Monday, August 21, 2017

Bridging The Generations With Protest Songs

Zhailon Levingtson
This summer TFTT producer Zhailon Levingston is working as an Associate Director to Rachel Chakvin ("Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812," "Small Mouth Sounds") on the two-day concert Primer for A Failed Superpower (Aug 22-23) featuring generations of music artists playing new and unexpected arrangements of iconic protest songs.  Artists scheduled to appear include Stew and Heidi Rodewald ("Passing Strange"), Martha Redbone & Aaron Whitby, Heather Christian, Justin Ellington and others.

We caught up with Zhailon who sheds light on his role in this highly anticipated event and his take on the significance of protest songs.

Q: Tell us about your work on Primer for a Failed Superpower
Z:  I am the associate director of Primer for a Failed Superpower. I'm working with Rachel Chavkin to help bring three generations together in musical and political collaboration. I also conducted a lot of activist interviews you will see in the show.

Q: Why are protest-songs important to you and do you think that have an effect on culture and society? 
Z: Protest songs are important because they don't just help us understand where we are generally as a people but where we are in a precise moment. They push us pass that moment into the next. They are the gas that charges the movement. 

Q: What is your favorite protest song? 
Z: The song that's getting me through a lot right now is "breath" by india arie.

Q: Why do you think it's important for us to attend Primer...
Z: It's important to attend Primer because we want you to be involved in the conversations we are brining up in the room, across generations. We believe how you make is more important than what you make and the primer process has been so organic and a micro version of the world I want to be apart of. I want to share that with as many people as possible

Q: If you wrote a protest song, which artist would you write it for either living or deceased? 
Z: Without doubt NINA SIMONE. 

For more info on Primer For A Failed Superpower, click here.