Glass and the Griot

New music meets West African tradition in the collaboration between Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso

"The director had the idea to have the score written by an African and a Western-based composer," explains Glass. "So there would be a musical encounter that would reflect the encounters on stage. The way it worked is we sat in the studio together and the director described a scene, and either Foday would begin or I would begin."

Although the controversial play caused riots outside the Paris theater at the time of its release in 1964, Glass promises the music is not politically charged. "The music isn't confrontational that way," he laughs. "And actually the play isn't really, either. The music is much more a collaboration, because Foday and I know each other."

Tom Caravaglia


Featuring Philip Glass and Foday Musa Suso, will be performed at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12, Tickets range from $25 to $50. Call 305-576-4350.
The Lincoln Theatre, 846 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach

Glass maintains that his collaboration with Suso has transcended the original theater score, which now stands merely as a starting point to their current work. "I was talking with friends about it, you know, and [the work] doesn't really reference the play that much anymore. I think at this point we should be talking about The Screens as a concert piece," he says. "What's more interesting is to talk about Foday and his development and formation as a griot. That's much more interesting than a play that no one's seen and no one really cares about right now." Genet's play provides a convenient title. "We have an ongoing project together that we call The Screens," Glass adds. "The Screens simply is all the music that we perform and write and develop together."

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