A Look Back: Portland Ovations & Daniel Bernard Roumain

Dear Friends,

We invite you to join us for Daniel Bernard Roumain’s E C H O E S – Stories and Songs Across Time, a community-based, site-responsive work that honors Black life in Portland, past, present and future, culminating on May 11 with a series of activities in collaboration with our partners Indigo Arts Alliance, Abyssinian Meeting HouseSpirits Alive and The Prince Project at the Eastern Cemetery, along with collaborators CC Paschal, Nyamuon “Moon” Nguany Machar and Brian J. Evans.

In the same way it’s difficult to put into words what E C H O E S is and has the power to be, so is the path that brings us to this moment. There are many threads, stepping stones, synchronicities, magical moments and overlapping/intersecting relationships over the past 15 years that inspire E C H O E S and what it can be. In the old maxim, a picture tells a thousand works, here is a visual timeline that aims to capture those moments and relationships.


2008-2009 Season

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) makes his first visit to Portland as part of Ovations’ Maine & It’s Ties to African: Making Visible Maine’s Black History inspired by the text of the same title by Mr. Gerald Talbott.

Daniel Bernard Roumain in residence at North Yarmouth Academy as part of 317 Maine’s Maine Acoustic Music Festival.

Following Ovations’ history of presenting chamber and classical music, DBR’s “A Civil Rights Reader”  is one of the first presentations on Ovations’ School-Time Performance Series.

“I thought that he was wonderful! When he played the musical self-portraits, it fit everyone perfectly from DBR just seeing our faces.  He has changed the way that I listen to music.” — KaLynn 

“We had the most interesting jam session after the concert; everyone in the band was trying rhythms and techniques that they had heard during the concert … My parents were able to attend the concert and they keep talking about the King piece “Lost.”  They were able to hear it very biographically. You shared so much with us over such a short period of time.  Thank you” — Ness, student at Casco Bay High School and member of rock group Dysfunktional Mayhem

“That was great. When I was 12, I talked to my parents about my goal  to learn to play the violin, but I couldn’t play it because of the war and things that happened in my country until today. Today, it was a great day for me–touching the violin and playing. I was really happy, and I liked when Daniel was playing it…” — Lydia


Daniel Bernard Roumain and Daniel Minter give a talk moderated by Marty Pottenger at UNE on the intersection of art and activism as found in their respective work. 



Ovations presents DBR’s expansive community project, EN MASSE, during which more than 75 artists and 1,000 community members joined in a parade down Congress Street culminating with a community music jam featuring Batimbo United.



The Freedom Walk, with interpretation by local Black leaders, takes more than 200 community members on a walk through Portland’s Freedom Trail, starting at the Abyssinian Meeting House with a tour of the historic building and words by Daniel Minter and featuring along the way a performance by poet Moon Machar, now a member of the Portland Ovations Board of Directors.


Moon Machar performing spoken word poetry during the Freedom Walk, 2019

Daniel Minter, 2019


DBR returns to Portland during the height of COVID for a series of “flatbed truck concerts” around the City of Portland, featuring guest artists such as Moon Machar and in collaboration with Indigo Arts Alliance. For many, this was the first time hearing live music in more than 6 months.

Daniel Bernard Roumain, Alejandro Graciano, Namory Kieta, 2020


Indigo Arts Alliance and Ovations partner on Seeking Resonance, a series of events in collaboration with the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, that explored our deep need to find “home”: a space and place that, in its resonance, makes us feel whole – where we feel joyful, safe, valued and loved. It revealed stories of migration to African diasporic artforms – with the many Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples, cultures and artistic expressions that make up our global communities.

Cartography performance, 2021



The launch of E C H O E S.

Daniel Bernard Roumain performing during the kickoff of E C H O E S, 2024

E C H O E S would not be possible without the artistry of Daniel Bernard Roumain; the great knowledge and resiliency of our partners, and you.

Please join us.

Aimée M. Petrin
Portland Ovations Executive & Artistic Director