And now for your listening pleasure, a musical app that takes you on an urban soundwalk of Pittsburgh.

City of Asylum Pittsburgh welcomes New York jazz musicians and composers Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriquez August 7-9 for the launch of Digital Sanctuaries, a self-guided smartphone tour through central Northside.

Digital Sanctuaries combines original music by the composers, known as Electric Kulintang, as well as poetry and short texts selected by City of Asylum Pittsburgh.

The interactive app allows listeners to remix the music while they walk, taking them into imaginative spaces in the cityscape around them. The walk will focus on the “Garden to Garden” Trail through the Northside.

“You will experience ordinary locations a different way, as imaginative, living spaces, full of surprises and inhabited by great music and poetry,” says R.H. Reese of Asylum. “The walk through the community is also an interior journey, where you will be thrilled by the art, the diversity of the voices, and the boundlessness of language itself.”

Other sanctuary sites include Widows Home, the Olde Allegheny Community Gardens, the George Ferris House and the National Aviary as well as several places related to City of Asylum.

Expect surprising turns and interludes along the way.

Poetry and texts will be shared by authors Richard Wilbur, Osip Mandelstam, Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska, Willa Cather, Salman Rushdie, Osama Alomar, Toi Derricotte, Diane Samuels and Dunya Mikhail. Several of the poems have been set to music and are sung by choirs.

Ibarra and Rodriquez will lead 90-minute tours at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day. Tours will leave from the Alphabet City Tent at 318 Sampsonia Way on the Northside. The 11 a.m. tour on August 9 will depart from the Aviary. The 11 a.m. tour on August 7 is a special Children’s Tour.

Reservations are suggested. The app is free and runs on Android or IOS3 or greater.

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...