Extra Eclectic

Valerie Coleman finds unity in struggle

Composer Valerie Coleman. Matthew Murphy

Valerie Coleman finds unity in struggle


June 08, 2022

Composer Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja” takes its title from the Swahili word for “unity.” The original version is a short and cheerful work that became one of her musical calling cards. But an expanded version for full orchestra sets those optimistic strains amidst a tapestry of musical struggle — a metaphor for the totality of the Black experience. Steve Seel features that work on this week’s show, which continues our celebration of African American Music Appreciation Month.