Dam Mwen Yo
by Nathalie Joachim
Elizabeth Chung, cello
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation are thrilled to present the 2020/2021 season of the St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer series with three short films to be released monthly, beginning with Dam Mwen Yo by Nathalie Joachim. The global pandemic has caused many people to be confined to their homes for months on end. In this series of videos, three composers explore meanings of that word: “home.” This series was produced in collaboration with videographer Orlando Thompson.
Nathalie Joachim is a Grammy-nominated flutist, composer, and vocalist. The Brooklyn-born Haitian-American artist is co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix, and comfortably navigates everything from classical to indie-rock, all while advocating for social change and cultural awareness. The SLSO has also commissioned Joachim to compose a work for performance by the orchestra and IN UNISON Chorus.
The composer writes:
Dam mwen yo in Haitian Creole simply translates to “they are my ladies.” In Haiti, the cultural image of women is one of strength. They are pillars of their homes and communities, and are both fearless and loving, all while carrying the weight of their families and children on their backs. As a first generation Haitian-American, these women—my mother, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins—were central to my upbringing and my understanding of what it means to be a woman. In Dantan, Haiti-Sud, where my family is from, it is rare to walk down the countryside roads without hearing the voices of women—in the fields, cooking for their loved ones, gathering water at the wells with their babies. This piece and the voices within it are representative of these ladies—my ladies. And the cello sings their song—one of strength, beauty, pain and simplicity in a familiar landscape.
Elizabeth Chung has been a member of the SLSO cello section since 2017. She received her B.M. and M.M at the Juilliard School, and her chamber music experience includes performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with violinist Midori, Sarasota Music Festival, and Verbier Academy. She has played as a soloist with the Finnish Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, Harper Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Tech University Orchestra, Keweena Symphony Orchestra, and Aspen Academy Orchestra.
The St. Louis Symphony: Live at the Pulitzer series is curated by the SLSO's Creative Partner, Tim Munro.