San Francisco’s Del Sol Quartet is releasing today the first season of their new podcast titled Sounds Current. The podcast, hosted by founding Del Sol member Charlton Lee, follows the string quartet’s journey to shine light on San Francisco’s Angel Island, a site of detention for Chinese immigrants in the 1900s.

The Sounds Current podcast was inspired by the quartet’s commission of Huang Ruo’s Angel Island-Oratorio, a composition that weaves together a story of immigration, discrimination, and confinement on 20th century Angel Island, located in the San Francisco Bay.

Angel Island was home to a collection camp for immigrants. From 1910 to 1940, around 175,000 Chinese immigrants were admitted there. Chinese immigrants faced massive discrimination because of America’s earliest racist immigration legislation, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Some of the immigrants lived on the island for up to two years. The condition of the camp buildings was poor. Many immigrants carved poems into the walls of the barracks, which were later analyzed and published by scientists.

The oratorio brought these poems to life with a poignant and powerful expression of history, hope, and humanity. The podcast traces from the journey from Del Sol Quartet’s premiere performances on Angel Island in 2021 to the most recent 2024 New York sold-out performances, produced by Beth Morrison Projects, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“We are a quartet that deeply cares about connecting with people through our music, making art that feels relevant to those around us,” said Del Sol Quartet member Kathryn Bates. “We invite people in, to be part of the process, to dialogue – as individuals, artists, collaborators, thinkers, organizations, communities. It becomes all our artwork, not just mine or yours. The Angel Island community has been working tirelessly for 40+ years to bring this history to international attention. We are proud to add our music-making to this effort, letting it sing out more.”

The podcast is available here:

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