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FSP@PPG: Performing Hayti/Haiti/History

Dasha A. Chapman, Aya Shabu, & Leyla McCalla
June 14th, 2017
6:30 PM


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Power Plant Gallery (320 Blackwell Street, American Tobacco Campus, Durham)

Light refreshments served following the discussion

Join us for an evening with Haitian-American musician Leyla McCalla, and #PPGArtists-in-residence Dasha A. Chapman and Aya Shabu, in a program moderated by Duke professor Laurent Dubois. Through dialogue and performance, participants will explore the possibilities of excavating and expressing the linked histories of Durham's Hayti neighborhood and Haiti, the western hemisphere's first Black republic.


Dasha A. Chapman

Duke University

Dasha A. Chapman is the Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University, working alongside Duke’s Haiti Lab, the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, and Dance. Dasha’s research engages African diaspora theory, performance studies, ethnography, and the queer Caribbean. She received her PhD in Performance Studies from New York University, and is a dancer who works in African diasporic techniques and collaborates with choreographers in New York, Haiti, and Durham, NC. Her writing appears in The Black Scholar, Dance Chronicle, and Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory in a special issue she co-edited, Nou Mache Ansanm (We Walk Together): Queer Haitian Performance and Affiliation.

Leyla McCalla

A Haitian-American who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, Leyla McCalla plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. She has been deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk. A former member of The Carolina Chocolate Drops, her solo debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, was named 2013’s Album of the Year by the London Sunday Times and Songlines magazine. On her second solo album, A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey, she explores themes of social justice and pan-African consciousness through her own original songs, along with new arrangements of traditional songs from Louisiana and Haiti. Saying of her work that she "can’t help but be inspired by history, as well as what’s going on today," Leyla draws on her appreciation for Haiti's history of resistance to reimagine the country's traditional music in light of contemporary political upheaval in the United States and beyond, and to inspire her own new compositions.

Photo credit: Sarrah Danzinger

Aya Shabu

Aya Shabu is a professional dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist living in Durham, North Carolina. A 2012-2013 Emerging Artist Grant recipient, Aya has choreographed for some of the Triangle's best theatrical productions, most notably The Parchman Hour, I Love My Hair and The Brothers Size. An alum of the nationally and internationally recognized African American Dance Ensemble, Aya is currently a dancer and drummer with Shabutaso's The Magic of African Rhythms. Passionate about preserving African diaspora cultural traditions, Aya is the founder of Whistle Stop Tours, walking tours of African American neighborhoods. Whistle Stop Tours — Haiti to Hayti, Black Wall Street, Pauli Murray’s Place — strive to be a contributing voice in shaping the public memory of North Carolina's slave past and African American achievement.

Laurent Dubois

Duke University

Laurent Dubois is Professor of Romance Studies and History and the founder and Faculty Director of the Forum for Scholars & Publics at Duke University. From 2010 to 2013, he was the co-director of the Haiti Laboratory of the Franklin Humanities Institute. He is the author of six books, including Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (2004) and A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804 (2004), which won four book prizes including the Frederick Douglass Prize, and Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2012). He has also written about the politics of soccer, with Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (2010) and is the founding editor of then Soccer Politics Blog. His most recent book is The Banjo: America's African Instrument (2016). He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, and a Mellon New Directions Fellowship. He is also involved in several Digital Humanities projects, including the Soccer Politics blog and the Banjology website. His writings have appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Slate. He tweets @Soccerpolitics.