On the day that Freddie Gray died, April 19, local composer Judah Adashi premiered a piece called "Rise" in Washington, D.C. The piece, which was a collaboration with poet Tameka Cage Conley for two choirs and seven instrumentalists, bears "witness to our country's fraught journey from Selma to Ferguson and beyond," in Adashi's words. In a note on his Facebook page, Adashi wrote about the connection between the inspiration behind "Rise" and the recent events in Baltimore:
"['Rise'] begin[s] on March 7, 1965, with a nonviolent march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. John Lewis and his fellow marchers were met by state troopers, one of whom struck Lewis in the head with a billy club and fractured his skull. 25 years old at the time, Lewis did not expect to survive, much less become a 15-term Congressman serving under the first African-American president. Could he have imagined an eerily similar phalanx of militarized police in Baltimore 50 years later, responding to largely peaceful protests following the needless arrest and death of another 25 year-old Black man?"
Adashi recorded the invocation that opens "Rise" with Chris Shiley, a Peabody alum, and released it yesterday as a separate track. "The same music returns in the fifth movement, called for by Dr. Cage Conley's words: 'A horn tells us, / a brother has fallen, again...' I share it with you as a lament, a prayer, and a call to action, for Freddie Gray and for Baltimore," Adashi wrote in an email release.
'Rise (Invocation),' which you can stream below, is available to purchase on Bandcamp for $1 or more, with all proceeds going to the family of Freddie Gray to cover medical and burial costs.
<a href="http://judahadashi.bandcamp.com/track/rise-invocation">Rise (Invocation) by Judah Adashi</a>