Artist: d'bi. & The 333
Songs: Revolution Rising + Rest in Peace
Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement (SummerWorks), August 9, 2016.
Besides presenting the Audience Choice Award-winning "Afro-futurist dub-opera" Bleeders at the festival, d'bi.young anitafrika was also front and centre at this musical performance alongside a powerful backing band that featured some familiar faces such as Waleed Abdulhamid and Patrick O'Reilly. The space was left in its bare-bones black-box theatre configuration, which anitafrika used to her advantage, turning the zone between band and audience into a stage for some monologues between songs. But as a performer with immense presence, her focused eye-contact tended to create dialogical space rather than pulling all the attention onto herself diva-style.
This music pulled from her recent #CivilRightsMixtape EP and beyond, starting and ending with call-to-arms anthem "#BlackLivesMatter". The theme resonated throughout the set that racism and disempowerment must be faced with joy and heart-song to give the necessary energy for the rising-together. There were reflective and tender moments, such as the empathetic "Begging is a Ting" and "Rest in Peace" (which, besides its many spoken-word antecedants in dub poetry and talkover also nudged precisely into the same jangly-guitar sing-speak zone as The Blue Aeroplanes) and no shortage of massive energy-bursts like "Revolution Rising", which brought the audience out into that shared zone between stage and seats to sing together.