Do Good Dialogue: What Is Socially Engaged Song?

Do Good Dialogue: What Is Socially Engaged Song?

Thursday, October 18, 2018 . 5:30 PM

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What is a socially engaged song?

A Conversation with Stew Stewart

Singer-songwriter Stew Stewart spins improvisatory songs drawn from his seemingly endless stable of stories and ideas. His musical Passing Strange won a Tony for Best Book in 2008.

For fun, Stew likes to view mass-marketed music though a tripartite filter of three communication systems: Love Songs, Gospel Music and Socially Engaged Art-Songs. Along with the titular query, this talk/discussion will play with various questions, among them “What makes a song political?” “What makes a song apolitical?” and “How do you critique capitalism while using it?” along with a host of others. The goal is to understand how words and music - and which words and which musics - influence - and do not influence - people’s everyday lives. Further areas of exploration include understanding the difference between “topical” and “political”, Gospel’s untapped potential as a revolutionary music and the radical refusal of reality exhibited in love songs.  

Don't miss Stew and his band, the Negro Problem in performance on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8pm at The Clarice. performing Notes of a Native Son, a tribute to writer and activist James Baldwin.