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Speculum Orum
Shackled to the Dead
Requiem for Voice and Piano
Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 8:00PM

1047 Amsterdam Avenue
at 112th Street
New York, NY 10025

The Cathedral Box Office will open one hour prior to the performance for will call pick up.

The Atlantic Ocean holds the remains of countless black bodies, people lost en-route from home to the new world. During the transatlantic slave trade, millions of Africans were carried in bondage to America. A horrifying percentage did not survive the journey. This piece is about them.

Many of the captured people preferred death to slavery. They jumped overboard or tried to starve themselves. In those circumstances the slaver would use a device called a speculum orum to keep the captives’ mouths open while they were forced to eat.

In the fetid holds of slave ships, live bodies were shackled to the dead, sometimes for days and months at a time. The artist, M. Lamar, believes that we are all also shackled to the dead. The water that rises from the ocean, falls as rain into our reservoirs, and flows down the pipes to our faucets, was once and is still their grave. This water, water that is now inside all of us, conceals and reveals the truth about who we are as Americans. The abducted Africans had their months forced open. M. Lamar states, "I will willingly open my mouth to lift my voice and let the spirits dance. Yes, we are shackled to the dead! They speak to us and through us. Let their voices rise!"

M. Lamar is a countertenor, pianist and composer whose work draws heavily from African American Spirituals, Opera, late 20th century avant garde music, as well as popular forms like blues and rock. Lamar's work has been presented at PS122, Dixon Place, Joe's Pub, Abrons Art Center,The Chocolate Factory,Galapagos Art Space, Center For Performance Research, and Washington Center for Performing Arts among others.

in 2008 Lamar's work was presented along side world renowned performance artist Ron Athey in The Biennale d’art performatif de Rouyn-Noranda.Quebec, Canada. Also 2008 found Lamar as featured performer in Tony nominated performance artist Justin Bonds award winning show Lustre at P.S. 122 and Abrons Arts Center.

Lamar is also a recording artist having released a full length Album: Souls On Lockdown, a 7 inch single :The Conquest and an Ep:Negro Gothic.

Lamar has trained vocally with Ira Siff and Studied piano with Dmitry Alexeev.

Thursday, February 16, 8 pm Tickets: $15.00