update on acts as composer-in-residence at WISER/ UCHRI february/march 2015

revolting music

a bourgeois sitting at the piano alongside parque augusta while an anti-gentrification sit-in plays out across the road

i received an invitation from the goethe institut, brazil, to curate an intervention to interrogate the place of protest music and art in the global south in the 21t century as part of a conference the goethe institut is hosting this year called ‘episodes of the south’.
http://www.goethe.de/ins/br/lp/kul/dub/med/eps/pt13957917.htm

my work in response to this invitation comes directly out of on-going research into the history of protest music in south africa and tracking how this type of aesthetic activism has been either affected or transformed in south africa since the advent of democracy in 1994.

In preparation for launching our interventionist project in sao paolo, in june 2015, i travelled to brazil and uruguay in february and march so i could begin to understand the parallels that exist between communities of artists and their song activism in these two south american countries and those in south africa.

brazil has the dubious honour of being the country with world’s largest black population outside africa, yet is accused by many locally and abroad for its perceived denialism concerning racism.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/opinion/vanessa-barbara-in-denial-over-racism-in-brazil.html?ref=international&_r=0

until as recently as march 1st, 2015, uruguay was known world-wide as the country with a beetle-driving, hitchhiker-lifting activist president who deftly refused to alienate himself from his working-class roots and who’s radical views on economic growth included turning his country into the first 21st century state dealer-of-marijuana.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/03/01/world/americas/ap-lt-uruguay-president.html

today both these south american countries continue to hold firmly onto forms of protest music-making that remain deeply rooted in african aesthetics, having both been recipients of africans pilfered and dislocated forcefully during the trans-atlantic slave trade.

my journey there in february and march became a very fruitful reconnaissance mission and has resulted in my meeting scores of musicians, painters, architects, teachers and traders who i will be enlisting to help enliven the streets of sao paolo during the week of June 7th to 14, 2015 with stories, music, food and mass installations.

we hope this intervention, entitled “massa revoltante” (“a revolting mass”), will help engender greater collaboration between countries in south america and south africa on the theme of aesthetics in politics.

on madness

our production entitled “madness – a preliminary sketch” was programmed as the opening work at the very popular “infecting the city” arts festival in cape town this year.

following a week of very intense rehearsals in two school halls in khayelitsha during the first week of march, we performed to capacity audiences on march 9th and 10th at the historic groote kerk in church square, cape town (the legendary burial ground of cape colony founding govenor, simon van de stel).

the production design sought to elaborate on my on-going research into ways of introducing the premise for black aesthetics in genre of opera. mounting the production therefore offered an ideal opportunity to further my understanding of the ways in which opera might be a form of political posturing and subversion after taking on african forms of expression inspired by locating it within a community like khayelitsha. please find a copy of the programme note here:

http://infectingthecity.com/2015/artwork/madness-a-preliminary-sketch

attached are images and brief (and somewhat bizarre) brief captions off a blog by ashram hendricks:

http://ashrafhendricks.com/blog/infecting-the-city-2015/

A woman plays a violin during her performance known as “Madness – A Prelimenary Sketch” in Groote Kerk, Cape Town. “Madness” is a multi-media work including a choir, live music ensemble & animated visuals.

A man plays piano during a performance known as “Madness – A Prelimenary Sketch” in Groote Kerk, Cape Town.

A young woman from the choir performs during a performance known as “Madness – A Prelimenary Sketch” in Groote Kerk, Cape Town.

Overview of the performance known as “Madness – A Prelimenary Sketch” in Groote Kerk during the annual Infecting the City. This event drew over 150 people who all attended for free.

the brand new release: ‘toro tse Sekete – a myriad dreams

dear friends please visit the site (www.neosong.net) to purchase and download the new record: ‘toro tse Sekete – a myriad dreams’, which has been over two years in-the-making.
the record features appearances by: the Kwanalytical Chamber associates (KwaCha); los Nyongos; Vhavenda tea pickers; the Joy of Africa choir and flautist, Blues Mabaso.
let us know what you think…
neo

watch the trailer: revolting songs

please join us for a live streaming of the concert at chimu central this thursday january 15th, 2015.http://panafricanspacestation.org.za/neo-muyanga-revolting-songs

http://youtu.be/T5xaDy_KCGU

a note from Renee

London-based concert pianist, Renee Reznek, brings Neo Muyanga’s “Hade Tata” to South Africa

This is my very first blog and I am not sure that I am a natural blogger! I find it interesting that whilst I play contemporary music, love modern art and architecture, read new novels and watch the latest films, I am resistant to other aspects of modern life! But wonderful Natalie Eskinazi who has built me a new website has encouraged me by creating a blog page so here goes…

I have been practising Neo Muyanga’s new piece Hade Tata (Sorry Father) which I commissioned. It is a highly evocative piece written in tribute to Nelson Mandela to commemorate the 20th anniversary in 2014 of democratic elections in South Africa. Neo lives in Cape Town and is also writing an opera about Mandela.

