New Amsterdam Records announced the release of composer Joseph C. Phillips Jr's newest album.
The recording features cellist Mariel Roberts, electric violinist Ana Milosavljev, soprano Rebecca L. Hargrove, narrator Kenneth Browning, electronics practitioner Michael Hammond, and Joseph C. Phillips Jr's ensemble, Numinous.
"In 2011, I started thinking and researching an opera that would tackle race, class, and power in American society," said Joseph C. Phillips Jr. "I also wanted a story that would highlight the humanity and richness of Black life, which so often gets flatten or stereotyped in the general population’s consciousness.
"But it wasn’t until 2014 and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri that 'The Grey Land' really came into focus. While I still sought to comment on those larger longstanding systemic societal, economic and cultural issues, the opera became a more specific reaction to the various police shootings and protests since 2014. It is also a narrative of how one Black mother and her son try to navigate this world that so often negates or ignores their humanity.
"I wanted to show in 'The Grey Land' that a Black family’s pain, joy, struggle, and success represents a shared societal commonality and humanity, and shift awareness to how our country’s systems themselves, while offering many boons of opportunity, also fosters much inequality, inequity, and injustice. I hope people can come away from 'The Grey Land' contemplating these truths and how America can more fully fulfill its beautiful promise to everyone."
The Grey Land
Joseph C. Phillips Jr, composer
Label: New Amsterdam
Release Date: November 20, 2020