ACC grantee Jen Shyu, the acclaimed avant-garde vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, 2016 Doris Duke Artist and Fulbright scholar premieres "Nine Doors," a solo ritual music drama, in eight languages. "Nine Doors" is a work that promises to evoke at levels both personal and global. Nine was inspired by the loss of Shyu’s friend Sri Joko Raharjo “Cilik,” a master of Javanese shadow puppetry who died with his wife and infant son in an automobile accident at the age of 30. His 6-year-old daughter, who survived the crash, is the central character.
Time stops as she encounters powerful female legends—from the Wehali Kingdom of Timor to the Korean folkloric myth of Baridegi, the mother of all shamans—who become her guides. Sung in Indonesian, Javanese, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Tetum, Korean, Japanese, and English, the work reflects the parallels that exist between life and death, different cultures, and the importance of empathy over destructive assumptions that divide humanity.