Collaborations

My very first collaboration was in 1995, just 1 year as a professional musician working in “the Real World” while attending Howard University part-time. It was with The Washington Ballet, co-writing a score with pianist Maritri for choreographer Lynn Cote’s piece, Nexus. Shortly thereafter we were invited back, this time accompanied by djembeist Marshall Johnson in 1997 to work with South African choreographer Ntsikelelo “Boize” Cekwana to create a piece entitled Savannah. Both Nexus and Savannah debuted at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in their respective years. In 1998, The Washington Ballet company traveled first to New York City to present Savannah at The Joyce Theater, and later that same year, debuted the work in Johannesburg at the Wits Theater.

Since then, I’ve had the good fortune of collaborating with several incredibly talented choreographers, playwrights and directors, and of course other fine musicians/composers…here are a few examples of recent projects I’ve worked on:


I LOVE MY HAIR WHEN IT'S GOOD: & THEN AGAIN WHEN IT'S DEFIANT AND IMPRESSIVE
by Chaunesti Webb

THE PROJECT: Compose an original soundscape reminiscent of black radio (record players, tape decks, 8-tracks) spanning the 1970's - mid-1990's. Create interludes which expose palpable emotion and serve as conduits from one scene/circumstance to the next. Create motifs for different characters which express generation, spirit, confidence, timidity, and other attributes that will present themselves throughout the course of the script.

Genevieve and Moni grew up together in a family of African American women – playing double-dutch, chasing fireflies, sharing the pain of the hot comb – attempting to make sense of the world through the complicated relationship they have with their hair. The 2012 smash hit returns to Manbites Dog for a special encore presentation.
“Five Stars” – Indy Week

"Economics, domestic violence and education will all play a part in this. But the largest agents will include a double bind hardly limited to African-American families of a recent era in the South, in which the young are expected to make their family and community proud, but still not "get above their raising." Webb's characters are also subject to generation-spanning—but still dysfunctional—gender roles in which a woman's worth is measured mostly by her self-sacrifice, if not her outright martyrdom."

– Byron Woods, INDY WEEK

THE MUSIC


JUST ANOTHER LYNCHING: AN AMERICAN HORROR STORY
by Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins

THE PROJECT: In less than one week, using only cello, vocals and a loop station, compose the score for a 20-minute puppet show depicting the story of a white woman in a dysfunctional marriage who accuses an innocent black man (loving husband, father) of beating and raping her in order to protect her abusive husband.

Jeghetto gives life. To us mortals that’s magic, but when you ask him to explain how he does it, he can't. He too calls it magic. Even in puppetry, life is a mystery. He will bring them to life in "Just Another Lynching: An American Horror Story…" — Antony Nganga, THE HERALD SUN

THE MUSIC

 

STRANGE FRUIT

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves, and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the Gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh
And the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop --

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Published as poem, "Bitter Fruit" (1937) by Abel Meeropol
Lyrics & Melody as "Strange Fruit" by Lewis Allen (pseudonym)


CULTURE MILL PRESENTS: MAKE / BELIEVE
An Immersive Performance Experience
by Tommy Noonan & Murielle Elizeon

THE PROJECT: Drawing loosely on historical NC Commerce traditions such as tobacco auctions, MAKE / BELIEVE playfully imagines the value of a song, a dance, a poem or a story as a commodity to be bid upon, bought, sold and traded. In a series of communal and individual vignettes, MAKE / BELIEVE ultimately asks audiences to consider the value of artistic experiences in their experiences in their daily lives, communities and larger society.


THE AMAZING ADVENTURES of GRACE MAY B. BROWN
by Andrea E. Woods/SOULOWORKS

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES of GRACE MAY B. BROWN by Andrea E. Woods/SOULOWORKS

THE PROJECT: Utilizing text and lyrics provided by the playwright, compose a sound tapestry to be woven into the storytelling quilt representing characters of different generations and life experiences. Influences - folk and roots music, spirituals, childhood stomp-cheers and hand games. Use video footage and descriptions of scene, tone, atmosphere to create soundtrack remotely (Las Vegas to Durham).

"The Amazing Adventures of Grace May B. Brown,” features dance, music, singing, narration, folk art and photographic images. “I call the work a contemporary praise dance/folk performance because it uses dance, song, spirituality, music and narration as multilayered storytelling,” Woods writes." 
– Susan Broili, THE HERALD-SUN

THE MUSIC

 

"SURRENDER" for SUDDENLY I SEE
by Kristin Taylor

 SURRENDER from SUDDENLY I SEE by Kristin Taylor

THE PROJECT: Compose a 5-minute piece, separated into three "phases" (movements): i - Discovery; ii - Engagement; iii - Surrender. Execute creation process in different time zones (Kristin & Okorie: EST; Shana: PST). Create entire score without seeing the choreography. 

