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Thursday, April 11 • 7:30pm - 9:15pm

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A keynote panel conversation at The Museum of Pop Culture’s “Only You and Your Ghost Will Know: Music, Death and Afterlife” Pop Conference
Keynote produced by Jason King
in conjunction with Billboard 
New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music 


ISHMAEL BUTLER, musician, Shabazz Palaces, Knife Knights
DAPHNE A. BROOKS, writer/scholar, Yale University
DAVID TOOP, musician/writer/scholar, London College of Communication
EFRIM MANUEL MENUCK, musician, Godspeed You! Black Emperor
STEVE PERRY, singer/songwriter/producer
ANN POWERS (panelist and moderator), writer/author, NPR Music

When: Thursday April 11th at 7:30 pm sharp
Where: Sky Church, Museum of Pop Culture
325 5th Avenue North, Seattle, Washington
Admission: Free with Conference Registration

Musician Nick Cave—who tragically lost his son Arthur in 2015—wrote a powerfully sensitive open letter to a fan about how he copes with mourning. Cave’s reply went viral last year; in it, he offered a trenchant reminder that “grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable.” Indeed, to live is to constantly be reminded that everything must change: none of us are immune from the looming, inevitable finality of death (unless you envision death as a transition rather than a terminal destination). Music makers and music writers alike find ways to process the losses of family, friends, partners, pets, the ends of relationships, and the closing of artistic chapters and legacies—and some of us do so by mourning, and grieving, in and through art. Along the way, our own mortality haunts us, stalks us, obstructs us, propels us, and sometimes frees us, too.
To kick off a multi-day conference at Museum of Pop Culture on the connections between music, death and afterlives, the keynote conversation invites a phenomenal panel of musicians, songwriters, producers, authors, and scholars to muse about the impact of grief on the creative process, and how the creative process functions in and around—and against and through—profound loss. Among the subjects on the table for discussion: music, spirits, phantoms, and ghosts; the promises and challenges of writing obituaries, elegies, and eulogies; how artists find the space to cope with the departure of loved ones and essential collaborators; and how artists creatively rummage up tools of melancholy or resilience as responses to loss. On board for the discussion: Ishmael Butler, the creative force behind Shabazz Palaces and founder of jazz rap mainstays Digable Planets; Daphne Brooks, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of African American Studies at Yale University, and author of books like Bodies in Dissent and the 33 1/3 entry Jeff Buckley’s Grace; Efrim Manuel Menuck, the creative force behind acclaimed Montreal-based bands Godspeed You! Black Emperor And Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra; Steve Perry, the legendary singer-songwriter who earned global fame as the voice of Journey and whose recently released solo album Traces (his first in nearly twenty five years) is a powerful testament to love, loss and heartbreak; David Toop, the iconic musician, author, and professor of audio culture and improvisation at the London College of Communication, whose forthcoming manuscript, Flutter Echo, considers the complexity of memories and personal experiences; and moderator/panelist Ann Powers, NPR Music Critic and author of many books, most recently Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul. The event is produced by Jason King of New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and will be presented in conjunction with Billboard.

For more information, visit the Pop Conference page: https://www.mopop.org/popcon


Ann Powers

BioAnn Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs. She is the author of Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music (2017). Powers... Read More →

avatar for Daphne A. Brooks

Daphne A. Brooks

BioDaphne A. Brooks is Professor of African American Studies, Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent:  Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Durham... Read More →
avatar for Ishmael Butler

Ishmael Butler

Ishmael Butler is the creative force and architect behind groundbreaking groups like Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces, and Knife Knights. After hip-hop group Digable Planets disbanded, Butler was preparing to emerge from years of near-complete silence. He unveiled his new outlet... Read More →
avatar for David Toop

David Toop

David Toop has been developing a practice that crosses boundaries of sound, listening, music and materials since 1970. This encompasses improvised music performance, writing, electronic sound, field recording, exhibition curating, sound art installations and opera. It includes seven... Read More →
avatar for Efrim Manuel Menuck

Efrim Manuel Menuck

Efrim Menuck is a legendary Montréal-based musician and the founder of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion. He’s gained a much-deserved cult status among fans of political punk, post-rock and avant-noise songcraft alike. Menuck celebrates 25 years of unflinching... Read More →
avatar for Steve Perry

Steve Perry

Steve Perry is a legendary singer-songwriter who earned global fame as the voice of Journey before going on to significant solo success. Christened as one of the greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone, Perry made a contribution as frontman that helped Journey to emerge as... Read More →

Thursday April 11, 2019 7:30pm - 9:15pm
Sky Church

Attendees (53)