US-based composer, drummer, activist, and educator Dr. Mark Lomax, II has created Four Women. A multidimensional new work featuring a score composed by Lomax and performances by members of UCelli: The Columbus Cello Quartet. Four Women is presented as an hour-long documentary, available to stream at https://marklomaxii.com/four-women-film beginning on February 1.
This dynamic musical experience offers a graphical portrait of each woman depicting her strength, leadership, faith, and selflessness. Each segment is narrated by Lomax. The film features original artwork and commentary by artist Richard Duarte Brown, who created paintings of each woman that help connect her identity with her story.
Four Women is a four-movement work performed by four female virtuoso cellists in honour of four women who made significant contributions to our world:
Queen Nzinga (1583-1633) of the Mbundu people (present-day Angola). Queen Nzinga successfully led her people in a 30-year war against Portuguese colonisation, showcasing her military prowess and high-stakes diplomacy.
Ida B. Wells Barnett (1862-1931) overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become a force for justice by leading the anti-lynching movement and the fight for women’s rights.
Angela Davis (1944- ) came to prominence during the civil rights movement as a symbol of Black Power. She is a scholar, activist, author, and lecturer who has fought tirelessly for human rights around the world.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977- ) asserts that we spend too much time teaching children gender-specific behaviours and attitudes. The Nigerian-born author, lecturer, and self-proclaimed feminist advocates non-gender-specific humane, innate abilities that enable people to enrich their communities.
“These women represent a greater story of the contributions Black women have made to societies across the world throughout history,” said Lomax. “I chose four that exemplify womanism in a way that was unapologetic, and frankly, bad-ass. They made their mark on the world because they refused to be anything other than who they are. Their stories need to be told, and this composition celebrates examples of the power that derives from the most authentic expression of Humanity.”
Lomax hopes to make Four Women accessible to students of all ages and to anyone who wishes to experience this unique interpretation of history, music, and art. Its title and structure were inspired by Nina Simone’s composition Four Women (1966).
“The music tells a powerful story, but to connect with a broader audience, we needed to present a tangible representation to drive home the narrative,” Dr. Lomax added. “In spite of the years of being marginalised and abused, here are examples of four women from Afrika who not only prevailed but changed things. We selected four, but there are countless numbers of women just like them who fight every day and don’t get the same praise. The simple truth is, we would not be here without them and without the activism, engagement, love, nurturing, and the strength of Black women.”
Click here to view the Four Women Film (1 February 2021).