African Messiah is a new celebratory work by the composer Tunde Jegede, based on the themes and melodies of Handel’s Messiah but seen through an African musical worldview. It is a chamber opera that follows the story of the messiah in parallel to the story of African people bringing together their music with baroque and opera for the first time.
African Messiah brings a new accent to an established and familiar work with musical sound-worlds that are less familiar to a Western audience but nonetheless completely fitting, harmonious and complimentary to the sensibility and ethos of the work. It uniquely weaves in African musical traditions, such as that of the Kora and the Riti (African Violin) and makes the work a more multi-faith experience in keeping with our times without losing the essence of the original ideology. African Messiah speaks to both the African experience and a universal journey of people to a sacred place of truth and understanding.
Tunde Jegede - musical director / kora
Sunara Begum - film / live visuals
Josephine Amankwah - soprano
Laverne Williams - mezzo
Wills Morgan - tenor
Juwon Ogungbe - baritone
HKB FiNN - spoken word
The Elements Gospel Choir
African Classical Music Ensemble