Photo courtesy of Irene Young Photography.
Photo courtesy of Irene Young Photography.
Tammy Hall |

The 4 part video / podcast series features music from jazz, hip hop, Mexican, and Chinese cultures.

By Michael P Coleman

In the midst of a socially distant global pandemic, The San Francisco Symphony has miraculously managed to bring us a little closer together with Currents.

The superb, four episode digital series shares the music and tells the stories of a variety of Bay Area communities, while highlighting the influences of jazz, hip hop, Mexican, and Chinese cultures. The series is available via video or podcast.

In all honesty, I expected to be moved by Currents’ jazz and hip hop episodes. I did not expect to tear up during the Mexican and Chinese segments, as I did this morning. The series reminded me that music is the ultimate unifier.

“Once people have heard music from another culture, they tend to integrate it into what they’re doing,” says Michael Morgan, curator & host of Currents.

Morgan also is the Music Director at the Oakland Symphony and Artistic Director of the Oakland Youth Orchestra. He’s been connected with the San Francisco Symphony since 1994, when he first led Concerts For Kids performances.

“I am thrilled to be helping the San Francisco Symphony share all the wonderful things they do with a wider and more diverse audience,” Morgan says. “In this series, an array of Bay Area artists perform with members of the SF Symphony and we visit locations that played a role in the creation of these various styles of music, all of which together are part of the musical atmosphere of San Francisco. With the Symphony, we have musicians with almost every musical interest. We wanted to share our broad interests with our audience, old and new.”

The SF Symphony is sure the attract new fans with Currents. It’s hard to pick a favorite episode of the four, but I have to tell you about pianist Tammy L. Hall, who’s featured in the series’ Episode II — Bay Area Blue Notes.

“Jazz is honest, and all inclusive,” Hall says. “It’s radical. It’s about the truth. Jazz is black American music. And jazz is an honor for me to be able to express.”

Read MPC’s full feature, and hear more from Hall — including the moment in Currents when she really connected with the writer!  

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 Michael P Coleman is a freelance writer who, as a kid, talked to strangers and got punished. Today, he talks to strangers and gets published.  Follow his blog, his IG and his Twitter

 

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