Talks With Tunes

Panel discussions + performances inspired by the Life and Legacy of Civil Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer


September 4th, 7th, 14th & October 17th


Talks with Tunes brings to life the themes and topics of White Snake Projects' productions, diving deep with panel discussions and performances.

White Snake Projects presents Talks with Tunes, a new series of panel-performances addressing themes & topics connected to Is This America? Events at Boston Public Library branches are presented as part of the "Revolutionary Music" series.

Discussion topics include Voting as Freedom, A History of Protest Song, Civil Rights Icons of Boston, and Recreating the World of Fannie Lou Hamer. Each panel includes a musical performance, taking place at locations around the city.

Sep 4, time TBA—Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library
Sep 7 @ 7:30pm—Museum of African American History
Sep 14 @ 4pm—Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library
Oct 17 @ 6pm—East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library

White Snake Projects' 2024-2025 programming is supported by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation. Our programming is also supported the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mass Cultural Council, the Boston Cultural Council, Reopen Creative Boston Fund, administered by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Ditson Fund.


Deborah Nansteel Fannie Lou Hamer/Lou Ella Townsend
Eliam Ramos Pap/James Townsend/Ensemble
Naila Delgado Child Soloist


Tianhui Ng Music Director
Mary D. Watkins Composer/Librettiest
Cerise Lim Jacobs Co Librettist

Technical & Production

Jeffrey Petersen Production Manager
Baron Pugh Scenic Design
Chloe Moore Costume Design
John Oluwole Adekoje Projection Design
Aja Jackson Lighting Design
Anika Nayak Stage Management
Crow Traphagen Assistant Stage Manager
Nettrice Gaskins Artwork Designer


The Inspiration

Singing Through Our Fears

“My goal is to show the dignity and strength with which Fannie Lou Hamer and her fellow civil rights workers carried themselves in spite of the terror and dehumanizing treatment they were subjected to and to convey the great spirit of love that bound them together. Their story deserves to be told in a grand way – a way befitting the souls of the people who marched in the streets in the hot sun with such determination, singing through their fears while their opponents spat upon them, beat them, kicked them, called them vile names, terrorized their families, and imprisoned them. Is This America? is my salute to these beautiful, courageous people. I chose to tell Fannie Lou Hamer’s story as an opera because I wanted to use an art form that would capture the power and sweep of her life. I wanted to give full voice to this amazing African-American female political leader.”

— Composer MARY D. WATKINS