Music and Lyrics by multiple composers from Madison and Milwaukee
Co-Directed by Adam Qutaishat and Nathan Fosbinder
New songs released every Friday May 14-June 11!
Individual sponsor: Hayley Mason
An American Mythology is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. It is also supported by a grant from Dane Arts with additional funds from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.
Who are our heroes?
Many cultures have mythology in their long histories: Stories of gods and goddesses, mortals and monsters, good and evil. America does not have such mythology. Or does it?
We believe Americans have a contemporary mythology, with stories centering on real or imagined individuals in our society who are deemed to exemplify success and failure, beauty and ugliness, right and wrong. These stories allegedly tell us how to live. Myths also present a dualism. They are stories that shape our beliefs about the world, but they are also typically one-dimensional fallacies that do not mesh with reality.
This new album by BIPOC Wisconsin writers tells stories of America in the style of myths, with tales of transformation, obsession, destruction, rebirth, faith, family, and hope. In its final form, this album, designed to eventually be adapted to the stage, will ask us explore the implications and consequences of myths, particularly as they relate to America now.
The stories on this album:
"Here Comes The Fire" (L.E.X): In the opening number, using rap and hip-hop, the element of fire is presented as a living creature, examining his powerful and destructive nature at the hands of humans through the century, particularly in Black people's search for freedom and equality. Released May 14
"Motherland" (Autumn Maria Reed and Kailea Saplan); This five-part progressive series uses hip hop, rock, pop, and more to tell the story of a colonizer and the consequences of her actions. One movement released each Friday May 14-June 11
"Dreamcatcher" (Shayne Steliga and Hayley San Fillippo): Alongside an ancient ritual, using traditional Native American instruments, a grandmother tells a story about a mythical creature her family was tasked with protecting. Released May 14
"Nightmare" (Camille Hunt, Clara Adams, Christian Adams): A young hero embarks on a journey across rough terrain, feeling the strength of others to complete her journey in this hip-hop, R&B, and gospel piece. Released May 21
"Disgraced" (Maaz Ahmed with Mark Wurzelbacher): This hip-hop story tells the tale of a young man who takes a magical substance in order to better fit in and attempt to distance himself from his culture. Released May 28
"The Man In The Sky" (Anthony Cao): In this piano and vocal piece, a boy finds himself looking for guidance. Throughout his life, he seeks it from a mythical being with a surprising identity. Released June 4
"Star-Reader" (Jackey Boelkow): A woman seeks advice from someone who interprets the stars, who encourages her to find her own path. This closing number is a folk tune accompanied by a four-piece band. Released June 11
What is a concept album?
The concept album is an album that follows a narrative story or series of linked ideas in theatrical style. Examples are Pink Floyd's The Wall and The Who's Tommy. The concept album has frequently spread into the musical theatre realm, as a beginning stage for writers who want to commit their ideas to a recording before it becomes a full production. This is more and more common as new writers emerge. Shows you may know well like Jesus Christ Superstar, American Idiot, and Hadestown began as concept albums; a way to put the music together and imagine what it could be like if brought to the stage. Rather than follow a traditional scripted version of a piece, concept albums allow audiences and artists to imagine the possibilities, draw on the music, and create work that explores complex ideas in a variety of ways. When brought to the stage, they become a template for wide-ranging innovation and interpretation.