Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sat, Feb 29 2020 6:00 PM

Island United Church
1130 Balclutha Drive, Foster City, CA

During Black History Month, Island United Church invites us into an evening of music, sound, spoken word, and Trouble-making

1130 Balclutha Drive, Foster City, CA

Featuring poet Marvin K White with the avant-gospel vocal/instrumental Trouble Ensemble

Darnell Ishmel, baritone, and Andrew Barnes Jamieson, piano

$15 suggested donation

Concert proceeds benefit the NAACP San Mateo Chapter:
Help us reach our $3000 goal for this event in supporting this important community and racial justice work!!!!

Trouble Ensemble:
Ernest Larkins: voice
Rent Romus, Maureen Spranza and Joshua Marshall: saxophones
Jakob Pek: guitar
Andrew Barnes Jamieson: piano, arranger
Chris Lauf: drums
Marvin K White: spoken word

Directed by composer, arranger and pianist Andrew Barnes Jamieson (, Trouble Ensemble performs music in dialogue with African American spiritual music. Especially black spirituals themselves. These are not simply presentations of spirituals. Especially because Jamieson, who is white, (like some other ensemble members) comes from a lineage that has benefitted from slavery. The music must Trouble them. Perhaps, it offers a vision for dialogue. And community. And society.

As some of the first African American music, spirituals illuminate the spiritual force that troubles the waters of injustice and oppression using the power of African and African American music and spirituality. Originally songs of black American slaves, they are rooted in song, dance and drumming of West Africa, the experience of oppression of an uprooted people, and the teachings of a transformative faith. They troubled the dominant narratives, and their message and tradition continue to trouble unjust systems today. Composers and experimenters (like Sun Ra, Charles Ives and Pauline Oliveros) Troubled the musical establishment and its conventions as they envisioned radical new ways of making and listening to sound. Their traditions are a separate musical “voice” from African American spirituality and the two voices cannot merge into one. Instead, they must converse. Listen to one another. Learn from one another. Imagine a new way of being. Discover harmony. Enjoy dissonance. Each with our own distinct voices, we create, listen to, revere and question, the melody, rhythm and text derived from spirituals, and other songs they inspired, we revel in our own ways of enjoying, discovering and making: Trouble.

Their first album In the Water came out on Edgetone Records in June 2018 with poet Marvin K White:


Marvin K. White MDiv, is the Full-Time Minister of Celebration at Glide Memorial Church, in San Francisco. He is a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley CA, and was the inaugural "First Church Berkeley 2017-2018 Public Theologian in Residence." He is the author of four collections of poetry published by RedBone Press; Our Name Be Witness, Status and the two Lammy-nominated collections last rights and nothin’ ugly fly. As a public theologian and community-based artist, he is articulating a vision of social, prophetic and creative justice through being a poet, artist, teacher, facilitator, activist, community organizer, preacher, homemaker, cake baker, and Facebook Statustician.


Andrew Barnes Jamieson and Darnell Ishmel met in 2017 at the Holy Convocation of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries in New Orleans, Louisiana. Since then, they have colloborated on pieces that create a unique and innovative blend of classical, liturgical, gospel and experimental traditions. They have also performed live as a duo in Ann Arbor and Livonia, MI, Kansas City, MO, Oakland, CA, Oak Park, IL, Philadelphia, PA, and New York, NY.

Andrew Barnes Jamieson is dedicated to spiritual transformation through his work as pianist, keyboardist, composer and arranger. With a passion for gospel music, he is the music director at Pacific School of Religion, and plays piano for City of Refuge, UCC in Oakland, California. With a passion for free improvisation and experimentation, he created the polytonal "Ives Band," and the jazz/gospel-oriented "Trouble Ensemble." His 2014 chamber opera Heaven Down Here explores the profound hope and profound danger of both experimentation and faith traditions through the story of Jim Jones' People Temple. His 2015 solo album Heard the Voice is a "dialogue" between experimental sounds and melodies of spirituals.

Darnell Ishmel grew up singing, playing, and directing gospel music at his local church. After finishing his studies in Music and African American studies at the University of Michigan, he went on to make his professional debut with Cincinnati Opera. Hailed by the New York Times for his, "show-stealing" stage presence, "rich baritone, precise diction and superb comic timing" in his New York opera debut, he is a flexible vocalist and an innovative recitalist who constantly explores programming in an effort to enhance the recital tradition, attract new audiences, and preserve the art form. He is currently on staff as the Gospel Choir Director at Madonna University in Livonia, MI and Michigan State University Community Music School in Detroit, MI and is the Assistant Conductor of the Willis C. Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale in Ann Arbor, MI. This season, he makes on stage appearances with Toledo Opera and Opera Carolina. He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Cost: $15 suggested donation
✚gCal  ✚iCal
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play:
Videos featuring musicians playing at this event
From left, Heikki "Mike" Koskinen digital trumpet, Tane Kannisto saxophone, Teppo Hauta-aho double bass, Ville Rauhala double bass, Rent Romus saxophone and Simo Laihonen drums at Telakka, Tampere, Finland 31.5.2017.