Candice Hoyes Releases In The Upper Room (For Mary Winnifred) As Part Of Sadah Espii Proctor’s Lincoln Center Bayou Project


Singer and composer Candice Hoyes unveils “The Upper Room (For Mary Winnifred)” for Sadaii Espii Proctor’s adrift: the bayou project, an exhibit running until May 8th at Lincoln Center in New York City. Proctor’s commissioned presentation is part of Lincoln Center’s Social Sculpture Project. The Brooklyn sound designer and new media artist used inspiration from a visit to Ion Swamp in Charleston, South Carolina which is the site of a former rice plantation to pay homage to African Americans separated from their families as a result of North American chattel slavery. Many placed ads and letters in Black publications like Freedom’s Journal and The North Star in search of their loved ones. Attendees of the exhibit can interact with three blue haint-proof doors with their phones to access the past and a digital collage of those letters.

Espii discovered that no less than 50 Maroon communities were founded in forests, mountains, and swampy regions of the south including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Espii captured sound recordings from the Ion Swamp and they are used to tell the area’s story. She configures the bayou as a place of familiar reclamation, ancestral stories, and Black psychic healing. Hoyes penned “In The Upper Room” for her ancestor grandmother Mary Winnifred and she sings it with prayerful intent. The song marks Hoyes’ debut as a Lincoln Center composer. The use of chamber music, heritage, spiritual wisdom, and lyrical voice is an intertwined approach she plans to produce with over the next few years. Hoyes’ is also one-third of the avant-garde jazz trio Nite Bjuti. Espii’s adrift: the bayou project is showing in Hearst Plaza at Lincoln Center until May 8th. It is free to the public. 

The Bayou Project
The Bayou Project