Photo by Robert Torres PhotographyPhoto by Robert Torres Photography | Castle of our Skins, Secret Desire to be Black
Photo by Robert Torres Photography

Castle of our Skins

2019-2020 Music Resident

Company Statement

Born out of the desire to foster cultural curiosity, Castle of our Skins is a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. From classrooms to concert halls, Castle of our Skins invites exploration into Black heritage and culture, spotlighting both unsung and celebrated figures of past and present.

Company Story

Castle of our Skins is a concert and educational series committed to celebrating Black artistry and encouraging exploration into Black history and heritage. Dedicated to fostering cultural curiosity through music, Castle of our Skins is deeply aware the lack of equity in composer representation in concert halls and the omission of important stories and figures in Black history. This lack of equal inclusion is one we hope to change. Through carefully designed educational workshops and creative concert programs, we aim to highlight the achievements of Black artists and historical figures who have slipped through the cracks of fame and history. Now entering our 7th season, Castle of our Skins is continuing to change the cultural inequities deeply embedded in Classical music and highlight the beauty found within a richly diverse culture.

As a Celebrity Series of Boston Neighborhood Artist, Castle of our Skins has worked with and performed for communities and youth organizations throughout Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury. Exploring concepts of freedom, culture, and Black excellence in music, we have collaborated with such organizations as the: Handel + Haydn Society, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestras, among others. Currently a Music-Ensemble-in-Residence at the Boston Center for the Arts, we will continue to present interdisciplinary concerts ranging from themes of Black love, African American quilting tradition, and mother Africa. Deeply committed to education, Castle of our Skins has held educational workshops at various Boston public libraries and schools, and throughout Sofia, Bulgaria among other places for youth and adults alike. Our concert programs have been presented at the Roxbury YMCA as part of a 2015/2016 Cultural Ensemble-in-Residence position; museums such as Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and Museum of African American History; venues such as Hibernian Hall, Roxbury Community College and Franklin Park; and college at Gettysburg College, Brandeis University, and Keene State College as part of multi-day residencies involving masterclasses, lectures, panel discussions and concert programs.

Tell us about your current season of performances?

Please visit our website for our full listing of thought-provoking concerts and educational workshops: www.castleskins.org

Tell us about the concert you are presenting as a part of your BCA residency?

This June, we will present our first ever interdisciplinary concert focused entirely on Africa: poetry, music, multimedia, food and history rolled into one celebration on June 12, 2020 at 7:30pm in the Plaza Theatre at BCA.

What makes your company unique?

Castle of our Skins takes its name and inspiration from the famed poet Nikki Giovanni’s “poem for nina.” The poem beautifully captures the sense of adoration, respect, and pride for the very fabric that makes us who we are: our skin. Love, respect, and celebration are central to our work in uplifting Black artistry and excellence. We use the music of Black composers from across the diaspora, stories past and present, and themes relevant to today in our thought-provoking concerts and interactive educational workshops.

Who does your art speak to? Are there communities you work within?

The cultural representation we bring center stage speaks to youth of color; the histories we highlight speak to intergenerational audiences; the music and arts we combine speak to creatives and non-creatives alike. Everyone is welcome to join in our celebration of Black excellence and artistry!

Tell us about the most memorable/impactful piece that you have created.

MassQ Ball 2017: Convergence, a multi-disciplinary, multi-sensory art happening where attendees became walking works of art. A project we helped bring to life with visual artist and visionary designer Daniel Callahan (and one we are scheming to bring back to Boston in the near future. Stay tuned!)