[by Nathan Kipniss ’14]
Last Friday I went to Pulse: “Our Heritage, Our Heart,” an event that explores Black culture through the arts. It was really cool to see so many different aspects to Black Culture and watch performers from all over the Boston Area. Some of the performances from MIT included Rambax, Gospel Choir and Mocha Moves.
ABOVE: MIT Gospel Choir Performing.
ABOVE: Mocha Moves (It was really hard to get a clean photo for obvious reasons, but the movement adds its own artistic quality!)
I was taking African Music this semester (21M.293, to those who are interested), and we watched videos of Senegalese drumming during lecture. Watching Rambax at Pulse, I was able to experience what we had learned in person. Videos are one thing, but attending a live performance is another. While some of the energy translated in the videos, all of the energy came through in Rambax’s performance.
I loved that spoken word and literature was also included that evening. I feel that literature and speech can often be overlooked as an art form. One of the texts narrated that evening was Malcolm X’s “You Can’t Hate The Roots Of A Tree And Not Hate The Tree.” I had never heard it before, but I think that the metaphor is true.
There were also performances of original spoken word. What impresses me about it is how a person can get into their performance to convey emotion and meaning (which holds true for the arts overall). Spoken word is about more than poetic text. There is facial expression, body language and voice inflection that help set the tone.
ABOVE: Victoria Okuneye ’13 performing spoken word,”What Have You Done with our Men?” (Photo taken by Joy Ekuta ’13)
There is a lot of talent at MIT. Pulse and similar events are wonderful because you are able to see a variety of performances in one evening. Attending Pulse allowed me to see that the Arts at MIT and psetting are one in the same. It requires collaboration and cooperation with others. Otherwise, many of the activities here at MIT would not be possible, including academics.