DeVaughn is back with 3rd Black showcase
IN the United States, February is considered Black History Month.
The works of luminaries such as Dr Martin Luther King Jr, poets, writers, musicians and religious leaders are brought to the fore.
Here in Douglas Shire it is echoed once again this year in Alteouise DeVaughn’s third instalment of her “Black” series of performances (at the Clink, tomorrow, February 16).
The first ‘Black’ presented by Alteouise concert was an overview of Negro musical history, from the early camp meetings to the development of spirituals and folk music.
It alluded to the post-Civil War years, leading up to the establishment of Black colleges and universities by the end of the 1890s.
The Black Renaissance of the 1920s was created by a new generation of intellectuals and saw the evolution of jazz, blues and modern music styles.
The second of the Black series, subtitled ‘My Story’, traced the history of Alteouise’s family. ‘My Story’ included Gospel, Rhythm and Blues and songs from a broader spectrum of Negro inspired music.
Tomorrow night’s show will present the realisation of Dr King’s dream: A dream that there would come a day when people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the colour of their skin.
“In my case, God’s blessings, good fortune, hard work and outstanding talent has enabled me to live that dream,” she says.
In the first part of the show, music from her life here, in this community, is presented.
Last year Alteouise performed her first non-singing role in the play ‘Doubt: A Parable’ and a scene from the play is included in ‘Black’.
Following intermission, a selection of pieces from ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the Musical’ is presented.
‘Matilda’ tells the story of a wilful little girl who decides to live in a world of her own making.
The song “Four Mile Beach” was written by Peter Brown for Alteouise when she was periodically had to leave Australia, her new home, because of visa requirements.
Following that is “The Hills Around Old Mossman Town”, written by Sister Mairead, a retired nun who Alteouise met at St Mary’s Catholic Church, not long after Alteouise’s arrival eight years ago.
“Sr Mairead, a music teacher, has written some beautiful songs about our region,” Alteouise.
“She came from Ireland many years ago, to teach at the convent school in Cooktown. Our lives have many similarities as newcomers to a remote and fascinating part of Australia.
“We both had to break from tradition and family expectations,” Alteouise says.
The Voices of the North and the Mossman Glee Club join her on stage for the Gospel song “Hush, somebody’s callin’ my name”.
“Some of us may be familiar with the Ry Cooder arrangement featured in the soundtrack of the film ‘Crossroads’,” Alteouise says.
“It’s a romantic take on the life of Willie Brown and an explanation of the Robert Johnson song, ‘Crossroads’.
“It is a Faustian tale about saving Johnson’s soul from the devil.”
Mezzo-soprano Alteouise DeVaughn of Port Douglas