Live in Concert

Live in Concert

By Harmony Holiday & Fred Moten

The following video is a recording of Live in Concert, a listening session with Harmony Holiday and Fred Moten, presented as a live stream on August 17, 2021. During the listening session, Holiday and Moten asked what we hear in live music in the pandemic era, after months without sweaty audiences and deafening speakers.

Documentation from Live in Concert, August 17, 2021. Edited by Juan Pedro Agurcia.

With Harmony Holiday & Fred Moten 7:00 p.m. EDT Register for this free event

For Live in Concert, Harmony Holiday and Fred Moten will listen to recordings of live performances and talk about how they sound after so many months without sweaty audiences and deafening speakers. Holiday and Moten, who have been conducting listening sessions via Zoom since last fall, will mark the tentative return of public gatherings by speaking about the possibility of basking in liveness without being overcome by anxiety about returning to isolation. They’ll ask: Why do we yearn for the experience of seeing performers (and joining audiences) in the flesh? How do live recordings elicit some of the same feelings as standing before the stage at a club or merging with the crowd at an arena—and how do they merely remind us of what we’re missing? After the pandemic wanes, will live performances and audiences inspire the familiar sense of abandon, or will they become subdued and antiseptic, characterized by QR codes and digital surveillance? How will the recordings of post-pandemic concerts sound?

Live in Concert takes up the concerns of Medium Rotation, Triple Canopy’s new podcast, which asks how we understand ourselves and others through listening, especially given the pandemic-era vogue for liveness at home. In the second episode, Holiday speaks about Black performers whose songs and struggles reflect the ongoing trauma of the “African holocaust.”

Live in Concert is free and will be hosted on Zoom. Registration is required to receive the meeting link.

Register for this free event.

Live in Concert is part of Triple Canopy’s twenty-sixth issue, Two Ears and One Mouth, which receives support from Jane Hait and Ana Sokoloff, founding members of Triple Canopy Director’s Circle; the Stolbun Collection; Agnes Gund; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

  • Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, and archivist. She’s the author of Maafa (Fence Books, 2021) A Jazz Funeral for Uncle Tom (Birds, LLC, 2019); Hollywood Forever (Fence Books, 2016); Go Find Your Father/A Famous Blues (Ricochet Editions, 2014); Negro League Baseball (Fence Books, 2011); and The Black Saint and the Sinnerman, an LP composed of sound and speech that assimilates Charles Mingus’s classic 1963 album. She runs Afrosonics, an archive of jazz and everyday diaspora poetics, and Mythscience, an imprint that reissues work from the archive. She is currently working on a collection of essays, Love Is War for Miles, and a biography of the jazz singer Abbey Lincoln. She has received the Motherwell Prize from Fence Books and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, a fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts, and a fellowship from the Schomburg Center Scholars-in-Residence Program.
  • Fred Moten lives in New York City and is a professor of performance studies at New York University. He is the author of several books of criticism and poetry, including In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003), B Jenkins (2010), The Service Porch (2016), Black and Blur (2017), Stolen Life (2018), and The Universal Machine (2018). He is also the coauthor, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (2013) and A Poetics of the Undercommons (2016).