Frederick Johnson: Melody, Word & the Works of Césaire
October 19, 2021 @ 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Aimé Césaire’s artistic mastery, wisdom and courage inspires…pride, painful remembrances, melody, warm tears, community and dew-moistened creative possibilities. Described by literary scholars as a poetic surrealist, Césaire produced works of art that are rich with images that come alive and words of truth that stir the heart. Césaire’s life and legacy, which is rooted in the prideful acknowledgement of an African foundation, speaks to the opportunity to spontaneously create a fusion of past and present.
In conjunction with our current exhibit Aimé Césaire: Poetry, Surrealism and Négritude, you are invited to an evening of tribute, inspiration and entertainment. Indulge in the melody and word scripted from the mastery of poet Aimé Césaire and the West African melodic narrative tradition shared by Fred Johnson, vocalist, musician, author and educator. Johnson is an internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist who has also studied extensively the West African oral and percussion traditions. These creative elements joined with the poetry and theatrical writings of Césaire will make for an inspired and inspiring evening.
The fact that Frederick Johnson has opened for both Aretha Franklin and Dr. Deepak Chopra points to his versatility as an artist. An acclaimed jazz vocalist, author and arts educator, Fred is a graduate of the National Academy of the Performing Arts as well as the Master Performers School of the National Mime Theater. He has opened for or recorded and toured worldwide with jazz and R& B legends Ramsey Lewis, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Christian McBride, Richard Elliot, George Benson, Boney James, Joe Zawinul, Ottmar Liebert, David Sanborn, B. B. King, Patti LaBelle, Herbie Mann, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley and Miles Davis.
He is recognized globally for his work in the health and wellness community as well as his extensive work in international Interfaith peace and reconciliation. His presentations on the healing power of music have caught the attention of internationally recognized holistic health practitioners and the medical community. He is a leading voice in the national conversation regarding Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access and chairs committees for both The International Transformational Leadership Council and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Mentored by spiritual masters of the African oral and percussion legacy, Fred has been hailed as one of the true guardians of an oral tradition transplanted and nurtured to create a fusion of cultural heritage that is uniquely American and inherently African.
Fred currently serves as Artist in Residence, Community Engagement/Diversity and Equity Specialist and Director of the Arts and Health initiative at The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. He was the first artist to perform at the Straz Center when it opened in 1987 and served as the Vice President of Education and Humanities from 1996 to 2005.