"No dancer can match Kristin Taylor, Simoneau's senior company member for purely joyful movement in her self-choreographed solo, Suddenly I See, Taylor uses her powerful, compact body to explore and carve her way through space in curves and explosions. She too uses original music, this one composed by Shana Tucker (and Okorie Johnson)." – Lynne Felder, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL

THE MUSIC


THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE - Featured vocals

 "BETTER" - The Foreign Exchange ft. Eric Roberson & Shana Tucker. Directed by Kenneth Price.

Suite Sessions talks with Shana Tucker on the making of  the song/video "Better", The Foreign Exchange's Phonte & Nicolay, and her favorite +FE record.

THE MUSIC

 The Foreign Exchange  LOVE IN FLYING COLORS

The Foreign Exchange
LOVE IN FLYING COLORS

 The Foreign Exchange TALES FROM THE LAND OF  MILK AND HONEY

The Foreign Exchange
TALES FROM THE LAND OF
MILK AND HONEY


 

Minding Your Business: Indie Artist Workshop Series

 
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The reality of independent artistry is that we find ourselves wearing several hats (usually simultaneously) in order to manage our music careers.

Booking, marketing, social media, networking, bookkeeping…all of this while also carving out creative time for practice, rehearsal, recording, maybe some teaching, and of course, performance. It has the potential to get a bit overwhelming if you don’t have a few tools under your belt to increase your administrative and creative productivity.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS: INDIE ARTISTS AS CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS is a series of workshops and panel discussions designed to address the issues most relevant to musicians-as-small business owners on the quest for establishing and maintaining a creatively fulfilling and sustainable living as an artist.

DISCUSSION 01: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 @ 7:30 PM
Arcana Durham, 331 W. Main Street, Durham, NC.

SIGN UP to receive "Minding Your Business" updates directly to your inbox. We'll keep you posted when the next discussion is happening:

Name *
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MEET the PANELISTS | May 29 @ Arcana - Durham, NC

photo: Sonia Seelinger

Shana Tucker
MUSICIAN/FACILITATOR

With a deep respect for lyrical storytelling, cellist/singer-songwriter Shana delivers a unique voice through her self-described genre of ChamberSoul. Shana's melodies weave strong hints of jazz, classical, soulful folk, acoustic pop and a touch of R&B into a distinctive rhythmic tapestry. After 5 years playing cello/singing in Las Vegas with the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil show, KA, Shana returned to North Carolina to share her talents as a soloist, collaborator, voiceover artist, and teaching artist. She is the founder of ChamberSoul Artist Collective; a teaching artist with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts; an A+ Schools Apprentice Fellow; a champion for indie artists-as-entrepreneurs; and a front-line arts integration advocate for the perpetuation of arts in schools and STEAM education.

JAMIE KATZ COURT
Communications & Programs Manager

Jamie Katz Court moved to North Carolina in 2004 from Portage, Michigan. She has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, but once she discovered her passion for working in the arts, she never looked back. Jamie is responsible for coordinating the logistical aspects of PineCone programs, education and outreach, marketing and promotions, and communications, including writing the monthly Traditional Review newsletter for PineCone members and maintaining PineCone's website. She also compiles and sends out the bi-monthly musicians opportunities e-newsletter.

Amy Bormet

AMY K BORMET
Pianist/vocalist/
composer

Currently living in Los Angeles, Amy K. Bormet is an in-demand pianist, vocalist, and composer. The quintet from her debut album, Striking, was featured as part of the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. As an advocate for women in music, Amy created the Washington Women in Jazz Festival in 2011 and continues to serve as executive director. In addition to her performance career, Amy is a prolific composer frequently combining improvisation with concert music. 

Noel James

NOEL JAMES
Director of Education & Community Engagement, The carolina theatre of durham

The essence of Noe's work is to utilize arts and culture to bring people together to find common ground, create curiosity to seek greater understanding about self, issues and society. Noel's interpersonal and organizational skills, creativity and compassion have enabled fto work with a broad spectrum of people to build sustainable organizational and program structures, collaborate with multiple constituencies, andprovide leadership effecting positive outcomes. 


