What's Next For MCLA Presents!


MCLA Presents! will turn down the lights to dim on Tuesday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. when MCLA's Gallery 51 dedicates a night of spoken word and poetry to the life and works of the great poet Sekou Sundiata, an internationally known poet who wrote for print, performance, music and theater as an educator and as an artist-activist.

"Sekou Sundiata Evening of Poetry and Spoken Word" will feature poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist Carl Hancock Rux, Marafanyi percussion group and MCLA students Benjamin Boyd '09 and Eli Bulno '09, who will recite their original poetry.

"It is truly great to be able to dedicate this evening to one of America's great poets and performers, Sekou Sundiata.  Many have seen his work or met him at performances throughout the Berkshires including the Mahaiwe, MASS MoCA and Williams College. To be able to carry on his legacy at MCLA is an honor" said Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "But folks should be sure to reserve early, as we purposely opted for the intimate setting of MCLA Gallery 51."

Sundiata's last work was "the 51st (dream) state", a fully staged work exploring what it means to be an American in the wake of 9/11. Clips from the "the 51st (dream) state" will be shown throughout the evening.

Rux began his career as a playwright with "Song of Sad Young Men," produced off-Broadway in 1990, directed by Tony award winning actress Trazana Beverly and starring actor Isaiah Washington. The play, a social commentary on the effect of AIDS and homelessness on the African American community, was written in response to Rux's older brother's death from AIDS in 1989.  

Rux received a BESSIE© award for his direction of the 1994 Lisa Jones/Alva Rogers dance musical, "Stained."

Then, on Sunday, April 26, the intense energy and raw sound of The Alchemystics, Black River Sound, The Robanic Reggae Band and more will fill the MCLA Quad in an outdoor concert - the UMOJA Reggae Celebration!

Secor said that The Alchemystics' unique sound and explosive energy is addictive and enveloping; a night never ends without the whole crowd dancing and shouting out responses to emcee Phaze's calls.

With a melodic fusion of reggae, hip hop and Motown, Black River Sound consists of Hendricks siblings Jon, Holly, Julianna, Sarah and Josiah, who were raised in a musical family of 10. They grew up traveling the world, playing music and performing. This experience contributes to the diverse and multicultural sound that is manifested in their music.

The only authentic reggae band in upstate New York, Robanic Reggae Band plays a wide and colorful range of Caribbean music including old-school reggae, traditional rock-steady, ska, calypso, as well as the latest dance-hall sound from Jamaica. The five-member ensemble is made up of talented musicians with decades of experience.

This event is co-sponsored by MCLA's African, Latino, Asian and Native American Association (ALANA), UMOJA Reggae Celebration is the culmination of a month-long celebration of multicultural diversity on the MCLA campus.

Tickets to both events for general admission are $12, $5 for MCLA faculty and staff and members and MCLA students are free. To reserve tickets, call (413) 662-5204 for more information, go to presents .