being judged: to be told as a little girl to go back to my own
country, to be banned from meeting a boyfriend’s family because I am not white.
I wanted to say, ‘If you only got to know me, I think you’d like me. If you
were blind, maybe you would see better.’ There seems to be more emphasis on our
differences, the us versus them, the fear and
discomfort of the unknown. How can we be more empathetic and curious toward one
another, and lessen our tendency to prejudge?
In music, there are
fewer boundaries that separate us. There are similarities in rhythms and
themes from all around the world. Music can affect our emotions even when we
don't understand the words.”
— Aireene Espiritu
About the artist
Aireene Espiritu is
a singer/songwriter playing mostly original songs accompanied by
Latin/African rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel
music — a mix of stompin', swayin' and timeless Americana.
Espiritu was born in the Philippines and moved to the United
States at 10 years old, growing up in the third culture: the old country, the
new country and a blend of both worlds. Mainly influenced by listening to Alan
Lomax's field recordings from the South and growing up listening to her uncles'
Filipino folk guitar fingerpicking, her music is reminiscent of front
porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears. She
tours solo as well as with her band as Aireene
& The Itch. http://www.aireeneespiritu.com.
Her latest project is with Little Village Foundation, a nonprofit label founded by venerable blues keyboardist
Jim Pugh. Back Where I Belong, released in July
2016, pays tribute to the great rhythm-and-blues artist Sugar Pie
DeSanto and includes favorite American and Filipino folk songs. The album
has received positive reviews and recognition from notable press such as KQED's The
California Report, All About Jazz, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post.