"River Run" (Nancy Maker Brown Song) Revisioned and Reimagined


  • kei slaughter Loyola University-New Orleans




Video Description (on YouTube):

"River Run." Revisioned and Reimagined. 2021.

Words, music, arrangement by kei slaughter.


Originally written in 2019 while participating in the Acoustic Guitar Project - where artists are given one guitar, for one week, to write one song. This intimate performance is a reimagined and revisioned version, weaving deconstructed elements of the original work, with improvised vocalizations, body percussion, and flute loops, and live vocal and flute performance. "River Run" is dedicated to my maternal great great great great grandmother, Nancy Maker Brown.

For me, this (re)mix is an exploration and expression of Black aesthetics - imagining and conjuring new sound worlds through my queer, gender expansive Black body while engaging with ancestral memory. The stripped back elements of breath, tone, and voice, were intentionally used to ground me in my musical-cultural origins, back to a kind of roots music. Thus, embodying the West African concept of Sankofa, as I look back to the past, I also look ahead towards futurity, reflected through the use of live looping, layering, and circular storytelling. Closed captions available.

Author Biography

kei slaughter, Loyola University-New Orleans

kei slaughter, MT-BC (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is a Queer Black non-binary vocalist, flutist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and interdisciplinary artist-healer conjuring bokou magik from deep New Orleans roots. They are the Founder/Lead Music Therapist of S O U L F O L K Sounds, a radical community music production and sound healing practice centering LGBTQ+ BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). kei is also a vocal psychotherapy-trained wellness practitioner and board-certified music therapist working to intentionally to co-create generative, compassionate spaces in community that bring forth frequencies of healing, freedom, and sustainable joy. For kei, this heartwork centers Black and Afro-diasporic musical traditions and embodied healing praxis, and includes elements such as freedom singing, vocal/instrumental and body percussive improvisation, sonic storytelling, and more. 

As a professional musician, kei is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist (specializing in flute), and songwriter, weaving soulful roots&rhythms and gospel-shout feels with musical storytelling and collective healing. kei performs regularly in their hometown of New Orleans, self-published their debut album (Dark Fire) in 2017, and has toured regionally and nationally with solo and collaborative projects. They are the Co-Music Director of a theatre production with Last Call New Orleans and Co-Creator of Non-Binary duo, Spirit & Sparrow. Additionally, kei serves as the Clinical Coordinator of Music Therapy at Loyola University-New Orleans, where they’ve been a member of the Music Therapy faculty since 2019. 

To listen and follow the experience: www.keislaughter.com

PHOTO BY Soraya Zaman

Picture of kei slaughter



How to Cite

slaughter, kei. (2021). "River Run" (Nancy Maker Brown Song) Revisioned and Reimagined. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.15845/voices.v21i1.3250