The Digital Sanctuaries Music Walk
A series of special events on the North Side this week will highlight the collaborative project of Susie Iberra and Roberto Rodriguez, an album titled Drum Codes. The album arrives as part of their digital musical initiative, Song of the Bird King, which is “dedicated to creating multi-media projects that feature contemporary and traditional music composed of Indigenous and Urban ecology.” The pair are percussionists in their own right, but together, they create musical soundscapes rooted in storytelling, “all built on rhythm and code, on mapping and connecting.” This free event, titled Digital Sanctuaries, takes place August 7-9 across seven historic sites in the North Side, including a new cultural center, Alphabet City.
According to the Post-Gazette, the endeavor will function as a literary center “that houses and supports writers who are persecuted in their native countries,” launched in conjunction with the City of Asylum Pittsburgh. You can read more about the project, which is poised to “anchor the Garden Theater Block development” here. City of Asylum creates a “thriving community for writers, readers and neighbors” via their various programming, which includes writing residencies, a summer festival, and this event, Ibarra and Rodriguez’s ambitious, Digital Sanctuaries, a modular music app that “chronicles the historical memory encoded in urban environments while building audio-visual havens for harried city dwellers.”
According to Iberra, this specific installment of Digital Sanctuaries, was commissioned by The City of Asylum along with the National Endowment for the Arts and Art Place America “to create a seven-site garden to garden walk that engaged listeners with Poetry and Music.” City of Asylum’s Executive Director Henry Reese chose the poets and the speakers for each of the sites, which includes Richard Wilbur, Toi Derricotte, Wislawa Szymborska, Dunya Mikhail, Osama Alomar, Muriel Rukeyser, Osip Mandelstam, Willa Cather. The complimentary mobile app, Iberra states, “allows people to get out and walk , engage with a virtual and physical space in a different way and have this in their pocket or palm of their hand.”
Iberra is very excited to host the event in Pittsburgh, and believes “I find it to be an incredibly interesting American story. The City Of Asylum’s mission is about giving a voice to people. They have also brought the world to the North Side.”
For more information on the event, including specific locations for each of the readings, visit their website.