Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger: Going Home
In Going Home, classically-trained vocalist and singer-songwriter Keisha Hutchins Hirlinger examines how African-American musical art forms have functioned throughout history and across the Diaspora, and considers what it means to be Black in various homelands, where some of those living the Black experience still do not feel completely at home and welcome. Audiences will journey with Keisha and other guest artists through music, dance and poetry to ask “What is home?” and “What is Blackness?“, and trouble the notions both outside of and within the Black Diaspora that try to define us in easily packaged monolithic terms.
Fans who’ve just discovered Keisha Hutchins’s smooth, heady blend of folk, soul, and alt-country might be forgiven if they are surprised to learn that the Philadelphia native didn’t learn her craft in a smoky barroom. Classically trained at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory, Keisha has been exploring, blending, and bending genres from Carnegie Hall to the clubs of Philadelphia. In addition to her first group, the trip-hop electronic artists Vanishing Peoples of the Earth, the soprano has performed with the Philadelphia Singers, the former resident choir of the Philadelphia Orchestra, for seven seasons, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as hip-hop producer Justin Gilmore of KRU records, dance music producer and DJ MacGuyver, New York composer Andrew Shapiro, and New Orleans composer and trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe. Her eclectic talents extend offstage: she is a music educator, serving as the Lower School Music Teacher at Abington Friends School and has received the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change grant for women who use their art to create social change. Keisha recently collaborated with dancer, choreographer and 2016 Pew Fellow, Lela Aisha Jones and her company Flyground, in the premiere of the company’s piece, Release Mourning Clearing, presented by Intercultural Journeys (2016).
Keisha’s debut solo album, Dedicated, moved the Philadelphia City Paper to name her one of its Great Unknown Artists in 2006. Her latest album, Press Play, draws on a wide range of influences, creating a mesmerizing work that defies categorization.