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Castle of Our Skins Celebrates Black Artistry Through Chamber Music

Homage album cover showing musicians standing in front of a church.
April Thibeault
Album cover for Homage: Music From Across the African Continent and Diaspora

Boston-based arts institution Castle of Our Skins celebrated their 10th anniversary this year by releasing their debut album, "Homage: Chamber Music From Across the African Continent & Diaspora."

The organization plays a key role in addressing some of the adversity faced by Black and brown orchestra musicians. For one, there are simply not enough of musicians of color represented in most mainstream orchestras. Data from the League of American Orchestras in 2014 found that only 1.4% of orchestra musicians were Black. This figure comes from a litany of factors, including lack of opportunity and discrimination.

Castle of Our Skins and institutions like it are working to break down these barriers and build new spaces where Black and brown artistry is celebrated.

"We, as Castle of Our Skins, engage quite specifically in the music of African diaspora composers . . . Our artists or musicians [are] musicians of color . . . [and] come together through a common medium of chamber music."
Ashleigh Gordon, Castle of Our Skins

This week on Basic Black, we’re celebrating diversity in music with performances by musicians from Castle of Our Skins. Host Paris Alston will be joined by Ashleigh Gordon, co-founder, artistic and executive director, and violist, to discuss the strides Castle of Our Skins is making to diversify chamber music.

"Being part of a legacy, we are not the first. But . . .to be able to keep that fire churning . . . has been a joy."
Ashleigh Gordon, Castle of Our Skins

Watch the latest episode of Basic Black Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on GBH 2 or live on You can also watch on the GBH News YouTube channel. Subscribe to get notifications for future premiere episodes.

Learn more about Castle of Our Skins.