Arts / Performing Arts

Electronic and Symphony Music Come Together With Poetry In One Unique Houston Concert — DJ Sun Keeps It Interesting

Much More Than Just Another Night of Music

BY // 08.18.22
photography Johnny Than

DJ Sun & The Loveletter Orchestra brought together fans of electronic and symphonic music alike at Moores Opera House for an evening of live music and elegance. Around 700 people arrived at the University of Houston’s renowned theater for the sold-out concert, where Houston-based DJ Sun reinterpreted his new album, Loveletter: Red Hook to Rotterdam, with live musicians. The concert was presented by Blaffer Art Museum and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, and sponsored by PaperCity

The 14-piece orchestra was conducted by Marlon Chen, a Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) grad and the current music director of the Manila Symphony Orchestra. Joining the Loveletter Orchestra were world-renowned drummer Chris Dave, an HSPVA grad who has been featured on Adele’s 21 and D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, and Dave’s band — The Drumhedz. 

The evening featured a selection of nine tracks from Loveletter. In the spotlight were R&B singer SAM/SIN — with backup vocalists Triniti Hymes-Richardson, Krystal Hardwick and Molly Shanahan — as well as rapper Fat Tony, reggae band DM’s lead Louis Morales and Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean.

Fat Tony, Steven Matijcio, DJ Sun, Marlon Chen, Chris Dave, Marcus Walker, Tim Ruiz, Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean (Photo by Johnny Than)
Fat Tony, Steven Matijcio, DJ Sun, Marlon Chen, Chris Dave, Marcus Walker, Tim Ruiz, Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean at the “Loveletter” concert. (Photo by Johnny Than)

The musicians performed in front of a backdrop of video clips and abstract moving imagery, through projections created by Justice Tirapelli-Jamail and Tamirah Collins. The visuals perfectly matched Loveletter’s aesthetics of French new wave, 1960s soul, old school hip-hop and soul.

The evening followed the tale of a 19th century Russian couple named Dmitri and Marijke, played by Gilbert Ogunmokun and Jennifer Rogers respectively. The story was written by DJ Sun’s daughter Khaili Sam-Sin, also known as the lead singer SAM/SIN, and featured poetry by Ogunmokun. Between each song, Ogunmokun and Rogers performed spoken word, reading the letters sent between the couple — a literal spin on the theme of a “Loveletter.” 

Marlon Chen conducts 3 (Photo by Johnny Than)
Marlon Chen conducts the “Loveletter” orchestra. (Photo by Johnny Than)

PC Seen: Blaffer Art Museum and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center artistic director Steven Matijcio, The Menil Collection’s Melissa Luján, Michael Mandola, Katharine Barthelme and Shane Frank, Shannon Hall and Marcus Sloan, Josh Pazda, Tina Zulu, Gonzo247 and Carolyn Figueroa, Russel Gonzalez, Laura Calaway, Surena and Misty Matin, Kelly Devine and Yvonne Boustany.

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