The May Day Orchestra dropped me a line a few weeks ago to report that it's penned another "folk opera" and plans to debut it on Friday, October 30, at the Black Bear Bakery. Details!
The first May Day Orchestra project concerned Lucy Parsons and the anarchist labor leaders of Chicago in the 1880s. A recording of this material is available as a vinyl album and will be available as a digital download in November.
This next May Day Orchestra project has a different theme and a different sound. The subject is Ota Benga, a pygmy who was taken from the Belgian colony in the Congo in the early 1900s and brought to the World's Fair in Saint Louis. The songs tell the story of the Congo and follow Ota Benga's journey to a strange new home in the United States. The May Day Orchestra, this time calling itself "The Ota Benga Family Band," will perform this new piece of music in the style of the first "folk opera." The band includes Tim Rakel (Bad Folk, The Union Electric), Kevin Buckley (Grace Basement) and three members of the band Tenement Ruth: Melissa Anderson, Dave Anderson and Mary Williams.