DeVaughn is back with 3rd Black show­case

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - THE GROOVE - Shane Ni­chols

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

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