Due to unforeseen circumstances Juwon Ogungbe & Life Force Music in PROGRESS CEREMONY, has had to be postponed. We are URGENTLY seeking a new date and venue and will post here as soon as possible.
Whenever composer/performer Juwon Ogungbe announces a new production, it is a compelling invitation to experience an intriguing and multifaceted highly musical event. PROGRESS CEREMONY is a contemporary music theatre ritual inspired by invocations praise and worship, song, dances and gestures from the Yoruba belief system. The work aims to present new perspectives on some African heritage values especially the potential for tolerance and change with a healing narrative. The piece comes alive with Juwon Ogungbe’s Life Force Music, described by the New York Times as ‘a flowing bridge between the worlds of pop, soul, classical and African music’, performed by some of London’s finest musicians. In a cantor styled role Ogungbe leads on keyboards and illuminates invocations and tales about Yoruba deities with his bass baritone voice. The experience is developed with visual digital interactions created by Derek Nisbet of Coventry’s acclaimed Talking Birds, which draw on worldwide ancient and contemporary Yoruba inspired imagery to magnify the ritual.
Juwon Ogungbe is a composer/performer who commands worldwide respect in all the many fields he chooses to work in. He has composed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Southbank Centre and has led creative learning projects in international settings. In 2012 his music led Merchant of Venice premiered at the Harare Arts Festival and he wrote for a large scale community choir for the Olympiad. He recently composed and performed a piece to depict the history of Black people in Canning Town and his debut album Life Force Music on Second Generation Records has received worldwide airplay. Progress Ceremony is a new departure for Ogungbe combining music, digital visuals and eventually as it grows, movement and dance.
Juwon Ogungbe said “Progress Ceremony is a music driven theatrical piece rooted in a very specific African tradition. Sometimes I feel that UK African expression is limited to broad brush strokes, as if all Africans experience things in the same way. I want to make a statement that can resonate with audiences of any background in an intimate and personal yet simultaneously global universal level ” He added “I read several Nigerian blogs regularly and I feel there is a need for a subliminal healing process for people of my heritage – and indeed everyone else – on a global scale. I hope the music, invocations, affirmations and prayers in Progress Ceremony will somehow help to make a difference through forging new creations, creating trust and understanding amongst us all”
Audiences attending performances currently will be seeing both a consummate polished piece of work and also one in progress. Ogungbe’s plan for Progress Ceremony is to introduce new elements in an evolving process. Earlier this year Progress Ceremony began as a short evening’s music with guide images. At Fairfield Halls following an open rehearsal process and collaboration with multimedia artist Derek Nisbet of Coventry- based Talking Birds, a sequence of images directly related to the music, song and narrative on stage will be revealed. Later following a residency at Coventry University Yoruba/Santeria dance will become an integral part of the performance.
Progress Ceremony is presented by African Divo Arts with Arts Council funding and support from New Variety Lives and Outerglobe.co.uk. More information on Progress Ceremony and Juwon Ogungbe can be found at www.juwonogungbe.com and Juwon Ogungbe’s Life Force Music CD will be on sale on the night