Found in Translation

Free entry - registration required.

In this unique event, a Zimbabwean mbira player and an American classical pianist will draw on their various cultural, musical, and religious heritages to confront a host of fascinating questions:

How does the Bible’s language impact the ways we hear its messages about colonialism and freedom – both now and in the past?

How can musical responses to this ancient text affect the ways we understand how it speaks to us today?

How does institutional authority impact the kinds of sacred music we hear in church and our experience of the Biblical tradition?

Through improvised music and song based on various versions of the Bible – including the King James Version, translations into the Shona and Ndebele languages, and the Negro “slave Bible” – this event will explore how the arts shape the ways we think about the Bible, its reception, and its political and cultural power.

Featuring John Pfumojena, mbira, and Delvyn Case, piano.

About the artists

John Pfumojena, known on stage as John Falsetto, is a Zimbabwean Composer, Musical Director, Mbira & Marimba Master, and Vocalist published by Warner Chappell Music (Warner Music Group); a distinguished Actor and Theatre Practitioner, and Associate Director of Tangle Theatre Company. He has been awarded the OBIE Special Citation Award (New York) for his work on the globally acclaimed play The Jungle, and is the recipient of an Honorary Award for Cultural Ambassadorship by the Zimbabwe Achievers’ Awards (UK). John’s musical work has seen him nominated for the Critic’s Awards for Theatre in Scotland (Enough of Him, play) for Best Music and Sound, and The Black British Theatre Awards (For Black Boys, play and Carousel, musical) for Best Musical Director and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, consecutively. John composes and arranges music rooted in the marimba and mbira aesthetics of the Shona people from Zimbabwe, and his practice is concerned with intercultural collaboration and the bridging of cultures through creative exploration and performance.

Delvyn Case, Deus Ex Musica founder, maintains an international interdisciplinary career as a composer, conductor, scholar, writer, and pianist who specializes in the intersections of music and religion. His works have been performed by numerous Grammy-winning artists and by over 100 orchestras around the world. Over the past 25 years he has written numerous award-winning concert works that explore texts and themes drawn from the Bible and Christian theology, including his quartet “Psalms of Ascent”, for which he was named Distinguished Composer of the Year by the MTNA. He has written on the intersections of music and Christianity for some of the most prominent religious publications in the United States, and has spoken on music and theology at Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford. He is the founder of Deus Ex Musica, an international organization that promotes the use of sacred music as a resource for spiritual formation, ecumenism, and interfaith dialogue. A graduate of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, he currently serves as Professor Music at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.