There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
A local poet and musician will channel dark emotions into joy and light during three shows in Bedford-Stuyvesant this month. Amy León’s album “Something Melancholy,” which she recorded a week after her mother passed away, will have its release party at C’mon Everybody tonight, with follow-up performances on Nov. 22 and Nov. 29. The emotionally raw album, which includes soul, spoken word, and a gospel choir, is about finding happiness during a dark time, said León.
“This album goes through moments of mourning but is truly the journey of joy seeking,” said León. “These melodies quite literally encapsulate my conversations with love and mortality — my own, my mother’s, and that of black and brown bodies everywhere.”
Caring for her mother during her final days inspired León to create an album in her memory.
“I would go to the hospital and sing to my mother and sometimes make rounds to the other patients in hospice,” said León. “It broke my heart that my mother would never witness my album come to life, so I sang them to her.”
And León’s struggles with a migraine disorder just made her more determined to complete the project.
“I was adamant about getting this album done because I needed to mourn through the music but also remind myself that these migraines did not have control of my career,” she said.
The nine tracks of “Something Melancholy” do not just include personal feelings — León takes on the wounds of history with her song “Burning in Birmingham.” The video for the song re-imagines the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama, and León says that she hopes the song brings a focus to victims of racial hatred that are too often forgotten.
“ ‘Burning in Birmingham’ was about bringing visibility to the women of the revolution,” said León. “The ones who died, the ones who lost, the ones who survived long enough to witness history repeat itself, the ones who are on the front lines now, whether they asked to be there or not.”
Although the album tackles heavy subjects, León hopes that listeners will understand its pathway to optimism during grief.
“Despite the necessary weight of this content, I hope that listeners find themselves reveling in celebration and revival,” she said. “May this album be a reminder of the sun and its innate capability to rise, despite the oftentimes violent tendencies of our world.”
Amy León at C’mon Everybody (325 Franklin Ave. between Clifton Place and Greene Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, www.cmone
©2016 Community News Group
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