Karma Mayet Johnson, Conjure Woman
Get a bowl. Throw in a few spectral handfuls of Spanish moss, a generous slice of cornbread, and a dash of funk. Add a don’t-be-shy amount of molasses. And don’t forget to put in a pinch or two of glitter, and then run away, giggling like conspiracy. This is the recipe, more or less, that will conjure up Karma Mayet Johnson, a woman of many métiers and magicks. She is a multi-disciplinary performer, poet, educator, and composer. Karma composed Indigo, a Blues opera, billed as a “music and dance-infused story of love and liberation, via Lesbians on the Underground Railroad.” And the music video for her “September Song” seems to be the daughter of the opera, reasserting that erotic love between black women is a radical act of great beauty.
She has performed domestically (the Apollo, the Blue Note, The Juilliard School, Columbia University, Lincoln Center) and internationally (the Melbourne International Arts Festival and in Paris, at Sons d’Hiver). Karma has combined her talents with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Bill T. Jones, Antibalas, and The Roots. And here: a random page from her book of spells….
How is “erotic love a site of resistance” (to use your words) in Indigo, a Blues Opera and in general?
The faces of human beings all twisted by the lives they lead.
The sounds inside my memory wanting release.
Anything else you’re burning to say?
Learn more about Karma at her website. Line breaks added by Almah LaVon Rice.