TESTIMONY OF A NOMAD
In times past, griots traditionally travelled from village to village to sit at the seat of learning, embracing the cradle of music and the wisdom of perception. In the same spirit, the 21st century griot travels from continent to continent in the pursuit of truth and the quest for knowledge. For, in the the 21st century the world has become a village.
In this unique show listeners are taken on a journey to the heart of Malian griot culture bringing Tunde’s sound worlds and rich musical legacies to life. With re-imagined cinematic imagery of ancient Africa, it is a meditative musical experience that touches on the very essence of our being. Tunde Jegede’s music is at once an intimate and personal reflection, a cultural expression that transcends boundaries.
Visual artist, Sunara Begum brings her stunning 80-minutes of improvised video art backdrop for the show composed from entirely original footage shot in over three continents. Sunara’s visual library is a palette of textures shot on 16mm, 8mm film as well as video and digital, her images become a fourth instrument on stage. Led by Tunde Jegede, Nomad brings together ancient traditions with digital technology exploring old traditions in a new light. The show features Tunde’s ebb and flow of traditional kora playing with dynamic contemporary compositions for kora, cello and percussion.
Emidy is a musical odyssey of a Guiniean slave who dared to dream, a touching and far-reaching portrait of Joseph Antonio Emidy. It is a new creation by Tunde Jegede (Anglo-Nigerian composer and multi-instrumentalist), that tells the extraordinary experience of Joseph Antonio Emidy, a violin virtuoso from the 18th century, who was a slave before becoming a conductor and composer.
Tracing Emidy’s path, these chronicles recount an astonishing journey across three continents. They convey the moving story of someone who travelled oceans, lands and cultures embracing the worlds of classical, African and South American music, more than two hundred years ago. In this multimedia creation, video, images, dance movements, music and words interact and enrich one another.
‘Memory for the griot is like the waters of the river. To know the future you must know your past and therefore your living present’. The Griot’s Tale is a classic story of a young man’s search for truth and how this is revealed through his journey into the unexpected and unknown. It is a fantastical tale that sweeps through epochs of time, drawing on old African mythology and symbolism to portray five contemporary fables told through ancient eyes.
It is an innovative new work that breaks conventions and will challenge our very notion and preconceptions of what African art and culture is and can be. Conceived by the composer, Tunde Jegede, this piece represents a meeting point between music, poetry, dance and the visual image to encourage new forms of storytelling. Drawing from sacred and ritualistic aspects of African mysticism, The Griot’s Tale features some of UK’s leading practitioners of African culture, including the choreographer, Bode Lawal, actor and director, Patrice Naiambana, the visual artist and poet, Taiwo Emmanuel Jegede and the filmmaker, Sunara Begum.
The Griot’s Tale embraces the worlds of Yoruba chant and movement with cinematic visual imagery, African and Western classical music re-imagined through ancient and contemporary tales of Love, Wisdom, Kinship, Sacrifice and Immortality. In The Griot’s Tale all these strands and influences are woven into a unified whole, within this new production that bridges the inner and outer worlds. With a unique team of artists, this piece transcends art-forms, whilst maintaining and sustaining the integrity of tradition through re-invention. It is the voice of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
African Messiah is a new celebratory work by the composer Tunde Jegede, based on the themes and melodies of Handel’s Messiah but seen through an African musical worldview. African Messiah is a piece that draws on African and European musical traditions. It follows the story of the messiah in parallel to the story of African people bringing together African music with baroque and opera in a unique way. Bringing together traditions, such as that of the Kora (African Harp) and the Riti (African Violin) together with the visual narrative, makes the work a more multi-faith experience, in keeping with our times, without losing the essence of the original ideology.
African Messiah brings a new accent to an established and familiar work with musical sound-worlds that are less familiar to a Western audience but nonetheless completely fitting, harmonious and complimentary to the sensibility and ethos of the work. It uniquely weaves in African musical traditions, such as that of the Kora and the Riti (African Violin) and makes the work a more multi-faith experience in keeping with our times without losing the essence of the original ideology. African Messiah speaks to both the African experience and a universal journey of people to a sacred place of truth and understanding.
OneZero is a unique collaboration with celebrated British artist, Paul Benney (resident artist at London’s Somerset House) with British Indian musician, producer and composer, Nitin Sawhney. The project brings together for the first time past and new works of paintings to the digital screen. It comprises of music by Nitin Sawhney combined with Paul’s recent Night Paintings that were exhibited as the first exhibition of paintings at Somerset House’ Deadhouse, a series of hidden, atmospheric chambers which contain the gravestones of 17th century palace retainers beneath The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.
In this innovative visualscape of music and imagery, Sunara infuses artforms to tell universal stories combining still and moving projections as reflections of the themes that lie within the music and visual narrative. This work is a meditation on the inner pulse of both Nitin’s music and Paul’s paintings, as Sunara’s films marry the two seamlessly and act as a subliminal instrument that penetrates deep within our subconscious, and lingers a long time after.