An interview with Micaela Tobin + an accompanying mix, album downloads, and our writers panel on Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris's 'EarthSeed' and Thiago Nassif's 'Mente'
Micaela Tobin is an opera singer, experimental musician and teacher based in Los Angeles who has crafted music both solo and in groups. Her latest album under the White Boy Scream moniker, BAKUNAWA, is an anticolonial missive that was inspired by precolonial Philippine mythology. Joshua Minsoo Kim caught up with Tobin on June 9th to discuss her work, the opera that changed her life, white supremacy, voice healing workshops, and more.
Joshua Minsoo Kim: Hello, hello!
Micaela Tobin: Hi Joshua! It’s so nice to talk to you.
It’s so nice to talk with you as well.
I loved your review and all of the insights into the symbolism and everything. You said things about the album that I didn’t even consciously realize. It was so beautiful, and my family is so excited about it so thank you so much.
Of course, and I’m happy that your family was excited about it. I remember when Raymond Cummings wrote a review for your last album, you were saying how it helped your father better understand the music you make as White Boy Scream.
Yeah, it did!
I hope my review can help with that too.
It’s always challenging with the generational divide and with music that isn’t readily accessible to people.
It’s definitely an ongoing conversation with my family and I, but with this album [BAKUNAWA] and the residency at Coaxial and the videos that I made, it’s hitting home more for them. It makes me happy (cheerful laugh).
Can you talk to me a bit about your relationship with your family?
I’m really close with my family. I’m an only child and grew up in Pasadena, California and my mom’s family is here. Two out of my mom’s three siblings and my grandparents were here too, and there are other relatives, like one of my grandmother’s sisters. I grew up really close to the Filipino side of my family here. I’m still really close to them, especially with everything going on in the last couple months with the pandemic and stuff. We’re checking in almost daily—it’s been good.