Matana Roberts

Matana Roberts at The Woodlands

The magic of The Woodlands and Bartram Gardens in a live setting with saxophonist, Matana Roberts.

I don’t know many people, like me, who hails from Southwest Philadelphia and have grown up loving the hidden urban bucolic joys of its wooded, flowery areas. Within the last several years, however, it seems as if new audiences and young outsider artists are finding their way. Like Joni Mitchell wrote with “Woodstock,” going “back to the garden.”

Whether it is ambient soundscapes, art installations and spoken word events presented at the early botanical wizard, curator and educator John Bartram’s Gardens off Elmwood Avenue and the 36 trolley route, or Sun Ra’s Arkestra raging long and hard at 4000 Woodland Avenue’s national historic landmark along the west bank of the Schuylkill River in The Woodlands, Southwest Philly and the farthest most western area of West Philadelphia are finding their way into this city’s millennial arts-loving collective consciousness.

The Woodlands tree-lined arboretum, its Federal-era styled mansion with matching carriage house and stable, and a garden landscape that goes on for days is the most elegant setting for this weekend’s event dedicated to the life of the late Breonna Taylor, and created, as a partnership with The Crossing, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, The Woodlands and Ars Nova Workshop. Together, they present multidisciplinary artist Matana Roberts’ “we got time.” honoring Taylor from June 11-13, 2021. 

Matana Roberts

Known a saxophonist and composer, Roberts’ new work is a sonic collage designed to reflect on “the loss of Taylor… while asking questions about the meaning of familiar words present in historic documents — the United States Declaration of Independence and the Preamble and First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the 19th-century hymn ‘Pass Over to The Rest,’ event data related to Taylor’s death, and a roll call of the names of Black women lost in similar ways.” 

Titled after the fact that grand jurors in Taylor’s case were told they wouldn’t be able to watch all the body camera footage due to time restraints in the trial (where one juror shot back, “We! Got! Time!”) Roberts writes of this college acting as what she calls a proud form of communal practice; one where “a scrap alone is of no use, but a scrap bounded together by others of its diverse kind will move beyond anything that it ever thought it could be.”

Matana Roberts

Roberts’ showcase is Friday, June 11 at 6:30 pm, Saturday, June 12 at 3:30 pm, Saturday, June 12 at 6:30 pm, and Sunday, June 13 at 3:00 pm. 

Tickets are available HERE…

Go for Matana Roberts’ dense and dark work, and stay for the gorgeous environs which house said soliloquy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected. Thank you for reading dosage MAGAZINE.