Memory of how it feels …
Inspired by the traditional Zulu practice of exchanging beads encoded with secret messages between lovers, this is a collection of three tonal short stories told through narration, dance and chamber orchestra music.
The tales are naïve reflections of both romantic and platonic ‘new’ love, based partly on real and true events that have occurred in my life, and which are now also embellished using elements of myth and folklore:
* from Uganda, Nambi, daughter of the creator god, Gulu, is here imagined as a little girl living in Soweto;
* from Sumeria, the story of Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu, imagined here as a tale between two contemporary musicians in Maputo;
*and finally from Egypt – the land of Isis and Osiris – comes the story of Cleopatra her Antony, imagined as though happening near a harbour in 21st century Alexandria.
Each of these encounters lasts only the length of time it takes to steal a single intimate conversation.
Supported by an ensemble comprising string quintet, piano and voice, the narrators apply a kind of ‘conduction’, leading the ensemble as it transmutes the written notes, squiggles and text from paper onto the stage in a small intimate setting.
Maskanda musicians famously claim they have the power to turn any instrument they touch, ukuthi ikhulume isizulu.
This is, hopefully, the case too in memory of how if feels, as the chamber ensemble is tuned proportionally to assimilate the self-repeating modes, harmonies and patterns of a Zulu love letter.
neo, cape town 2011