Tunde Jegede – Kora Concerto (world premiere)

 

The Kora Concerto was written during my time living in Nigeria. It is in three movements and is influenced by various musical traditions of West Africa as well as Rodrigo’s celebrated guitar concerto. It loosely follows the structure of that concerto with a medium-tempo first movement, slow second movement and lively up-tempo finale.

Somehow in this kora concerto I wanted to capture the musical worlds of West Africa and particularly the Kora whilst remaining true to the classical tradition in much the same way as Rodrigo was able to do with the Spanish folk influences in his concerto.

It is a fine balance to maintain integrity in two traditions at once and I hope this piece has managed to do this successfully. Creating a kora concerto that can also be played by a traditional kora player is something that I have wanted to do for many years.

Tunde Jegede – Kora soloist
Renu – tabla & congas

PSAPPHA ENSEMBLE
Conrad Marshall – flute
Rachael Clegg – oboe
Dov Goldberg – clarinet
Sarah Nixon – bassoon
Andrew Budden – French horn
Tracey Redfern – trumpet
Gemma Beeson – piano
Tim Williams – percussion
Benedict Holland – violin
Simon Gilks – violin
Rose Redgrave – viola
Jennifer Langridge – cello
James Manson – double bass

Tunde Jegede – Profile
Tunde Jegede is a composer and musician who has been steeped in the traditions of European and African classical music for the last 30 years.

His music has been performed all over the world in concert halls such as Carnegie Hall (New York), the Royal Albert Hall (London) and the Basilique (Paris) by international orchestras and artists including; the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the London Sinfonietta, the Brodsky Quartet, the Smith Quartet and by the percussion soloist, Evelyn Glennie.

Tunde is also a pioneer of African Classical Music and has a deep knowledge of traditional music and culture. As the founder of the African Classical Music Ensemble, Tunde has performed and recorded with some of Africa’s finest artists including Toumani Diabaté, Oumou Sangaré, Juldeh Camara, Bodé Lawal and the Pan African Orchestra .

From an early age, Tunde was uniquely schooled in both Western and African Classical Music. He attended the Purcell School of Music, UK’s first specialist music school conservatoire and also studied the music of the Kora (African Harp-Lute) and the Griot tradition under the Gambian Master of the Kora, Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, in a hereditary tradition that dates back over 700 years. From this unusual parallel education, Tunde gained a deep understanding and appreciation of both forms of music and their distinct legacies, and all these strands and influences have since informed his music and work as an instrumentalist, teacher, and international classical composer.

His music has since taken him all over the world and he has written three full-scale operas, twenty symphonic works and he has worked with over a hundred orchestras and chamber groups.

Tunde has recorded four solo albums including his seminal debut album, ‘Lamentation’ and ‘Still Moment’ a meditative album of solo Kora. His new solo kora and solo cello albums, ‘Heritage’ and ‘Testimony’ were both released in 2014. In that same year he was appointed Artistic Director of the MUSON (Musical Society of Nigeria) Centre and School of Music in Lagos, Nigeria where he is now based and has since established his own concert series, New Horizons.

Shadowboxer: an Opera inspired by the life of Joe Louis

I’ve been in Baltimore this week for a staged reading of “Shadowboxer,” an opera I co-wrote with composer Frank Proto. It was performed last night at the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University. Today (5/14) we move to the Peabody Institute in downtown Baltimore for a 7:30 performance, and a matinee performance on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

“Shadowboxer” was commissioned in 2007 by the Music School and Opera Studio of the University of Maryland, College Park. It premiered there in 2010 at the Clarice Smith Fine Arts Center. The three performances held this week mark the first time it has been done since its premiere. Carolyn Black-Sotir, who served as the assistant director for the original production, worked tirelessly to secure the funding needed to workshop the opera with a new ending, and arranged for it to become part of this year’s Play Lab Series at Center Stage in Baltimore.

Leon Major, who directed the original production, and Timothy Long who conducted it, returned to make the opera live again. I’ve included a few rehearsal shots below. To view excerpts from the original production at U. Maryland, click on this link to the “Shadowboxer” home page.

 

The Shadowboxer full cast

The Shadowboxer Ensemble

 

Old Joe -Performed by

Old Joe -Performed by Daren Jackson

 

Marva Trotter Barrow (Joe's first wife) performed by Lindsey, and Young Joe, performed by

Marva Trotter Barrow (Joe’s first wife) performed by Lindsay Roberts, and Young Joe, performed by Terrence Chin-Loy

 

Shadowboxer Cast

Shadowboxer Cast

 

Inna Modja – Tombouctou (Clip officiel)

This video speaks to the devastating effects of war on women, and the spirit of resistance that emerges to confront such existential threats. It is the official video released by Inna Modja in 2015 to accompany the release of her album: Hotel Bamako.

Special thanks to Clyde T. who sent me the link from Panama.

 

Also from Hotel Bamako: Outlaw.

 

Inna Modja

Bloodline Rumba Photos

Bloodline Rumba, my new play, had a great premiere on its opening night (2/3/16) at the University of Louisville’s (UofL) Thrust Theatre. It is presented by the African American Theatre Program of the UofL Theatre Arts Department, and directed by the phenomenal Nefertiti Burton.

Sidney Edwards—who plays Sara Santos, a young Afro-Cuban woman seeking to attend medical school in NYC—is seen in the photo below. Her fellow cast members are: Shaleen Cholera (Ernesto), Paula G. Lockhart (Abuela), Casey Moulton (Dr. Ramos), Ross Shenkar (Senor Prado), and Danielle Smart (Lola).

The play runs until Monday (2/8/16). For performance times and ticket information, please click here.

To see more photos from the show, please click here. And here for photos by Aukram Burton.

To learn more about the production, check out this story in the Louisville Cardinal student newspaper.

Bloodline Sara

Bloodline Rumba, a new play by John Chenault

My new play, Bloodline Rumba, is premiering 8 pm Wednesday, February 3, at the University of Louisville (UofL). It is being produced by the African American Theatre Program of the UofL Theatre Arts Department, and directed by the brilliant Nefertiti Burton.

For more information, check out this story in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

bloodline-rumba_final copy

Allen Toussaint Documentary

The master has departed, but his genius and his music endure …

Note: the person who posted the documentary to Youtube “had to remove some music to avoid copyright infringement,” so a couple of brief sections occur without sound. Still, this documentary is not to be missed if you love music.

 

 

Written by Allen Toussaint and made famous by Lee Dorsey, THE GREATEST LOVE was recorded by Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint along with The Crescent City Horns and The Imposters and released as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the 2006 album, THE RIVER IN REVERSE.

 

The greatest love I ever loved
Was the love I had for you
The greatest wish I ever wished
Was when I wished that you love me too

But I found out that you were lying
When you said that you’d be mine
All that talk about break up, never, leave me never
It was the greatest love
It was the greatest love
But I still love you
I still love you

The greatest hurt I ever hurt
Was the hurt you put on me
It took so long to find out
That this love could never be

But I found out that you were lying
When you told me you’d be mine
All that talk about break up, never, leave me never
It was the greatest love
We had the greatest love
But I still love you
I still love you

Well I found out that you were lying
When you said that you’d be mine
All that talk about break up, never, leave me never
It was the greatest love
We had the greatest love
But I still love you
I still love you

(Greatest love)
I still love you
(Greatest love)
We had the greatest love
(Greatest love)
I still love you