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Climbing PoeTree At The Holyoke War Memorial

Climbing PoeTree at the Holyoke War Memorial

Sunday February 26, 2017 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Wistariahurst, in collaboration with the Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series, presents Climbing PoeTree at the War Memorial, located at 310 Appleton St, Holyoke. Featuring an opening performance with Extraordinaiire. Concert is FREE and open to all.

Over the last 13 years, Climbing PoeTree has infused our movements for justice with healing and imagination, inspiring thousands through their award-winning multimedia theater, dual-voice spoken word, visual art, sustainable touring, and community organizing. Co-creators Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman are cultural architects committed to reframing the story through multi-voice spoken word, hip hop, world music, and multimedia theater that translate deep research around the most pressing issues of our time into stunning artistry that catalyzes their audiences to activate the transformation they wish to cultivate within themselves and their communities.

Alixa and Naima have independently organized 30 national and international tours, taking their work from South Africa to Cuba, the UK to Mexico, and throughout the U.S. including 11,000 miles toured on a bus converted to run on recycled vegetable oil. Climbing PoeTree has been experienced at diverse venues from the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the United Nations, Harvard University to Rikers Island Prison.

They have been featured alongside powerhouses such as Alice Walker, Danny Glover, Cornel West, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, Little Dragon, Naomi Klein, and Angela Davis, who remarked, “Each time I have the pleasure of attending a performance by Climbing PoeTree, I feel enriched, renewed, and inspired. Alixa and Naima insist that poetry can change the world — and it is true that the urgency, power and beauty of their words impel us to keep striving for the radical futures toward which they gesture.”

Performance will feature an opening with Justin Chavez, stage name “Extraordinaiire,” a hip-hop artist from Holyoke, Massachusetts. Growing up in the Flats in Holyoke, he gained a lot of support and recognition from childhood friends. He began doing music again in the beginning of 2015 after almost a 7 year break. He released his first mixtape after returning titled “Small City Big Dreams” that reinstated his name as a local artist, and before the summer of 2016 he released his 1st mastered mixtape titled “Made In Holyoke” which created a buzz around his city.

Following Extraordinaiire will be a perfomance by Tuzko, a Spanglish rap artist who preaches life, education, and liberation. Tuzko & the Gringos are a collection of UMass Amherst musicians bringing the experience of Tuzkonian philosophy to the people – Guitar, Bass, Saxophone, Keyboards, and Drum back up an already hyped Tuzko for a jazz/R&B Hip Hop set.

Feignberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Department of History. Supported by CMASS at UMASS, Umass Black Heritage Month 2017, and NEPR.

The Holyoke War Memorial (also known as the Soldier’s Memorial Building) was built in 1936-1937 as a project of The City of Holyoke and the Public Works Administration during the Great Depression. It was constructed to honor veterans of the First World War and to serve the city as a community center. Today it is overseen by the Soldier’s War Memorial Commission and offers crucial services to veterans of all wars.

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