Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever

Featuring Leyla McCalla

Directed by Kiyoko McCrae, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a multidisciplinary performance set to new music by Haitian-American singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla. The project explores the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner, Jean Dominique, in 2000. We see Haiti through Leyla’s eyes as she grapples with the harsh political realities of its people and the journalists, like Dominique, who fought to uplift their voices.

Leyla mccalla

Leyla McCalla

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Kiyoko McCrae

Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever combines storytelling, dance, video projection, and audio recordings from the Radio Haiti Archive housed at Duke University and is anchored by McCalla’s original compositions and arrangements of traditional Haitian songs. The title is derived from a proverb used by Dominique to describe the spirit of Haiti’s marginalized poor in the face of violence and political oppression.

Duke Performances, where the work premiered in March 2020, served as lead commissioner of Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever. The CAC has hosted a series of production residencies for the project between 2018 – 2020.

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Leyla McCalla Open modal
Kiyoko McCrae Open modal
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Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is made possible, in part, with a grant from the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; a grant from New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; and a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council; and a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever
is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Duke Performances at Duke University, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, Live Arts Miami, and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The MAP Fund
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
South Arts
NPN Creation Fund
NEA no credit line
New Music USA
Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust
Baisley Powell Elebash Fund
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
Mary Duke Biddle Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
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