We Been Fly: Music and Black Philadelphians of the Nineteenth Century

This multi-media performance piece considers the lives and musical activities of three remarkable Black Philadelphians from the past: Rev. Richard Allen (1760-1831), Francis Johnson (1792-1844), and Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837-1914).  These figures explore their musical preoccupations through narration and contemporary music and poetry.  As composers, collectors, musicians, and journalists, these three figures tower in Black Philadelphia’s music history. This presentation details some of their contributions while at the same time re-imagines the music they wrote, collected, and engaged by updating it through contemporary arrangements, original poetry, and visual culture. The focus of this project is the musical work of the nineteenth century.

Dr. Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is the author and director of We Been Fly: Music and Black Philadelphians in the Nineteenth Century. Dr. Ramsey is a Guggenheim Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about Dr. Ramsey.

March 24, 25, 26, 2023

Coming soon – ticketing information

Pictured left: Francis Johnson