Carlos Simon’s new “Requiem for the Enslaved”

Posted on: July 27, 2022

“In 1838, Georgetown University was facing bankruptcy. Their solution? To raise funds by selling 272 enslaved men, women and children of African descent to sugarcane plantations in Louisiana,” writes Jennifer Reason in Friday’s (7/22) Capital Radio (Sacramento, CA). “Composer Carlos Simon is setting out to shed light on this abhorrent event with a new work called, ‘Requiem for the Enslaved.’… It’s a 21st-century rendering comprised of a chamber ensemble, an improvised trumpet, spoken word from hip-hop artist Marco Pave … Gregorian Chant, and Simon on piano. Georgetown asked Simon to compose ‘Requiem’ after discovering such a horrific event in their own history…. In preparation, Simon went down to the very plantations in Louisiana where the group of enslaved Black Americans were sent…. During the visit, he also looked up the descendants of the enslaved people…. He said, ‘I wanted to get their blessing. I wanted to make sure that I was first saying things that they thought would be respectful.’ … According to Simon, the overall purpose of ‘Requiem’ is to commemorate those who have passed on and to give life to the memory of those who were enslaved.” The work was recently recorded on the Decca label.