Creativity Born of the Detroit Experience
Virgil Taylor, creator and curator of the Urban Requiem Project discusses his influences as an artist in Detroit, how the Urban Requiem Project comes together to create experiences and what to expect at Scene + Unseen on November 16, 2018.
1. Where do you see yourself fitting into the framework of what is considered to be "new" or "contemporary" music/art? Where do you see yourself fitting into the music/art scene of Detroit and the surrounding area?
I've never given much thought to any labels regarding the music and art scenes in Detroit. I grew up in the Motown Family and was part of the on-going music community in Detroit over the years. What's happening today in Detroit is a continuation of the creative force that has been here since the great migration. We now see a broader acceptance among creative types whereby we're acknowledging the potential and endless possibilities when we are more open to other types of creative expression. UR313 is experimenting with collaboration that involves various and varying styles of creativity including classical music, R&B, poetry, electronic music, performance art and videography, among many others. We strive to discover commonalities that bring people together.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY IN DETROIT IS A CONTINUATION OF THE CREATIVE FORCE THAT HAS BEEN HERE SINCE THE GREAT MIGRATION
Detroit has always been on the cutting edge creatively. The resurgence of the city is opening new opportunities for artists, but I see this as a continuation of what's always existed here.
3. What about Industrial Detroit made it a source of inspiration?
The inspiration is the result of the experiences of our ancestors. Some musical styles evolved out of the church and much of that was associated with the struggle of a people to be free. There's the African roots that are associated with gospel music and folk music. Classical music evolved from European traditions and has historically been associated with the monied class (aristocracy). Barry Gordy and Motown utilized classical musicians in Motown music, and much of the Motown sound was associated with sounds of the factory. Electronic music is another evolution of the creativity born of the Detroit experience.
The members of the Urban Requiem Project are a diverse group with varying backgrounds and specific areas of expertise and interest. From the classical background of Rick Robinson to the poetic stylings of Andre Johnson aka "Kevlar Afrika." Joseph "Amp" Fiddler is a renowned keyboardist who has received critical acclaim as a member of Parliament Funkadelic and as a Neo-Soul artist. There are a host of other remarkable artists that contribute to the UR313 project, and each member has a unique perspective and various talents.
EACH MEMBER HAS A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
Your question actually summed up the performance; the audience will experience artistic storytelling. The members of the Requiem Project are artists who always strive to entertain as well as enlighten their audience.