March 13 marks two years since the killing of Breonna Taylor. In her honor, on March 29, Opera vocalist and activist Davóne Tines will showcase his audio-visual installation OpenProcess at Lincoln Center in New York City. During the immersive event, attendees will experience Tines’ tribute to Taylor with his single VIGIL from his forthcoming album.
In an interview with Blavity, Tines shared the inspiration for the tribute.
“In terms of the history of that song, long story short, it first came out of improvisation with a close friend and colleague, Igee Dieudonné. He came here from Amsterdam. We kind of have a musical process of, you know, head to the studio late in the evening, to just set a bunch of different moods and improvise within them. So the song was born out of improvisation between Fauré, a French impressionist composer, and gospel music,” he said.
“We improvised this song and it came out fully formed in the first improvisation which is very rare,” he continued. “It was a very beautiful experience to have. He just started playing the piano for me to start singing this music and that was the text that came out. But that song came out about a year before the tragic death of Breonna Taylor. In the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of engaging that death, even months after it actually happened, I was asked to create a video performance as part of an online music series. So I chose that song because for me, it provided a meditative space to engage what was going on in society and within me.”
Tines also discussed his music and what inspires him to create art that showcases the Black experience.
“What I remember most clearly is my first exposure to symphonic music. When I was in middle school, we took a field trip to the Kennedy Center to hear the National Symphony. It was one of the most unique experiences I’d ever had in my life up until that date,” he said.
“I then started to find myself through voice. I started to hone those skills which I started to do more formally in college with a voice teacher. I realized that I actually wanted to pursue opera, and that it was something that I could actually see myself doing, and that came from working behind the scenes for so long. I wanted to continue a legacy of Black people telling our stories through my voice,” he shared.
As for what fans can expect of the OpenProcess experience, Tines said “it’s an ongoing project that wants to explore ways of connecting audiences to artists and the material that they are performing.”
“So that will take many incarnations as we continue to clarify what the idea is and the best way to translate it to people. But this current installation of OpenProcess is kind of a showing of our initial explorations. So content gathered from a number of experts, and each of those experts’ content, allowing a different pathway for a different sort of audience member to enter into the thing that’s in the middle,” he said.
The general public can experience the audio-visual installation at the Atrium on March 28 from 1:00 pm–10:00 pm, and on March 29 from 8:00 am–6:00 pm.