Fusing music with creative storytelling, Cyrus Aaron X BLK Hours performed a selection of live, mellow music with reflective poetry in the Olshan Great Room on Thursday, Feb 13 during H period.
The band—composed of creative storyteller Cyrus Aaron, singer Karlea Lynné, bass guitarist Max Jacob, and pianist Nick Hetko—performed “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar, “A Long Walk” by Jill Scott, “Potential” by Summer Walker, “Drift Away” by Lindsey Abudei, and “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & The Wailers.
BLK Hours itself is a collective of musicians with variable members, Jacob said. The musical collective revolves around Aaron’s poetry, he said.
In between the song’s choruses, Aaron introduced his poetry and narratives. The creative writing complemented the theme of the song. For instance, with “Drift Away,” Aaron performed a short piece centered on longing and identity, two center themes of the song. “Love, liberation, and life are the pillars of my writing,” he said.
The members of Cyrus Aaron X BLK Hours perform to express the power of music. “Music speaks to the soul,” Aaron said. “A chord or a note can take a listener to a beautiful place. Music really taps into who we are; it connects us.”
Lynné performs in BLK Hours to heal others, she said. “I think music is healing—it’s healing for myself. Even if I can heal one person, it means a lot to me,” she said.
At certain moments in the performance, Lynné asked the audience members to snap, clap, and sing along. “[The goal is] to make the audience feel like they’re not just watching something. [It’s] to make them feel like they’re part of the healing process.”
The performance concluded with Lynné inviting the audience to sing the chorus of “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & the Wailers. “Although it was slightly awkward at first, I think that singing together was wholesome in a communal aspect,” Kristin Yung (11) said.
“A lot of Aaron’s poetry has to do with his experience as a black man in America and I think he has a wonderful take on those social issues that a lot of people are concerned about today,” Jacob said.
“From an individualistic standpoint, it gives me a chance for education and understanding of his experience and other black people’s experiences,” Jacob said.