 

ChamberSoul Artist Collective

 

THE CHAMBERSOUL ARTIST COLLECTIVE is a concept created and developed by cellist/singer-songwriter/teaching artist Shana Tucker in 2017 in response to what she identified as "a need for independent artists to organize as a community in support of each other as we all work towards the similar goal of making art and functioning sustainably and successfully as a creative, artistic professional."  

Independent artists need similar administrative tools and resources in order to run a smooth operation within this constantly-changing music industry. We also need to stay in constant contact with industry trends in order to stay current and in stride with artists/companies with access to larger budgets. 

And, of course, there's the ever-present reality of securing meaningful work...which means different things to different people. But in this particular case, it means making the type of art that satisfies our unique creative needs while also satisfying our financial needs.

By pooling intellectual and tangible resources, having conversations, building relationships of support and empathy for what independent artists of all genres can relate to as "The Grind", and by upholding each other to the highest standards of professionalism, follow-through and artistic excellence, the ChamberSoul Artist Collective is here to connect independent artists with each other in a supportive, thriving network that will help artists to do what they are meant to do: Make art and find work that is meaningful and sustainable.

For information about how the ChamberSoul Artist Collective, please send an email to Shana, or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

 

photo: Sonia Seelinger

Shana Tucker | MUSICIAN/EDUCATOR/founder

With a deep respect for lyrical storytelling, cellist/singer-songwriter Shana Tucker delivers a unique voice through her self-described genre of ChamberSoul. Shana's melodies weave strong hints of jazz, classical, soulful folk, acoustic pop and a touch of R&B into a distinctive rhythmic tapestry. After 5 years playing/singing in Las Vegas with the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil show, KA, Shana returned to North Carolina to share her ChamberSoul vibe as a solo artist, collaborator, and teaching artist. She is the founder of ChamberSoul Artist Collective, and a front-line advocate for independent artists and arts in education with similar vigor.

 
Beverly Botsford

BEVERLY BOTSFORD | PERCUSSIONIST/EDUCATOR

Beverly Botsford is a cross-cultural percussionist and educator, blending music, movement, and spoken word in solo and ensemble presentations. Embracing drumming traditions and inspirations of Africa, Cuba, South America and her native North Carolina, she weaves colorful rhythmic tapestries with her infinite array of collected and homemade instruments. Beverly celebrates more than 30 years of full-time, professional experience, performing and teaching in an infinite variety of situations.

 
photo: Denise Worden Photography

Lois Deloatch gomes | Artist & consultant

Lois Deloatch Gomes' career spans nearly three decades in the arts, education and philanthropy. Noted for her rich contralto voice, compelling songwriting,  and sophisticated humor, Lois has appeared in concert throughout the United States and internationally, written and lectured on jazz, arts and culture, and co-hosted a radio show. Collaborating across art forms, Lois works with dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, authors, scholars, and others to conceive and create innovative works.

 
Steph Johnson

STEPH JOHNSON | GUITARIST/SINGER-SONGWRITER

After 2 successful independent CD releases, San Diego-based guitarist/singer songwriter Steph Johnson commissioned two-time Grammy award-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta to produce her latest release, "Music is Art". Featuring 10 of her original compositions, the CD has propelled her career to new heights, and celebrates the unique blend of her jazz stylings with her soulful R&B roots. Ever the community activist, Steph co-founded “Voices Of Our City”, a choir for people experiencing homelessness in San Diego in Summer 2016. 

 
Amy Bormet

AMY K. BORMET, Pianist/vocalist/composer

Currently living in Los Angeles, Amy K. Bormet is an in-demand pianist, vocalist, and composer. The quintet from her debut album, Striking, was featured as part of the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. As an advocate for women in music, Amy created the Washington Women in Jazz Festival in 2011 and continues to serve as executive director. In addition to her performance career, Amy is a prolific composer frequently combining improvisation with concert music. 

 
Shirazette Tinnin

SHIRAZETTE TINNIN | PERCUSSIONIST/EDUCATOR

Drummer, educator, clinician, author and health coach, Shirazette Tinnin was born and raised in North Carolina. Shirazette is frequently on tour with premier bands such as Tia Fuller Quartet, The Mimi Jones Band, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, Women of the World Ensemble, Gabriel Algeria Afro Peruvian Sextet, Allan Harris Group, Camille Thurman, and many others in addition to leading her own group, "Shirazette Tinnin and Sonic Wallpaper." Shirazette is an active clinician, educator, mentor, composer, a certified personal trainer and published author. 


