It’s 2019, and clarinetist, composer and pianist Angel Bat Dawid explodes onto the Chicago scene with her debut album, “The Oracle.” The album was recorded, overdubbed, and arranged almost entirely on a smartphone app—and initially intended as just a demo tape for assembling a larger project. Two years later in 2021, she is already considered a luminary in her field: the Chicago Tribune has declared her the city’s jazz musician of the year; she is a featured artist in Pitchfork’s 25 artists shaping the future; and she joins the lineup of critically acclaimed festivals such as Le Guess Who?, Big Ears, and Primavera Sound.
Angel’s unexpected success speaks to her remarkable voice—she delivers raw and unfiltered emotion with flood-like energy and honesty. “The Oracle” echoes ancestral agonies and reinterprets them through blues and spirituals, with influences ranging from Yusef Lateef to Mozart to George Clinton, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sun Ra. Now at the helm of her eight-piece ensemble, Tha Brotherhood, Angel sets out to map the Black experience in an ecstatic polyphonic performance that both liberates and exorcizes.
Angel is no stranger to church halls. The daughter of missionaries, she grew up in Atlanta, Kentucky, and Kenya before settling in Chicago’s South Suburbs. She was raised Baptist, but began coloring outside the lines of religious dogma in her teenage years. It’s no surprise that she sees all Black Music as being inherently spiritual, and a concert as indistinguishable from church service. It’s altogether fitting and incredibly thrilling to invite Angel Bat Dawid to the Sanctuary Hall at Bombyx as part of our Black History Month series. Join us for an unforgettable appointment with The Oracle Herself; with music as a tone-poem for memory, a lament to history, and a challenge to uplift Black lives in the face of racism and inequity.
The Black History Month series is sponsored by Ruthie Oland Real Estate, Davis Financial, and Living in the Light of Rare Diseases, and is co-presented with the David Ruggles Center and Antenna Cloud Farm.