Tuesday, 21 November 2006

african goodness

A few days later we went to Churchill College, on the frontier of the city. It was a trek to get there under leg power as an undergraduate, and its still a trek today, even when a mate is giving you a lift! 'Composition in Africa and the Diaspora' was a collection of songs and piano pieces by composers I'm ashamed to say I had never heard of. The works were all written in the last fifty years, and their idiom was recognisably a blend of elements from traditional African music and twentieth century classical music. Much of it was beautiful, and all of it was interesting.

Dawn Padmore (soprano) had a cold, so her voice was not as pure as I have heard it before, but her outfit rocked, and she won us over with her entertaining introductions to everything she sung. Glen Inanga (piano) lacked a little polish in one or two places, but overall was superb. I would give a lot for his deft touch and impeccable tonal control. The two solo pieces he presented really stood out: very impressive, and full of soul. Ayo Bankole's Fugal Dance and Rhapsody on a Theme from Egun (according to this article, Bankole is a key figure in Nigerian art music despite a tragically early death). After the recital Inanga was both vivacious and gracious in conversation with members of the audience who hung around to congratulate him and Padmore, and he agreed to send me copies of the unpublished scores. Hurrah!