Nathalie Joachim with Spektral Quartet (USA)
Spektral Quartet & Nathalie Joachim: Fanm d’Ayiti
Though born in Brooklyn, the Haitian roots of Nathalie Joachim run deep. As a child, she would spend hours singing with her grandmother, de facto lessons in the rich polyglot traditions of Haitian folk music. Inspired by that pedigree, Joachim—best known as the flutist and co-artistic director of adventurous chamber ensemble eighth blackbird—turned to Haiti for the genesis of “Fanm d’Ayiti,” a mighty reappraisal of the overlooked women who helped shape the sounds and cultural backbone of Haiti. Combining field recordings of her grandmother and Haitian choirs that she captured during an extended family trip there with updates on some of the nation’s anthems, “Fanm d’Ayiti” reimagines the sounds of Joachim’s roots for new ears.
But, as Joachim has put it, performing this work alone wouldn’t be very Haitian of her. Joachim performs this stirring and sensitive evening-length work with the Spektral Quartet, a Chicago ensemble whose precise playing and incessant musical curiosity earned a 2017 Grammy nomination. Like Joachim, they are interested in the ways the past interacts with the present, or how what has already happened informs what we now witness. As Joachim sings and samples from the works of her ancestral land, adding flute accents, they offer texture and depth, filling in the emotional spaces of this profound new work about geography and equality, culture and time.