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Tales of Transatlantic Freedom

February 26, 2024

King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) welcomes acclaimed mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker and internationally recognized composer/conductor Howard Moody in celebration of Black History Month.

Holding numerous honors for their respective works, Baker and Moody are the co-creators of “Tales of Transatlantic Freedom,” a production celebrating music and artists linked to global journeys and stories of emancipation. The show interweaves a variety of musical styles such as Gaelic psalm singing, field song, holler, folk, blues, opera, and the music of Robert Burns, showcasing the interrelation of various musical genres and cultures. It received critical acclaim during its premiere at the 2023 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Master percussionist Newman Taylor Baker will be joining the duo for the Bristol-based performances, and the community has several opportunities to engage:

  • On Saturday, Feb. 24 from 1-3 p.m., the trio will lead a workshop, “Reconciliation through Music,” at Central Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Virginia
  • On Monday, Feb. 26 at 9:15 a.m., the trio will speak about the creation and production of “Tales of Transatlantic Freedom” in King’s Memorial Chapel, and
  • On Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m., the trio will perform selections from “Tales of Transatlantic Freedom” at First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Tennessee

Thanks to a network of donors and friends, all events are open and free to the public.

“These artists possess such enviable levels of mastery that they can take music from multiple continents and assemble it into one cohesive work,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC. “Their talents remind us of the beautiful way one musical tradition feeds the next, creating an overall narrative that compels us to celebrate the human potential for creation, unity, and beauty.”

Possessing a full-bodied tone, Andrea Baker is renowned for her distinctive voice, intense artistry, and passion. Her heralded interpretations range from Amneris in “Aida,” Fricka in “Die Walküre,” and the title role in “Carmen” to Mescalina in “Le Grand Macabre” and Nen-Nen in Dominique Legendre’s world premiere of “The Bird of Night.”

As a composer, Moody has written six operas, and as a conductor, he has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. As a keyboard player, he crosses the worlds of both classical and improvised music on piano, harpsichord, and organ, recording for ECM, Chandos, Guild, SDG, and the BBC.

An esteemed jazz drummer and composer, Newman Taylor Baker discovered the washboard as percussive instrument in 2010. Through his explorations he discovered a connection to his grandfather, the only formerly enslaved person to receive a Ph.D. from Yale University. Today, Baker directs WashboardXT, an innovative concept of 21st century music for the acoustic and electronic washboard.

King’s IFC speaker series continues with artist and writer Bruce Herman of Gordon College on March 25, and Grammy Award-winning Metropolitan Opera performer/tenor Aaron Blake on April 1. For more information, visit