An exciting mix of entertainment and storytelling at the Young People’s African Concert

by Franklyn Frantos (Snr)

What an innovative way to go! Combining storytelling with creative performances, and all geared towards celebrating the cultural and folkloric elements that inspire African classical music composers and their works.

Saturday 4th June was another history made at the Africa Centre (66 Great Suffolk Street London SE1 0BL). It was an event that no less confirms the African Concert Series (ACS) as continuing their trailblazing ways.

The repertoire features Fred Onovwerosuoke (b. 1960, Ghana)’s 24 Studies in African Rhythms for Piano: Aye dance 1, Pende, Sanza and Raging River. Rebeca Omordia also performed 3 movements of Ufie, Igbo Dance for Piano, composed by Christian Onyeji (b. 1967, Nigeria).

Highlights of the concert also includes the performance of Hale Smith (1925-2009; USA)’s My Scarf is Yellow, African Dances op 58 for Violin and Piano by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912; England); and the traditionals Iya Ni Wura Iyebiye and Ore Meta.

Stories, folktales and cultural motifs that inform and inspire African composers are narrated by journalist/publisher, Segun Martins Fajemisin.

Back in February, having previously been named as one of the institution’s Family of Partners, the African Concert Series debuted at the great Wigmore Hall (36 Wigmore Street London W1U 2BP). Wigmore Hall is United Kingdom’s globally famous home of chamber music and song recitals. This year marks the 121st anniversary of its establishment.

The full-day event comprising a rich array of concerts dedicated to African composers and their works also had a broad positive review published in the April-June quarterly edition of the reputable ‘Musical Opinion’. The subscription-based classical music journal was first published in 1877 and remains one of the longest running magazines in the world.

In line with its founding spirit, the African Concert Series, an organisation established in 2019 by Dr. Rebeca Omordia who is also the curator, continues to showcase a range of performances reflecting the depth and diversity of African art music, the richly diverse genre which forms a bridge between Western classical music and traditional African music. A further boost to the organisation’s stride is the confirmation that from 2022/23, the African Concert Series will make Wigmore Hall its London home.

 © Feferity Media 2022        Text/Franklyn Frantos.    Images/African Concert Series

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