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As part of WQXR’s Artist Propulsion Lab series, Layale Chaker presents Radio Afloat, a reflection on the intertwined destinies of people and the natural world, which manifest even louder in times of collective pain; a commentary on the ebb and flow of politics of power and conflict that further the vulnerability of the land and those who tend to it.
Conceived as a suite of intersecting movements, it echoes “The Trace of Blue Passion,” a poem by Lebanese author Ounsi el-Hage:
“… And just as birds flock wisely
I trekked from ocean to ocean
From peak to branch
From night to night to night
Until I was hit
With the prestige of sweet madness.
After we witnessed the extent of birds’ wisdom
I remind you that it is in the nature of creatures
To harm themselves.
I was a turtle on the rocks
Engraved on tree trunks and bolsters
Engraved on rings
Engraved on the ankles of mountains.
And I saw space
So I saw space
And when I saw its beauty, I fell in love with a dove who carried me.
And when she smelled, adoringly, the earth on me
She laid me down in the soil
And from the dove I raised myself…”
(translated from Arabic by Sara Elkamel)
Layale Chaker, Violin
Phillip Golub, Keyboard
John Hadfield, Percussion
Sam Minaie, Bass
Jake Charkey, Cello