World Premiere: Leyla McCalla: 'Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever'
Since departing the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops to pursue a solo career, Haitian-American artist Leyla McCalla continues to make distinctive and relevant music that rightfully demands one's attention - from her 2014 Langston Hughes tribute Vari-Colored Songs to 2019's boundary-pushing Capitalist Blues. Befitting her family heritage, the multidisciplinary Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, commissioned and premiered by Duke Performances, amplifies source materials from the Radio Haiti Archive at Duke to lift up everyday voices of resistance and celebration in late-20th century Haiti. Collaborator and director Kiyoko McCrae, known for her devised theater work, weaves together original music, archival recordings, dance, and video projection to create an unparalleled theatrical experience. In commemoration, the piece arrives twenty years after the assassination of Jean Léopold Dominique, the owner and activist behind the independent, Kreyol-speaking station, Radio Haiti-Inter, whose legacy influences McCalla as she synthesizes and premieres this live performance that explores the complexities of what it means to be Haitian.