Photo Credit: Stasia Garraway
Khari Wendell McClelland is a diversely talented and ever-evolving artist. Originally from Detroit, Khari has become a darling on the Canadian music scene with reviewers lauding his performances as a clever mix of soul and gospel. Khari’s songwriting crosses genres and generations, joyfully invoking the spirit of his ancestors who straddled the US-Canadian border in efforts to escape slavery and discrimination. His music draws from this rich history, integrating the rhythms and folklore of early African-Americans with contemporary sounds and stories of struggle.
Confluence is a theatrical work that incorporates music, history and storytelling to share a tale about life in the near future. In this future, the world over, individual capitalists rule as despots having become more powerful than the nation states of old. There is a child who lives amongst the ruling class who was separated from their own family, place and traditions as a baby. This child has grown up living in this highly stratified society with social unrest and environmental collapse unfolding around them. These ruling elites live in an exclusive preserve where retina scans and thumb prints allow only them, “The Sky People” access. They are protected from the harsh rays of the sun and the toxic smoke that clouds the atmosphere by living in expensive biospheres and wearing protective clothing. Infertility due to environmental toxicity and rampant capitalism is becoming pervasive and as a result women’s eggs and men’s sperm are the highest valued commodities. Fertile people are held against their will and made to give their life giving capacities to the ruling class. Melanin becomes highly valuable as well because of its ability to protect people from the sun’s rays which become harsher by the day. The ruling classes lifestyle is more and more threatened by environmental stress and terrorist attacks, and as a result, they become more violent and repressive.
The main character encounters a group of people who have been living invisibly alongside contemporary society unseen and undetected. They are a mysterious group who hold special abilities. They are the descendants of black and indigenous groups that formed community together hundreds of years ago to survive the ruling elites violent and repressive regimes. Some refer to them as “The Maroons”, some refer to them as “The Rats”. On a routine trip to the unprotected zone, “The Zoo”, the child is ripped away from the elites and ends up amongst The Maroons. Over time a trust is built. Through ritual and ceremony The Maroons travel along the quantum continuum. Time and space for them is mutable. They welcome the child and share their knowledge to enable the lost child to “travel” and meet past and future relations that will help them remember who they are and where they’ve come from and where they are going. What they discover through their journey will change the child and humanity’s destiny forever.