Yellow Power, Yellow Soul
The Radical Art of Fred Ho
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright
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It is often said that music has the power to engage all senses. Its discourse has a sensory dimension that transcends well beyond hearing, to feelings, spiri-tual meditation, intellectual stimulation, even social action. Why then has it become an esoteric game? The work of Fred Ho helps to provide an answer Fred Ho is an artist, an unashamedly revolutionary Asian American artist, ...
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This anthology is a team effort that has extended over years and would have been impossible without the contributions of many beyond those featured in the following pages. We would like to thank Kristin Eshelman and the staff of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut for their assistance in our use of the Fred Ho Papers archive and help with ...
Fred Ho’s Demon Baritone Saxophoneand His Green Monst er Band Blowingthe Demons Down
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Artist. Intellectual. Activist. Chinese. Chinese American. Asian American. American. Saxophonist. Composer. Arranger. Bandleader. Writer. Producer. Luddite. Revolutionary Marxist. Bolshevik. Matriarchal socialist. Commu-Fred Ho has a penchant for labeling himself and his work, brandishing these monikers as emblems of his political, cultural, and aesthetic fabric. He ...
Part I: Revolution in Music
1. Enter the Voice of the Dragon
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Fred Ho’s Journey beyond the West: The New Adventures of Monkey (1996) is an “Afro Asian score for ballet,” an eclectic brew of high and low culture, as well as Afrodiasporic and Asian American cultural elements. Journey beyond the West is a reinterpretation of popular Chinese Monkey King tales, a figure who protects the lowly and oppressed from evil spirits and the caprices of the ...
2. “Oh the Hilt,the Hilt Again Please”
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I used to think jazz sounded expensive, until the day I met Fred Ho in 1997. He put on a recording of Journey beyond the West, and I remember the force of his music trembled a stained-glass fish lamp against the Park Slope sun-shine in Brooklyn, streaked in darkness. Fred had asked my beloved mentor Aishah Rahman to recommend a radical writer who could “kick his ass.” I ...
3. Fred Ho’s Operatic Journey
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In 2008, Fred Ho launched into creating a new work, Mr. Mystery: The Return of Sun Ra to Save Planet Earth! Ho calls it an Afrocentric science fiction op-era, and it begins on a spaceship in the not-too-distant future. The legendary musician, Sun Ra, receives a message for help from a desperate planet on the verge of total annihilation as a result of catastrophes caused by the hu-...
Part II: The Aesthetics of Politics
4. “Return to the Source”
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I met Fred Ho at four historic political events—all in 1998. In March, I heard him blowing his saxophone on stage at the Jericho march and rally for po-litical prisoners in Washington, D.C. As I sat next to veteran activist Yuri Kochiyama, watching throngs of activists, young and old, primarily but not exclusively Black, greet her, and as I listened to Fred Ho, it became clear ...
5. Red Dragon, Blue Warrior
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I think of Fred Ho as a red dragon, signifying upon his Chinese ancestry and his commitment to socialism. Indeed, he has named his media company Big Red in part in honor to Mao Tse-tung. For Fred, “Red” also refers to his intellectual and cultural indebtedness to Malcolm X, known in his hustling days as Detroit Red—(light skinned blacks frequently being referred to as ...
6. In Fred Ho’s Body of Work
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The life of the species, which applies to both humans and animals, consists in the physical, in which humans, just as animals, derive their life from inorganic nature, and the more universal man is in comparison to animals, the more universal is the sphere of inor-ganic nature, on which he lives [ . . . ] Physically, human beings ...
Part III: A Life in Community
7. Machete and Chopsticks
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As I look up the meaning of ibid., I am reminded to advise you that I am not an academic. This will be less of an essay and more of a glimpse into my personal diary that is riveted with anecdotes of Fred Ho. I could have chosen the word laced, but rivets, where Fred Ho is concerned, are much On December 19, 2002, the New York air was still acrid with the horrors of ...
8. Somewhere between Ideology,Practice, and the Cellular War. . . the Dolphins Sing
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I know that Fred loves dolphins. He doesn’t talk about this part of himself too much—the part that loves to swim in the ocean with the dolphins, in the ocean where he himself can become a dolphin. His love of the ocean and the life that it supports is something he experiences nonverbally, communicating These observations contrast markedly with my many interactions with ...
9. “That’s Why the WorkIs What It Is”
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It had been some time since I had sat down and talked with Fred Ho. I con-ducted this interview one week after his first week of chemoradiation treat-ment. He was amazed at how much he had needed to sleep during this pro-cess: 10–16 hours a day after the treatments. This was the first day he said that he had enough energy to sit up for some time. He looked good: toned, wear-...
10. Go On, Shoot
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In a few weeks—March 24, 2008—I’ll be 61. Even though I’ve appreciably less energy than even six years ago, and though I accept that I have less control of my increasingly unreliable body and its functions, still I don’t feel old. Sure, I’ve had to come to terms with how long it takes me to sit down on the floor to circle up and hold a conversation on the carpet with a group ...
Excerpts from “Re-English, for Fred Ho”
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...was complete in 407. 449 the Britons hire the Saxons as mercenariesIn his original draft Eisenhower called it the “military industrial The sound’s the same. Some hear “kindness,” some hear “kill” “kill.”As you can see, the contrary to “peasant” is not “noble”:...
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I am one of those anomalous friends of Fred Ho. I am not artistic, though I am a fan of “jazz” (especially Fred’s music). Nor am I political. My lifestyle has been desultory, perhaps, in Fred’s words “flakey.” But since the time we met in the mid-1980s, during the days of my profligate life in New York City, and then from the early 1990s when I retired and moved to Bangkok (to admittedly ...
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...1985 Tomorrow Is Now!, Fred Houn and the Afro Asian Music Ensemble, Soul Note Records, Milan, Italy, recorded and mixed at Nola Studios, New York City, on April 5, 8, and 9, 1985, featuring Fred Houn (leader and baritone sax); Sam Furnace (alto sax); Al Givens (tenor and soprano saxes); Richard Clements (piano); Kiyoto Fujiwara (bass); Taru Alexander (drums); Carleen ...
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October 1986, 2nd annual Asian American Interdisciplinary Arts Festival, presented and produced by the Alliance for Asian American Arts and Culture (now called the Asian American Arts Alliance), Henry Street Settlement, New York City.World premiere fall 1986, the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris, New York City; earlier and subsequent performances were part of performance repertoire of the ...
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Afro Asian Scientific Soul Duo with Salim Washington, founded 2009Afro Asian Arts Dialogue with poet Kalamu Yu Salaam, founded 1991Caliente! Circle around the Sun, with poets Magdalena Gómez and Raul Salinas, “The Soul Science Stomp,” Harvard University Jazz Big Band, Cambridge, Mass., Sweet Science Suite: A Scientific Soul Honoring of Muhammad Ali, Guggenheim ...
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Further Reading, Production Note, Back Cover
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: The Asian American Experience