Telluride Theatre: Cannabis The Concert, 3/7

Telluride Theatre: Cannabis The Concert, 3/7

Telluride Theatre presents “Cannabis The Concert” featuring the New York-based band, Soul Inscribed. The happening takes place Wednesday, March 7, 8 p.m., at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House. Tickets are $15 GA (floor standing); $25 for seating in the balcony. Tickets are available here or by calling 970-708-7629.

Scroll down to watch a trailer for the show.

(Note: 21+, not suitable for young people.)

As part of its new BEYOND THE BOX SERIES, Telluride Theatre is bringing the New York-based band Soul Inscribed to town to present a truly unique, one-night-only event. CANNABIS THE CONCERT marks the inaugural performance of new programming developed to bring original performances by theatre-makers from around the country to Telluride.

CANNABIS THE CONCERT is a theatrical event and “up on your feet” musical concert that traces the story of cannabis through music and the spoken word. Its soundtrack features “mash ups” and arrangements of iconic music: La Cucaracha of the Mexican Revolution; Louis Armstrong and other Jazz “vipers”; the Beat era; 60’s rock and reggae; right up to the hip hop of today, which drives the narrative.

CANNABIS THE CONCERT traces the impact of the plant on humanity, exploring themes of liberation, racism, activism, and mass incarceration in these politically charged times. The project was inspired by the book “Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational, and Scientific” by Martin A. Lee (2012). And Lee has committed to collaborating on the project and serves as a consultant.

“We are excited to be continuing the development of this production with Telluride Theatre. It gives us the chance to premiere new musical material and work towards our vision of a fully realized multi-media production,” states Baba Israel, an artist, producer, and educator who helped create the show.“Our production is both politically charged and an uplifting and celebratory event.”

Through this immersive form of theater, audiences get to experience the repressive forces that have criminalized the communities which have sought the medical, artistic, and revelatory properties of cannabis. The production also celebrates artists and activists who have resisted those forces.

We are at a tipping point in America’s history with cannabis. More than half the states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana. Now is the time to challenge the taboos and perceptions of the plant by exploring its history, medical impact, the racist roots of prohibition and the ongoing, dark legacy of mass incarceration of communities of color.


Baba Israel MC/Poet – Baba Israel is an artist, producer, educator and consultant raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. Israel co-founded Playback NYC, the first playback theatre company to integrate freestyle hip hop. His debut solo show Boom Bap Meditations was supported by the Ford Foundation and the Hip Hop Theatre Festival. Israel has toured across Asia, Africa, Europe, the South Pacific, North and South America as a hip hop and theatre artist and led cultural ambassador programs internationally supported by the US State Department. His work has been featured in documentaries such as “Freestlye” and “Hip Hop for Hope” and on MTV and BET. Israel has worked in the commercial sector on projects with companies such as Verizon, Nokia, Microsoft, and served as an educator and consultant with nonprofits such as BAM, Youngarts, and Urban Word NYC.

Israel was artistic director and CEO of Contact Theatre in Manchester, a leading venue at the intersection of youth leadership and innovative performance. He premiered his most recent multimedia performance “The Spinning Wheel” as a resident artist at BRIC in Brooklyn. The production was developed and toured in the UK, Holland and Norway and in America with MDC Live Arts and the University of Madison, Wisconsin.

Israel is a core member of Hip Hop/Soul project Soul Inscribed, who recently completed the American Music Abroad program. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and is co-Artistic director of the Performance Project based at the University Settlement.

Yako 440 Bass/Guitar/Production – YAKO 440 is a multi-instrumentalist, beatboxer, beat-maker and visual artist with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College’s interdisciplinary arts program. Yako 440 composed and performed music for multi-media theater show “The Spinning Wheel” with Baba Israel and was awarded the NYSCA composer’s grant in 2016. Yako 440 is a member of the band Soul Inscribed, who have toured many countries as hip hop cultural ambassadors with the US State Department.

Jonathan “Duv” Zaragoza is a soulful vocal artist from The Bronx. Known throughout the five boroughs and beyond for his range in sound, his capacity to harmoniously collaborate with a variety of artists and genres of music, and his human beatboxing skills. All that has made Duv a sought-out featured artist, who has collaborated on the albums such as Nice Guys Finish with Hired Gun; Prospect Avenue with Rabbi Darkside; and on stage with Shawn Randall as a featured part of the show “Symphonics Live.”

Duv can be found on stage and in the studio as a singer with the group music project Soul Inscribed. The band is a “new rare groove” project fusing poetic hip hop lyrics and soulful vocals with jazz, funk and dub influenced multi-instrumentalist production. In 2014. Soul Inscribed performed in Veracruz, Mexico as part of the Cumbre Tajin Festival. In 2016, they toured Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Mauritius as American Cultural Ambassadors as part of the US State Department’s “American Music Abroad” program. Soul Inscibed released its self-titled debut album in January 2016 (

Sean Nowell is an active voice on the creative music scene in New York. He has composed and improvised film scores, music for ballet and theatre, 20th-century classical music, big band, and small jazz ensembles and pushed the creative boundaries of the saxophone and flute by integrating electronics. Nowell has traveled and collaborated with dancers, actors, painters, stilt walkers, and acrobats as musical director for Bond Street Theatre and has represented The Istanbul Jazz Festival on their Jazz on Campus Tour of Turkey with The Kung-Fu Masters.

With Soul Inscribed, Nowell has toured internationally to festivals and through the American Music Abroad Program. He holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music and has released the jazz albums with FireWerks, The Seeker, Stockholm Swingin’, The Kung-Fu Masters and The New York Jazz Exchange.

Grace Galu is a vocalist-guitarist and composer who combines the sounds of her Irish and Congolese heritage with a soulful and gritty twist. Her mixed background, combined with her New York City upbringing, helped to forge her wide range of musical abilities. Galu grew up singing musical theater, mimicking the voices of Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, and the operatic Kathleen Battle. She was simultaneously being enveloped in the sounds of jazz, soul, and traditional African music, with influences ranging from Esther Phillips to Senegalese Ismael Lo.

At 14, Grace received a scholarship for an original composition, allowing her to study guitar at the Third Street Music Settlement. There she worked with Liam wood and Jeff Peretz, who produced her song, “Ordinary Sentiment” for the Ed Burns film, “Purple Violets.” For the last 15 years, Galu has been performing regularly at many of New York’s most notable venues; Webster Hall, the Waldorf Astoria, Beacon theater, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Highline Ballroom, The Nuyorican and the Blue Note to name a few. Currently, she holds a residency at Arlo Nomad and Esperanto’s. Galu was recentlyfeatured on the albums of Top $ Raz, Soul Inscribed, Kala, Rabbi Darkside. She is currently recording a solo album.

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