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The Rosetta Circle

The Rosetta Circle
Friday, April 21, 2023
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Duke Performances Spring 2023 Season


The Rosetta Circle is a new project that builds on the work of pioneering feminist jazz historian Rosetta Reitz, who created a record label in the 1980s dedicated to the foremothers of early jazz and blues. Envisioned by Raleigh-based folk luminary Tift Merritt, The Rosetta Circle seeks to continue the spirit of Rosetta's work and honor the unsung foremothers of jazz.

For the Circle's inaugural event, Merritt has assembled a starry collective of five leading female voices in American music - Adia Victoria, Rissi Palmer, Shirlette Ammons, Shana Tucker and Merritt herself - who will establish the structure and the practice of The Rosetta Circle during a week-long residency at the Rubenstein Arts Center. Staged in the Von der Heyden Studio Theater with the creative support of theatre director JaMeeka Holloway, this performance pilot will provide an intimate glimpse into an ambitious project in its early stages.

The Rosetta Circle aims to establish an ongoing social justice-minded performance collective rooted in the work of Rietz and the women of Rosetta Records - many recordings of which are stored in the Duke University Libraries' archives. "The Rosetta Circle is a creative response to Rosetta Reitz' musical archive of care - a performance collective of care," explains Merritt, "The structure and the practice of the circle is designed to speak back to the music business's harmful practices like racism, sexism, unfair wages and leaving women out of the story. Our work pursues music's ability to amplify public history and make change."