Women's Work - A SisterCentric Collective

NEW PROJECT. Excited about this new musical collaboration that takes first-flight in Southern California this summer: WOMEN'S WORK.

Women's Work is a collective core ensemble of female musicians/composers/songwriters, featuring Steph Johnson (guitar/vocals), Melonie Grinnell (piano/keys) from San Diego; Shirazette Tinnin (drums/percussion) from NYC, and me -- Shana Tucker (cello, vocals, guitar), repping NC, with Rob Thorsen on bass (he's from San Diego, too). 

Our first encounter was for a benefit concert for Sister Support at The Warehouse on Prime in Spring 2017 in Pasadena, CA. I wanted to produce a meaningful, musical offering featuring some of my most talented SisterSledges, and called Steph and Shirazette to ask them to participate. Together with pianist/composer Amy Bormet (Washington Women in Jazz Festival founder/curator) and singer-songwriter Maritri (The SoulFolk Experience, HUE), we presented a concert that left us all feeling like there was more music to be written, more stories to be shared, and more spirits to be uplifted...specifically from a woman's perspective. 

So, we decided to form this new creative collective, Women's Work. In for-us-by-us fashion, the music will originate and be performed by a female-led ensemble. Original compositions and arrangements reflecting our Jazz, Soul, R&B, ChamberSoul, and Acoustic Pop sensibilities will be the resulting vibe and flavor of Women's Work. We plan to feature guest artists in the future; for now, as a new concept, we're eager to share the bodies of work that each sister brings to the stand.

#womensworkcollective #sistercentric #indieartists #femalemusician #jazz #RandB #soul

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/womensworkcollective

 WOMEN'S WORK is (L to R): Steph Johnson; Melonie Grinnell; Shana Tucker, Shirazette Tinnin, Rob Thorsen.

WOMEN'S WORK is (L to R): Steph Johnson; Melonie Grinnell; Shana Tucker, Shirazette Tinnin, Rob Thorsen.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention

WE ARE CELEBRANTS. WE ARE ACTIVISTS. WE ARE PUPPETEERS.

Each year Paperhand Puppet Intervention writes, creates, builds and performs a large summer pageant-play-extravaganza. These performances last about an hour and a half, include an ensemble of professional musicians who create an original score of music and involve a cast of puppeteers, which has included as many as twenty-eight performers. The summer extravaganza is attended by over 16,000 people! Through the annual summer performance, Paperhand Puppet Intervention helps create a community that shares picnic blankets, ideas, experiences and a love of wonder.

"Of Wings and Feet" was the name of the 2017 Summer Series production I had the honor of contributing my cello-ing and singing to. I was in a merry band of six -- Jonathan Henderson (piano/bass/percussion), Beverly Botsford (percussion/sound effects), Quran Karriem (keyboard, sampling, trombone), Will Ridenour (kora, ukele, percussion, voiceovers), and Peter Lewis (drums) -- and we collectively created the score to accompany this mysterious, socially and politically engaging, clever and aesthetically amazing production over the course of about six weeks. I'm honored and quite pleased to have spent the summer with such talented individuals, and even happier to experience the positive responses to the show and specifically to our music from our weekly audiences.

"'Of Wings and Feet' is a whimsical, paradoxical juxtaposition of myriad forms and flights of fancy. Everything moves! And yes, we move. Forward hopefully. Spend an enchanted evening discovering what it means to be human… when you’re a bird. Or, a turtle. Or, in a circus of traveling revelers. Witness the living land and waters breathing and moving with the sky in an epic pageant of the ages. See, hear, and feel all this and more at our 18th annual giant puppet spectacle for all!"

Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s mission is to use diverse styles of puppetry and artistic expression to create works that inspire, promote social change and are deeply rewarding for all involved. These styles include: giant puppets, rod puppets, shadow puppetry, masks, stilt dancing and anything under the sky that strikes our fancy.

Their vision is inspired by their love for the earth and its creatures (including humans). They synthesize many art forms including, but never limited to, sculpting, painting, dance, music, improvisation, costume design, set design and theater. They're committed to creating multi-scaled and multi-disciplinary puppet performances that support this vision.

They use this puppetry, performance and creativity to undermine and eradicate greed, hate and fear and promote justice, equality and peace, and work uncompromisingly to these ends.

#paperhandband #puppetlife #saxapahaw #socialcommentary

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://paperhand.org/

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