During a trip to London in late June, my wife Gwen (pictured above) and I attended a showcase presentation of a new multimedia work by musician, composer, director, producer Tunde Jegede (pictured above on the right).
“Emidy: He Who Dared to Dream” was performed for two nights (June 28 & 29) at Sunbury House. Written and directed by Jegede, the piece featured dancer Ishimwa Muhimanyi performing the lead role, film by Sunara Begum, and other imagery by visual artists Taiwo Emmanuel Jegede and Galina Chester. The sublime and sensational musical accompaniment to the work was provided by Raphael Guel on guitar and percussion, and Tunde Jegede on kora and cello.
The story is based on the life of Joseph Antonio Emidy (1775 – 23 April 1835), who was captured and taken as a child from West Africa to Brazil and later to Portugal by slave traders. In Portugal, Emidy became a virtuoso violinist with the Lisbon Opera. During the Napoleonic wars he was press-ganged into service on a British ship where he served for four years as the ship’s fiddler. Afterwards, Emidy, a free man, settled in Falmouth, Cornwall in the UK, where he became a renowned violinist, composer, and conductor of the Truro Symphonic Orchestra. None of his compositions have survived, but his remarkable life and career have been revived, re-imagined, and commemorated in Jegede’s marvelous and inventive multimedia composition. This visually and aurally mesmerizing work was received with acclaim by the audience in attendance on the premiere night of its showcase. It truly deserves the support needed to mount a major production and tour.
Jegede is a remarkably gifted musician whose virtuosity spans both African and Western classical music traditions. Below I’ve included three music videos that feature Jegede in collaboration with other renowned artists.
Filmed on location in Tafza, Morocco in 2012 this is a performance of Aicha by Tunde Jegede on Kora and Abderrazak Hadir on Sintir. It is a unique collaboration of West African and Gnawa music from these two internationally acclaimed musicians.
A live performance of the African Classical Music Ensemble recorded by the banks of the River Niger. It is an excerpt taken from the film, ‘Mali’ by the American film-maker, Ron Wyman and features the legendary Malian vocalist, Kasse Mady Diabate and music by the composer and Kora player, Tunde Jegede. ‘There was a Time’ is now available from Cdbaby or i-Tunes worldwide. For more information please visit: http://www.africanclassicalmusic.com
A live performance by Tunde Jegede and the Nomadic Mystics filmed in the studio by the American film-maker, Ron Wyman. It features the legendary Malian vocalist, Kasse Mady Diabate, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Paul Reid and the Gambian Kora virtuoso, Wali Cham. It is the first recording of a new sound, ‘Acoustic Afro-Reggae’ a musical meeting point between Africa and its Diaspora. This music is available from Cdbaby or i-Tunes worldwide. For more information on Tunde Jegede & the Nomadic Mystics please visit: http://www.nomadicmystics.com