When writing about art, translating one creative endeavor into another, it’s easy to focus on medium and be sidetracked by genre. That’s a fool’s game, really.
Or as the old saying, sometimes attributed to Elvis Costello, goes: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” It doesn’t make sense.
Ghanian musician, actor, filmmaker, writer and photographer Jojo Abot agrees. “That is all a matter of language,” she says. No matter what medium she’s working in, she seeks fluidity and harmony. “While remaining authentic in the process, however that manifests itself,” she says.
The inter-disciplinary artist is in Eugene as part of the Hult Presents series and the Hult Center’s first micro-residency program. “What drew me to Jojo was the incredible energy that pulses throughout her work,” says Vicki Infinito, director of programming at the Hult Center.
“From the profound colors and aesthetic of her artwork,” Infinito says, “to the powerful messages and beauty of the sounds and visuals in her performances, it is a voice we want our community to hear and one we’re proud to support at the Hult Center.”
Abot’s time in Eugene will include a month-long art exhibition and immersive performances at the Hult Center, and a special concert at WOW Hall. Abot has toured with Lauryn Hill, and her music from EPs like 2016’s Fyfya Woto has been described as “Afro-hypno-sonic.”
That term is merely an explanation, tag or title, she adds. Again, just language.
What’s for sure is Abot’s music is very much Afro-inspired, but it has its own sort of energy.
“It has its own sonic frequency. Sort of trippy,” she says, mixing jazz, neo-soul, house music, gospel and dancehall.
This will be the first time Abot has participated in a residency program of this nature. What she hopes to take away from her time in Eugene is a greater understanding of the human perspective, to learn “why there seems to be so much pain and turmoil” and to reach a deeper sense of love, compassion and empathy.
Jojo Abot performs 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 26, at WOW Hall; $28, all-ages.