An-Lin Bardin, cello
Naomi Niskala, piano
The Bardin-Niskala Duo performs an evening of west coast premiers of works by ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) composers, each inspired by a childhood song or folk song from the composer’s heritage. The Duo uses these pieces to open dialogues with and amongst audience members on the notions of homeland and belonging, the complexity and uniqueness of various cultures, and on the challenges of navigating life in this country as a bi-cultural, multicultural, or minority person. Included in the program are commissioned works by Yiheng Yvonne Wu (Taiwanese American), Juantio Becenti (Navajo/Diné), Miguel del Aguila (Uruguayan), Michael-Thomas Foumai (Chinese-Samoan), and Jean “Rudy” Perrault (Haitian). Other composers on the program are Chihchun Chi-sun Lee (Taiwanese-American), William Grant Still (African American) and Reena Esmail, (Indian American).
The Bardin-Niskala Duo (cello and piano) uses contemporary classical music to explore identity, fight racism, promote cultural awareness, and celebrate humanity during this time of division and racial violence. We commission ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) composers to write pieces for us that incorporate folksongs and children’s songs of the composer’s particular cultures.
Our programs are offered in concert halls, high schools, universities, and community centers, and range from traditional concerts to more informal performances mingled with open dialogue between us and audience members. Each performed work is preceded by a video from the composer, in which they speak about their work, what culture(s) and race(s) they most identify with, their (often ongoing) search for a sense of identity and belonging, and the importance of music for opening up communication, expression, and dialogue.