Perhaps this is why I have felt so reflective of late; the piece poignantly expresses sorrow and trepidation in the midst of celebration. Muyanga communicates Madiba’s anxiety that he will not live up to the expectations of the world as well as our sorrow at having “fallen short of those hopes and dreams we once held sacred”. The music constantly alternates between joy and sadness.

I was thinking about this particularly on the 21st March. In South Africa it is Human Rights Day and a public holiday in remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre. But here in London it is a day which our family celebrates with joy; it is both my husband’s birthday and the Iranian New Year, Nowruz. This year I could not help but reflect on the gulf between these two yearly events which resonate in my calendar; sorrow amidst celebration again.

Again, in this anniversary year, the disparity between what we hoped for in South Africa and the present reality is painfully obvious. Yet there is still so much to be grateful for.

I will never forget the elation of returning home for the first time after the dismantling of apartheid. So on the 26th April at Homerton College in Cambridge on the eve of that extraordinary day when everyone was able to vote for the very first time in South Africa, I hope to feel part of the celebrations by giving the premiere of Hade Tata. There will be sorrow at the loss of Mandela, an iconic South African, sadness at the corruption of his legacy but celebration of a truly great man and a prayer for a better future.

  • Thu 29th January 2015 at 7:30pm

    Johannesburg International Mozart Festival

    Northwards House, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Tickets:
    http://www.join-mozart-festival.org/tickets/

  • Music by Satie, Debussy, Peter Klatzow, Hendrik Hofmeyr, Sadie Harrison and the first SA performance of Hade Tata in tribute to Nelson Mandela by Neo Muyanga
  • Tues 3rd February 2015 at 7:30pm

    Music Revival

    35 Montgomery Drive, Athlone PMB, R120
    Includes wine and coffee.Tickets:
    Booking: Call 033 3423051 or email booking

  • Sun 8th February 2015 at 4:30pm

    Endler Concert Series

    Fismer Hall,
    University of Stellenbosch,
    31 Victoria Street,
    Stellenbosch, 7600
    Tickets:
    Price: R100
    Booking: Computicket

  • Tues 10th February 2015 at 1pm

    University of Cape Town

    University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
    Lunchtime recital.

MY CAMPAIGN TO RAISE FUNDS TO RECORD A NEW CD OF CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICAN PIANO MUSIC IS UP ON INDIEGOGO! PLEASE HELP ME TO GET THIS FANTASTIC MUSIC OUT TO A WIDER AUDIENCE WITH THE GUILD RECORD LABEL.


The Indiegogo campaign is here:

http://tinyurl.com/mma6w64

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK TO FIND OUT MORE: ANY CONTRIBUTIONS WILL BE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED. IF YOU ENJOYED NEO MUYANGA’S TRIBUTE PIECE TO NELSON MANDELA, HADE TATA OR HENDRIK HOFMEYR’S EVOCATION OF AFRICA’S VAST SPACES IN PARTITA AFRICANA:THESE FANTASTIC PIECES WILL BE RECORDED FOR THE FIRST TIME!

THANK YOU AND WISHING YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Renée

meet us in orbit

“revolting music” – a performative survey of the music that liberated south africa.

together with three collaborators:

galina juritz (violin), ashish joshi (tabla) and mapule tshabalala (saxophone), muyanga explores
the phases of protest-in-song taking apart the hymns that populated the colonial memoir and the laments that accompanied the armed struggle. the band reconstitutes a soundtrack of anger and war given voice by students across the country; the band play a score that speaks to today’s songs of ridicule used to lampoon a former vanguard of revolution.
and, of course, the band also play new love songs, for what good is a revolution without a mad love inserted there?!

neo muyanga is a writing fellow at the wits institute for social and economic research (wiser) and
duke university.

Concert at WAM

WiSER invites you to

Neo Muyanga in Concert

Thursday, 7 August

17:00-19:00

Forecourt, Wits Art Museum

Neo Muyanga, the award-winning musician/composer and a writing fellow at WiSER, will present an installation of his work at the Forecourt of the Wits Art Museum. He will respond to to the themes of the Arts of Human Rights workshop with particular attention to the concept of the archive.

This event is part of ‘The Arts of Human Rights,’ a workshop collaboration between Bard College and the University of Witwatersrand, 5-7 August 2014.

A reception for students who have graduated after participating in the IHRE programme of Wits and Bard College will be held at the same time.

revolting music live: Ginsberg, Cape Town, New York – july 2014

happy salve friends.

2014 sees another collaboration with the johannesburg worksop in theory and criticism (JWTC) and the seminar on experimental critical theory (SECT) with performances featuring:

ABELUSI (19h00, july 7th, steve biko centre, ginsberg),

neo muyanga’s KWACHA trinity (20h00, july 11th, hiddingh hall, uct, cape town)

see the poster here

and celebrate brooklyn (19h30, july 25th, prospect park, brooklyn, new york) featuring:

a survey of songs that liberated south africa,

a live score performed to william kentridge’s animated film, “second-hand reading”

see the details here