Marvin Tate’s D-Settlement with Theaster Gates & Black Monks
@ Constellation Chicago
3111 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Opening Saturday, October 29th, at 8:30PM
You can watch the livestream here: https://youtu.be/ComDAUlZXQk
If you watch the livestream, please support the artists by purchasing a livestream ticket.
D-Settlement were Chicago’s best-kept secret: a trailblazing, diverse band mixing R&B, soul, punk, gospel and funk with biting wit and political commentary. Led by Marvin Tate — a poet, artist, playwright and raconteur who wore pipe cleaners in his hair — and supported by a large, dynamic cast of characters, their music was both of and ahead of its time. From the 1990s to 2003, across three self-released albums — Partly Cloudy, The Minstrel Show, and American Icons — D-Settlement told Tate’s nuanced stories about transgender rights, gun violence, systemic inequity and gentrification from an unapologetically Black perspective, drawing from his life in and around Chicago’s West Side. Their music grew to encompass Americana, opera, cabaret and theatre, intersecting in ways that only Tate could conceive. Their concerts brought these influences to bear so often, and with such force, that stealing the show was a matter of routine. Their creative vision left imprints on people like Angel Bat Dawid, Ben LaMar Gay, Theaster Gates, avery r. young and Angel Olsen, relating traumatic experiences, skewering organized government, religion, corruption and poverty, and imagining better futures through an Afrofuturist lens. But record labels didn’t know how to handle such pathbreaking work. Twenty-plus years on, American Dreams’ reissue, Marvin Tate’s D-Settlement, is the music’s worldwide release.
Theaster Gates and the Black Monks will open the show.The Black Monks, formerly The Black Monks of Mississippi, has been a through line in Theaster Gates’ artistic practice. Their music is rooted inthe Black music of the South, including the blues, gospel and wailings, but also linked to ascetic practices, related most closely to Eastern monastic traditions. It is an experiment around the specificity of Black sound and a way to give life to the abject everyday objects that Theaster Gates collects. The Black Monks often function as “amateur historians, senior docents, and non-sponsored bootleg preachers” expounding the word of art alongside the word of god. Through this gospel soul chant reverberation, Gates paints another picture of the potentialities within culturally specific but broadly received artistic practices. It is Gates’ body and the bodies of The Black Monks that help us understand that the black voice is a specific voice – even if the subjectivities of those voices are universal subjectivities.
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