ListN Up: Ashleigh Gordon (July 24, 2020)

ListN Up is a series of weekly artist-curated playlists. Born from a desire to keep artists sharing and connected during times of isolation, ListN Up offers an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. This series is sponsored by American Composers Forum/innova Recordings with new releases every Friday on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

Described as a “charismatic and captivating performer,” violist Ashleigh Gordon is the Artistic/Executive Director and violist of Castle of our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series devoted to celebrating Black Artistry through music. She can be heard on chamber music and orchestral recordings under the Mode, Siemens, BMOP/Sound, Navona, and Musiques-Suisse record labels.

Hey there, and thanks for tuning in to listen to my playlist! This playlist is a mashup of cultures, colors, instrumentation, and styles. Everything from electronic music to soundbaths to foot stomping and toe tapping music. So I hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening.

Dam Mwen Yo for cello & tape by Nathalie Joachim, performed by cellist Seth Parker Woods with sound diffusion by Tina Tallon

Dam Mwen Yo, or “these are my ladies” in Haitian Creole, is such a hypnotically evocative piece that is definitely something to experience live. The sound envelopes you and carries you into this lush, otherworldly space. It invites you to close your eyes and let the music wash over you. 

Juba by Trevor Weston, performed by Castle of our Skins

Juba honors the lives and contributions of African and African American forced laborers who cultivated various crops during slavery. Musically, it paints a journey from Africa to the States through traditional African music and traditional folk music by African Americans: fiddle music, Long-meter hymns, Gullah music and lining. 

String Quartet No. 2 by Eleanor Alberga, performed by Ensemble Arcadiana

This string quartet is a one movement, high octane ride written by Jamaican-British composer Eleanor Alberga. I love its sinuous lines, wild contrast and energy!

Rituals For Forgotten Faces No. 4b by Bongani Ndodana-Breen

I can’t help but move when I listen to this pizzicato movement by South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen. I see a whole choreographed scene of beautifully costumed dancers and am transported into a vibrant world of color, movement, nature, and tranquility.

Ohkyanoos by Anthony R. Green, performed by Ensemble Transmission

I love the colors Anthony is able to coax out from this sextet of players. There is a real vibrancy to this piece, virtuosity, and sense of kinetic energy. All of which I love!

through the filtering dawn of spreading daybright by Jeffrey Mumford, performed by Castle of our Skins

This is another colorful piece that I love. Jeffrey’s music is very kaleidoscopic and is the musical equivalent of looking at a painting filled with a myriad different shades of blue. There’s a richness and lightness inherent in his music, often existing in the same time and space.

I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Praying by Courtney Bryan

This piece stops me in my tracks. I have to close my eyes and simply stand still. It’s deeply moving, personal, and universal all at once. 

Breathing by Pamela Z

Another piece that uses the breath in an arresting way. I love how this piece evolves and of course LOVE the incomparable Pamela Z, who has such a commanding presence.

Solar Plexus Chakra Soundbath by Monthati Masebe, performed by Monthati Masebe with poetry recited by Siya Stone

Tranquility, grace, meditation, peace. I love the hypnotic quality of this soundbath and its chakra amplifying vibes.