Dates: December 14, 2023
Time: 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
There are more questions than answers on Leyla McCalla’s remarkable new album, Breaking The Thermometer. What does democracy look like? Who does it work for? How long can it last? On its surface, the record explores the legacy of Radio Haiti—Haiti’s first radio station to report the news in Haitian Kreyòl, the voice of the people—as well as the journalists who risked and lost their lives to broadcast it for nearly 50 years. But on a more fundamental level, the collection is a deeply personal reckoning with memory and identity, with the roles of artists and activists and immigrants in modern society, with the very notion of storytelling itself. In delving into the project, McCalla found herself forced to grapple with her own experiences as a Haitian-American woman, unraveling layers of marginalization and generations of repression and resolve as she searched for a clearer vision of herself and her purpose. The result is at once a work of radical performance art, historical scholarship, and personal memoir, a wide-ranging and powerful meditation on family and democracy and free expression that couldn’t have arrived at a more timely moment.