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Saturday, May 18
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Soul Revue presents story of love in spring concert

The IU Soul Revue performs "Sessions in Love"  on Saturday evening at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The concert featured harmonies, horns and rhythm sections, dance and a storyline centered on love.

Tight harmonies met driving rhythms, a brass-heavy ensemble and flashing colors at the IU Soul Revue concert Saturday night in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The performers portrayed a romantic drama throughout the show as part of the theme “Sessions in Love.”

Soul Revue, one of three ensembles in the African-American Arts Institute, consists of 11 singers, six horns and six rhythm players. The concert featured songs by Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Beyonce and Alicia Keys, among others.

Nathanael Fareed Mahluli, director of the ensemble for the past four years, said the group went straight for the story of love in this concert and invited the audience to experience a romance evolve on stage. It’s also a story of love for music.

“What people experience in this show is over 30 years of loving this music,” Mahluli said. He said he hoped the audience would see the “diversity of how the love story is expressed in African-American music.”

But Soul Revue is more than a music group. Alumni Alan and Mary Bacon were members in the late 1970s and said the ensemble was a family affair that helped create their current lives.

“It gave us structure, purpose and direction,” Alan said. “We learned so many skills applicable to real life.”

“We’ve been friends ever since,” said Victoria Clark, another alumna of the group. “We come back and support them.”

These alumni and other audience members were on their feet dancing during the performance as the singers urged people to get up and move. At some points, the singers came down to the floor level and danced with audience members, and the remaining singers on stage encouraged them to sing along.

“We always encourage people, you know, ‘express it,’ because we’re up there expressing it,” singer and senior Terrilyn Dennie said.

This is the “completely different dynamic” that junior and singer Chinyere Cheryl Nwokah said is her favorite part of the ensemble. Rehearsals can be stressful, but when the curtains open and the group performs, they reap the fruits of their labor and feed off the energy of the audience.

Portia Maultsby, the first director of the ensemble, which was founded in 1971, said she was thrilled to see the talent of Soul Revue again. This year’s performance style reminded her of the early years of the ensemble. She was also pleased with the song selection that communicated a range of African-American creative expression.

“They are preserving the past, integrating early decades into the present,” she said. “It helps this generation understand the roots of the music they hear today.”

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