On Thursday the 14th of October, in the historic Saint Olave, Hart Street, Tower Hill, London EC3R 7NB, a lunchtime recital took place as part of events marking the Black History Month in the UK.
The recital marks the African Concert Series’ first performance to a live audience since the lockdown. Featuring the founder/curator Rebeca Omordia (piano), Njabulo Madlala (baritone), and Leon Bosch (double bass), the Ubuntu Ensemble also parades Andre Swanepoel (violin), Louise Lansdown (viola), and Ashok Klouda (cello) in addition to Rebeca and Leon.
A terrific concert held in a historic venue as part of a momentous event, the performance showcases the cultural depth and beauty of art music by African classical composers. More so as it premieres new works by African composers for piano solo and chamber ensemble.
Highlights include Nabil Benabdeljalil’s ‘Nocturnes Nos 4, 5, and 6’, a world premiere performance of music from Morocco by Rebeca Omordia (piano). The Ubuntu Ensemble also performed Fela Sowande’s ‘African Suite’ the last movement of which is his transcription of the popular Nigerian highlife song, ‘Mu na Gi’ (You and I). It is a mesmerising rendition of a genius arrangement for piano quintet by no other than the acclaimed writer, producer, and broadcaster, Robert Matthew-Walker who also attended the concert.
Leon Bosch (double bass) dazzles in ‘The South African Double Bass’, with Njabulo Madlala (baritone) giving a hearty performance in ‘Songs of Home – the South African Songbook’.
The African Concert Series was launched in London in 2019 featuring monthly concerts of music by African composers. Described by the BBC World Service as “the African Art Music makes a comeback”, the programme of the series reflects the profoundness of African art music, the richly diverse genre of music which forms a bridge between Western classical music and African traditional music.
With the far-reaching effects of its works in performances and cultural education, the African Concert Series continues to raise the level of awareness amongst the generality of the people regarding this genre.
Text: Segun Martins Fajemisin
Photo/video credit: Africa Concert Series/Fourchiefs Media
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