Ebony Miranda Presents This Sunday
This weekend, we are thrilled to have Ebony Miranda open things up at the session. Ebony Miranda is a recent graduate from Cornish College of the Arts. Within the last year they started pursuing solo work, focusing on themes surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, gender/sexuality, and trauma. Ebony performs regularly with various groups, including Zen Mother, Sweeping Exits (Portland), and their most recent project Water Weight. Ebony is also a profoundly dedicated political organizer and activist, as well as a dear friend to many in the community.
Ebony plans to present two pieces, one for solo cello and another for trio, joined by Michael Conklin (tenor saxophone) and Adam Briggs (drums). Until then, read below for words from Ebony about what's been happening and what to expect for this Sunday at 8pm:
"I think it’s fair to say that this past year - 2016 in particular - has been an incredibly trying and eye-opening time for our country. I didn’t really know how to process all that I was feeling at the end of the year, but I knew that I could not be idle, so I threw myself into activist work and took on the daunting task of organizing the Seattle Womxn’s march. I’ll spare the details of that incredibly stressful and awful experience, but it did push me to do one thing: book my first solo gig, and I guess I haven't gone back since.
There are many factors as to how I got to this place in my life, as the last two years have been a wild ride: healing from and dissecting my trauma and mental illness, coming out as trans, immersing myself into community work and organizing, and finishing school. Trying to live your life as your authentic self while simultaneously fighting against the systems that actively push against it and having no creative release is a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what my life became. I was at odds with my pursuit as a classical musician, and was extremely unsatisfied and frustrated with my progress - here I was, learning all of these pieces that I only dreamed of being able to play as a child, and I wasn’t enjoying myself at all. This lead me to a realization I feel most Black classical musicians experience at one point or another in their career: How does one deconstruct the incredibly messy and horrifying history of classical music? How do I come to terms with the fact that the music I had been spending more than half of my life studying, is rooted in classism, racism, sexism, and white supremacy? Not to mention the individuals and institutions in academia that still uphold those practices, and use them to deter our success?
Performing solo music is my way to releasing karmic energy into the world and to free myself of any emotional and mental baggage I am holding onto. It has helped me repair my relationship to my instrument and sever ties with the ugly past it is associated with. There are so many things in this world that I cannot change or am not capable of doing; but I can use music as a way to relieve and expose that pain, I can use music as a tool to confront and challenge those uncomfortable feelings, I can use it as a way to pay my respects and honor those in my community, and I can use it as a form of protest when I am not capable of participating in public demonstration. White academia taught me that music and art with political influence and message devalues its credibility, that the two should be separate, but I guess that’s easy to say when you’ve never had to convince the world that your existence is worthy and valid of pursuing a fulfilling life. For when I am at a loss of words, my music speaks through me, and I'm so grateful that people like to witness that experience with me.
So in the spirit of releasing energy, transformation, and ridding ourselves of pain, I ask the performers tonight: What are you wanting to let go of? What are you afraid of? What’s been on your mind? Who’s been on your mind? What keeps you up at night? What’s something you’ve never told anyone? What are you seeking in this lifetime? What can your instrument say for you that you cannot say for yourself?"