"In the business of surviving, it is easy to forget that almost half of our lives is spent dreaming."
The pandemic came to stay for awhile and settled us down, grounded like teenagers in some enduring season beyond the usual markers of weather and time. Southern Cultures, at the beginning of the stay-at-home orders, invited some of our friends in North Carolina, many out of work and not touring for the unforeseeable future, to share performances based around the theme of comfort.
And then came news of the senseless lynchings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, shocking us out of our isolation. The violence of white supremacy has drawn us from our houses and, masked, into the streets. We retreated into lockdown together, staying in our respective solitudes, but this reckoning has shifted us again, further clarifying historical truths and sweeping away any complacency that shielded some of us and made targets of others.
As I write this, we are living in a world in which lightning bugs illuminate over green tomatoes, memaws sew masks from scrap fabric, and people scrawl lawyers’ numbers on their arms with Sharpies. The nights, thick with honeysuckle, are also choked with tear gas. The recipes being shared now are home remedies for surviving weapons of war. There is nothing normal about this country’s reality. Where is safety, where is comfort, for BIPOC in our country? As Lord Fess says in the intro to his video, “The subject matter is comfort, but for me it’s about not being too comfortable in my own skin, being a Black male in the South.”
Recorded in the early days of self-isolation, these musicians and artists open us to the transformative magic of music and rhythm. It’s so hard to remember that there could be, there must be, other ways to live. In the business of surviving, it is easy to forget that almost half of our lives is spent dreaming. We invite you to dream and envision alongside these artists and their explorations of comfort.