Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | 6:30 pm
Harpist Brandee Younger has spent fifteen years stretching boundaries both sonic and social by playing jazz, R&B and hip hop on the classical instrument and unearthing the underrepresented legacies of Black women harpists like Dorothy Ashby.
Born in Hempstead, NY, Younger discovered harp through a sample of Ashby used by rapper and producer Pete Rock. Seeing herself represented, Younger delved deeper into the instrument, leading her to record with Common, Lauryn Hill, and John Legend, and to record seven innovative albums of her own. In 2022, Younger became the first Black woman to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and was nominated for a NAACP Image Award.
Younger’s newest album, Brand New Life, revitalizes Ashby’s popular and previously unrecorded compositions. As she amplifies the trailblazing contributions of Ashby and the other Black woman harpists she inspired, Younger makes a thrilling case for harp’s place in popular culture today.
The 2023 Duke Arts at American Tobacco series features free live concerts every Wednesday in September at American Tobacco Campus in Downtown Durham. The series is presented by Duke Arts in partnership with American Tobacco Campus.
These outdoor concerts are free; no registration is needed. Bring a chair, a blanket, and visit Parker & Otis, Boricua Soul, Zweli Ekhaya and Mellow Mushroom and other Campus restaurants for drinks and dinner. Alcoholic beverages are allowed ONLY if they have been purchased from an establishment participating in The Bullpen Social District; all other alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited. The stage is located under the iconic Lucky Strike water tower, and the closest parking is at the South Parking Deck at ATC.
Concerts are weather permitting, with notice of cancellation announced at dukearts.org and via Duke Arts social media accounts on the day of the event.
Brandee Younger, Lift Every Voice & Sing
Brandee Younger, Unrest I
Brandee Younger - You’re A Girl For One Man Only
No harpist thus far has been more capable of combining all of the modern harp traditions — from Salzedo, through Dorothy Ashby, through Alice Coltrane — with such strength, grace and commitment.