On October 12, 2016, composer, pianist and director Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes released his striking and acclaimed project, The Transformations Suite. Continuing in the tradition of artists like Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday, and Tupac Shakur, the suite paints a musical picture of the current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States and beyond.
Pinderhughes has spent the past five years writing, recording, and producing The Transformations Suite, which combines music, theatre, and poetry to examine the radical history of resistance within communities of the African diaspora. The themes of the suite move through five distinct phases: Transformation, History, Cycles, Momentum (parts 1 and 2), and Ascension.
Within this framework, the project connects contemporary issues, such as the prison industrial complex and the Black Lives Matter movement, with the history of revolutionary movements of color. The composition builds a bridge between the past and the future – all within the context of poignant, beautiful, and sweeping moments created by the suite’s music. The powerful lyrics consist mostly of original poems by actor and poet Jeremie Harris, augmented by contributions from Pinderhughes, Saul Williams, and Tupac Shakur.
The Transformations Suite has been performed throughout South America and the U.S., at venues including the American Museum of Natural History, the Harlem Arts Festival, Juilliard, UC Irvine, NYU, Joe’s Pub, the Jazz Gallery, MoMA, and Columbia University. Most recently, the project was featured as part of Blackout for Human Rights’ #MLKNow event which was viewed by over 500,000 people and trended #1 on Twitter.
Centered in the belief that there is a soundtrack to every revolution, the vision for The Transformations Suite is that it will foster dialogue on social justice issues throughout the world, show how art can create social change, contribute to the powerful growing movement on behalf of black lives around the country, and empower all people – especially youth – to make their voices heard.
The Transformations Suite was released worldwide on October 12, 2016.
You can find the album on iTunes (smarturl.it/tsuite_applemusic), Bandcamp (smarturl.it/tsuite_bandcamp), and all other outlets.
The first video debuted on Afropunk: https://www.facebook.com/AFROPUNK/videos/10153917460266623/.
A review of the project by Mic: https://mic.com/articles/151396/samora-pinderhughes-calls-for-reappraisal-of-black-lives-value-in-transformation-suite#.t8b6PNpex.
A review in Vibe: http://www.vibe.com/2016/10/samora-the-transformation-suite-album/
The release of The Transformations Suite was preceded by an event called “Black Male Re-Imagined”, a project co-presented by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, where The Transformations Suite served as the prism through which artists and activists reflected on the current state of our nation. This event, doubling as the album’s release show, took place on October 11 at The Kennedy Center. Footage from the event is available here: http://library.fora.tv/conference/black_male_re_imagined_iii
You can also find the singles “Momentum, pt. 2” and “Cycles” for free on Soundcloud; and special free bundles of the whole album will be available for youth organizations, activist groups, and schools.
“Wonderful…an absolutely gorgeous piece of music. A huge undertaking; a nuanced, delicate, and powerful perspective on heavy and important topics.”
– Anna Deavere Smith
“An urgent and powerful record by one of this generation’s most captivating composers. Not to mention an incredibly formidable player – Samora’s command of the piano is out of this world! A must have record for anyone interested in progress. Musically or otherwise.”
– Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
“Samora Pinderhughes calls for reappraisal of black life’s value in ‘The Transformations Suite’… it is a five-part tone poem, arranged over meticulously created big band jazz instrumentals, with aims to provide a motivational and emotional engine to push forward the mission of Black Lives Matter.”
See The Transformations Suite live during the 2016 Student of Color Conference, Saturday, Nov. 19th at 8-11pm
Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes