#21 - A Wandering Monk - Julius Eastman 

Welcome to episode 21, A Wandering Monk, featuring the brilliantly black, queer, composer, dancer, conductor, pianist, and grammy-nominated singer—Julius Eastman (1940-1990). His music often employed his unique “organic method” of composition, while some works, anticipating post-minimalism, fused avant-garde and pop sensibilities for the first time. His sexuality and race were militantly foregrounded in his music, on full display in work titles like “Gay Guerrilla” and “Evil Nigger.” At the same time Eastman’s radically beautiful music was tied to a lifelong religious drive. Behind his transgressive often wild persona, Eastman aspired to wisdom and liberation, striving as he said, to be “black to the fullest, a musician to the fullest, and a homosexual to the fullest.” After years of homelessness, drug addiction, starvation, and mental issues, Eastman died in 1990, alone and forgotten. His music wasn’t rediscovered until almost 15 years later. Welcome to a holy presence…


Photo by Christine Rusiniak (Buffalo, NY, 1974)

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