Matana Roberts — “I’m traveling the world, doing my work because of Roulette.”

Artists are thought leaders and culture producers who challenge us to think, talk, and engage with one another in openness and curiosity. Yet they and their work remain fundamentally undervalued and underfunded in the very society they so strongly enrich. Put simply: artists can’t thrive without committed organizations on their side, and Roulette can’t thrive without caring individuals like you on ours.

Roulette had the privilege of commissioning the extraordinary Matana Roberts when she first moved to NYC in 2007, and for many iterations since. Matana recently shared onstage how much that initial support meant at a time when she needed it most:

I get a phone call from Artistic Director Jim Staley, and I might be paraphrasing but I think he said, “Would you like some money?” I’ll never forget it, I was like, “YES. I would like some money! What am I supposed to do with it?” And he said, “Anything you want to do.” From that initial commission, I was able to create the work that I’m still working diligently on: COIN COIN.

I cannot impress upon you enough that I have a career because of Roulette. I’m eating regularly because of Roulette. I’m traveling the world, doing my work because of Roulette.

The thousands of artists Roulette welcomes to its stage each year, like Matana, deserve serious, lucrative opportunities to get started, and just as many opportunities to keep going. Your support makes this all possible—and it makes all the difference.

Matana Roberts is an internationally recognized, Chicago-born saxophonist and multidisciplinary sound conceptualist working in various mediums of performance inquiry. She is well-known for her acclaimed Coin Coin project, a multi-chapter work of “panoramic sound quilting” that aims to expose the mystical roots and channel the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression.


Roberts celebrated the record release of Coin Coin Chapter IV: Memphis at Roulette on November 17, 2019.