Jennifer Ferguson and Company return to the Baxter stage after a long absence to perform a series of four emotive concerts called JENNIFER #wetoo, at the Baxter Concert Hall, from 4 to 7 April at 8:00pm .
Sparked by the #metoo viral campaign, which took social media by storm in 2017 and saw numerous women across the globe speak out with claims of sexual harassment and assault, Ferguson’s concerts are a creative response to the recent disclosure of her rape.
“I want to go beyond the personal #metoo to a universal #wetoo,” she says. “JENNIFER could be you or me. My story is just one of tens of thousands. We need to look at other ways of dealing with the culture of sexual violence and admit the current judicial system is failing too many of us.
Restorative, even narrative justice offers something different as a path to healing the individual and the community. As an artist, I can stand in my truth and own my story on the stage without compromise. Music has traditionally been used to heal personal and collective trauma. Creativity is a powerful response to atrocities. I hope that this sharing of song and stories, will empower us to speak our truth, to restore societal balance and to heal.’’
The concerts will feature the joyful and the introspective, but will mostly be an articulated celebration of the human spirit.
“It’s a song-communion of a kind for all of us who have been hurt, somewhere, sometime. Men and women. So hopefully we can rise again with a matured vision of a more courageous and authentic life. After the storm we rise and sing again… Together,” says Ferguson.
JENNIFER #wetoo Cast & Creative Team
JENNIFER #wetoo will feature special guest artists Zolani Mahola and Tina Schouw, both who have been activists in their own rights. Some of Cape Town’s best musicians will play with Jennifer including Mark Franzman, Ronan Skillen and Shaun Jacobs, plus a very special appearance by the Cape Town Youth Choir’s Vocal Ensemble. Renowned choral conductor and co-script-writer of the Swedish Academy-award nominated film As it is in Heaven, Anders Nyberg, will share the musical direction.
JENNIFER #wetoo is made even more poignant by the fact that Ferguson is performing with her family, who are all just as talented. Her husband, Anders, is musical director, composer and conductor while their children – son Gabriel Nyberg and daughter Johanna Nyberg – will perform alongside her on stage. Gabriel is a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer in his own right and Johanna, who has Down Syndrome, loves being on stage and will solo in a moving ballad, My Temple, My Home, a song composed with Cape Town activist musician Su Lubner to campaign against child abuse.
The JENNIFER #wetoo concerts are hopefully the beginning of a future project in partnership with FATC.
“We, like everyone in South Africa, want a country where sexual violence is no longer the norm and where survivors of sexual crimes are empowered to speak out, are met with care and respect and a form of justice that heals not only themselves, but the community as a whole,” says Ferguson. “We want to work in close consultation with and support various organisations which have for many years been doing really hard, remarkable work in the field of sexual violence. We hope to open spaces for conversations around the difficult aspects of our inter-relationships, and men need to be part of this as well.”
Ferguson has been known for her insightful and uncompromising spirit which has consistently reflected in her activism and her music throughout the decades. Her award-winning recordings defined many of the complexities of the 80’s with anthemic songs around military conscription, the white suburban malaise and the rich textures of South Africa’s narratives of the struggle for freedom.
WHERE: Baxter Concert Hall, Main Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7700
TICKETS: R195 with reduction for students and pensioners and booking, is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online or at selected Pick n Pay outlets.
WHEN: 8:00pm ,4 to 7 April 2018
PHOTO CREDIT: Suzy Bernstein