One of the driving features of CAP UCLA’s 2020-21 Season is The Tune In Festival; a convergence of music and poetry in the time of change. Tune In is a four-day convening of artists, bands, ensembles and soloists from across the U.S., Canada and Latin America performing together in a grand gesture of cross-cultural solidarity that shares the time-honored tradition of music and poetry as a wellspring of resilience, resistance and inspiration. Every generation and era that ushers forth the human need for major change has an anthem or verse that call people to stand up. The Tune In Festival is chock full of song lines and rhymes from some of our most revered voices who speak from the rousing perspective of activating truth.
I knew we needed folk singers and poets in the fall of 2020—long before COVID-19, the despicable tragedy of George Floyd and so many others and the escalated tension that befalls us during a “normal” Presidential election, let alone this one. I started talking with musicians and poets across genres and generations, with a mind towards re-booting The Tune In Festival I had brought with me to L.A. after presenting it at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. What is the music we want to hear from others’ struggles for human rights and justice? What are the poets of today speaking to? What do we want to remind one another of and inspire us as we look to the future? Not surprisingly, Kronos Quartet was thinking along the same lines and were developing a concert to celebrate the incredible life and music of Pete Seeger for the 100 year anniversary of his birth. “We Shall Overcome” is an anthem for the ages and across the ongoing struggle for civil rights that continue to be sought by successive generations. As Kronos planned their concert for CAP UCLA, I started working on building the festival around these shared aims.
Tune In is the voice of right now speaking up and out for the unmet needs and rights of so many in the Black and brown communities in America since our founding. What these music-makers and poets address through their lives and experiences are the anthems that say ENOUGH. Conjoined through successive generations of music, poetry and song, they inspire us all to push forward for the changes we have always known to be urgent.
Tune In is also an incredible celebration of the voices of artists who can inspire us to rise up, tune in, resist, keep pushing and support one another as society’s other narratives try to push us in the opposite direction.
This is the soundtrack of getting out the vote! This is the soundtrack of now! And it is going to be joyous!
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance