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  • Artists In Residence

  • February 2022

In October 2021 and February 2022 MASS MoCA welcomed the team behind Yemandja, a theatrical work conceived by four-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo and a stellar group of creative collaborators. A new music-theater work starring Kidjo, Yemandja is at once a family drama and historical thriller, redolent of Greek tragedy and infused with themes of love, betrayal, honor, free will, and the horror and injustice of slavery. Named for a Yoruban deity, this MASS MoCA co-commission is a panoramic work of magical realism, a parable about gods and humans that illuminates through song what can happen when people are robbed of their culture.

Yemandja premiered at MASS MoCA in March 2022.

Conceived by Angélique Kidjo, Jean Hebrail & Naïma Hebrail Kidjo
Book & Lyrics by Naïma Hebrail Kidjo
Music by Angélique Kidjo & Jean Hebrail
Developed with and Directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruceyem
Production Designer Kerry James Marshall
Music Director John Samorian
Lighting Designer Kathy A. Perkins
Projections Designer Rasean Davonte Johnson
Costume Designer Mary Jane Marcasiano
Choreographer Beatrice Capote
Sound Designer Kumi Ishizawa
Dramaturg Iyvon E.
Sensitivity Coach Ann James
Casting Andrea Zee

Yemandja is co-commissioned by MASS MoCA, ArtsEmerson, The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College, Brown University Arts Institute, Cal Performances, Ruth and Stephen Hendel, Holland Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Yale Schwarzman Center. Executive Producer: Xtina Parks. Produced by THE OFFICE performing arts + film.

Gifts from individuals like you strengthen MASS MoCA’s ability to support artists and art-making like this. Please consider making a $5 donation here.


Top row: Darryl Archibald, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Beatrice Capote; Middle row: Rasean Davonte Johnson, Angelique Kidjo, Naïma Hebrail Kidjo; Bottom row: Kerry James Marshall, Mary Jane Marcasiano, Kathy A. Perkins