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

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.


Tunde Jegede

Tunde Jegede 2

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