These days, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil I am gearing up, as I have every World Cup since 1974 to spend countless hours behind a television screen overdosing on football.
I am a Trinidadian, and my friends and I grew up marveling at the beautiful game by watching the Brazilians. We saw the tail end of Pele’s magical career and came of age as Brazil’s 1982 squad – the most breathtaking team to not win the Cup – made us all more intelligent and imaginative by playing a brand of football that taught us for the first time something about sport and our innermost social, political, cultural, individual selves.
As players, we were learning (consciously) for the first time about rhythm’s role in the game, located as both are, in the body. We started studying Brazil’s practices and had our own aha moment when we saw them coordinate warm-ups to the sound of samba.
We recognized our similar African roots and the ways in which our game had to mimic and where it had to diverge. There would forever be a connection for us between sports and music.
Today, as a writer and sport geek, it is hard not to see how the American – in particular the African-American experience vindicates that understanding. Black athletes have played a blues informed baseball, a hip-hop informed basketball – all these endeavours informed by the spirit of innovating of the masters’ tools and syncretizing them with one’s own. As a sport fan, it is a glorious moment to be witnessing and studying the confluences.
And as an artist and music fan then, I’m excited about this year’s edition of Ladies’ First. Created about two years ago by Lynn Bechtold, Keve Willson and Milica Paranosic Ladies First is a concert series with an idea to connect women of different networks through music and performance. Each year they present a different angle, feature a different profession, and honor some major ladies in the field.
The series is co-produced by Composers Concordance and the Czech Center NY.
This year, their focus is on the connection between Music and Sports. It falls on the second day of FIFA World Cup Brazil, and it will present 11 compositions, each dedicated to and inspired by a different sport.
You have. Check. This. Out. Go see the concerts and meet inspiring athlete women.
Ladies First 2014
13 June 2013
Bohemian National Hall
321 E 73rd Street NYC 10021
Music and performances by Lynn Bechtold
, Ken Butler
), Vicky Chow
(Bang on Can
), Dan Cooper
(Ute Lemper/Sound Liberation/Erbium), Valerie Coleman
), Lori Cotler (AKA Loire)
, Jennifer DeVore
l), Patrick Grant
(Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars), Roxan Jurkevich
(Barcelona Symphony Orchestra), Milica Paranosic
, Gene Pritsker (Sound Liberation/Absolute Ensemble
), Mioi Takeda
), Michiyo Suzuki
, Keve Wilson
and Czech electroacoustic duo DVA