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Intercultural Journeys (IJ) celebrates stories of connection during the 2022-2023 season with programming that includes the Table Sessions series. Designed to promote and celebrate fellowship through art, food, and togetherness, Table Sessions connects artists and viewers, strangers, and friends around the table for an evening of curated music and cuisine. Singer/songwriter Solomon Temple (he/they) leads the first Table Session, which features vocalist Kassie Caines, singer/songwriter Talie, singer/keyboardist Jonill, and a soul inspired-dinner prepared by Chef Nia Minard of foodwork and storytelling project Our Mothers' Kitchens.
Temple returns to IJ after appearing in last season’s Close Ups: Scars and Emblems, a sequence of performances and conversations designed to elevate a new group of local artists. A Philadelphia native, he has hosted a cabaret show called Songs for the Soul since 2017. After performing at a lot of open mics, jam sessions, and shows hosted by others, Temple decided the time had come to do their own thing. Songs for the Soul began at L’Etage, where a one-off became a monthly event before moving to another venue and expanding to other locations and festivals around the city. Performing “Proud Mary” in Tina Turner’s signature style inspired Temple to explore dressing the part. People responded so enthusiastically—even donating clothing, jewelry, and shoes—that Temple began to embrace gender fluidity both onstage and off. “It took me on this whole other journey,” he said. But the seeds of Songs for the Soul were planted in childhood. Temple grew up in a big, music-loving family where “every time we got together, my grandmom would get on the piano and we’d all be singing.” As a teen, they sang in a choir. Temple described growing up in the Philly music scene and in the church, although he is no longer religious. That’s where soul music comes in.
Temple characterizes soul as gospel without religion, noting that soul music has the power to make the listener feel in special ways. “Soul music is warm,” they said. “It makes you feel full—you can leave feeling like this is something special.” And soul music is nostalgic for many. It “feels like home for me,” Temple noted, because stereos at family members’ homes played artists like the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Shirley Murdock, and Stevie Wonder. “The music was so good back then,” even the sad songs, Temple added. Songs for the Soul offers participants the stirring, yet comforting, experience of hearing great old tunes with gospel-style music and secular lyrics about universal experiences of love and loss.
Going for seconds
Temple’s vision for the Songs for the Soul Table Session is getting “that nostalgic feeling” you get when you hear a beloved old song. His curatorial process grew out of development meetings with IJ and the music itself. Temple organized a structured program featuring performers they knew “were gonna kill it” musically, choosing artists they have worked with for years and consider friends.
Table Sessions: Solomon Temple is poised to welcome participants into a sense of community through music, conversation, and food. The event will be “soulful” and “very loving,” Temple stated. “We’re going to have great conversations about artistry.” And because “IJ is about diversity, about showcasing people you wouldn’t necessarily see everywhere,” the Table Sessions series opens the door “for different types of people to come through.”
What, When, Where
Table Sessions: Solomon Temple. Presented by Intercultural Journeys. $5-$40. October 12 through 14, 2022, at Maas Building, 1325 North Randolph Street, Philadelphia. (267) 753-0757 or interculturaljourneys.org.
Mask wearing is encouraged when not actively eating or drinking. Ticket holders who feel ill or test positive for Covid-19 may request a full refund. Intercultural Journeys follows City of Philadelphia and CDC safety guidelines, so this policy may change.
The dinner and performance will take place outdoors on the patio. Wheelchairs and walkers can be accommodated, but there are no ramps. For questions, please email [email protected] or call (267) 753-0757.
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