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Zekarias Musele Thompson: 'A New Bootymix Redux'

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Zekarias Musele Thompson. (Courtesy of Helena Aðalsteinsdóttir/Collage by Attila Pelit of KQED)

The Sunday Music Drop is a weekly radio series hosted by the KQED weekend news team. In each segment, we feature a song from a local musician or band with an upcoming show and hear about what inspires their music.

West Oakland-based multidisciplinary artist, student and experimental saxophonist Zekarias Musele Thompson is, in their own words, “concerned with humanity’s conceptual and emotional organizational structures and how we bring them into material form.” This, almost by definition, demands a multifaceted approach, one that spans sound, image, performance and facilitation, involving photography, writing, sonic composition and collaborative performances. Thompson covers it all and seeks to bring about a sense of “deep, empathic listening.”

Thompson has presented their work in exhibitions and concerts across the Bay Area and in Iceland, having collaborated with dozens of artists. They are a cofounder of Working Name Studios, “a collectively owned and organized arts institution with the mission of building institutional stability and equity for underrepresented creative practices, ideas, and people.”


This week, we bring you Thompson’s “A New Bootymix Redux,” which inspired their upcoming solo exhibition and group of compositions titled The Meeting Place: photographic landscapes embellished with oil paint, accompanied by eight musical compositions playing continuously as group participation is enhanced through sculptures that double as seating, creating an experience that intervenes with “entrenched ideas about the nature and interpretation of the art object, its authorship, and its viewership.”

Of “A New Bootymix Redux,” Thompson says, “I was thinking about the ways that the sounds of the breath that is going through the saxophone can interact with these analog synth electrical signals that are also doing something in ways that are similar but very different …”

You can experience Thompson’s work from July 24 to Sept. 1 at MoAB — Museum of the African Diaspora, located at 685 Mission St. and Third Street in San Francisco, on the ground floor of the St. Regis.

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