The Secret Opera Garden

  • SAVVY Contemporary
  • Neo Muyanga
  • opera

05.12.2016 / 19:00 – 21:00

Workshop with presentation and open discourse on opera in South Africa

On the occasion of Neo Muyangas – singer, composer and researcher from South Africa – presence in Berlin we want to invite you to an evening dedicated to the open exchange and questioning of African opera and transcultural esthetic criteria in music theatre. The evening is planned in three parts, a presentation in words and sounds by Neo Muyanga on his research and artistic work, an open but moderated discourse of people with an interest in decolonization, black opera, contemporary music theatre, esthetics, singing traditions and an informal get together. This evening is part of an ongoing questioning of normative esthetics in the global context by the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.
Additionally to Neo Muyanga the researcher Dr. Lena van Hoven (University of Bayreuth) and the director Shirley Apthorp ((educational) opera projects in South Africa) will give an input about the opera practice in South Africa in opera houses and townships, about social and cultural contexts.
The evening will be moderated by the music journalist Uwe Friedrich.
Welcome an introduction by Julia Gerlach, DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

Neo Muyanga: “south africa is such a musically self-assured country that many citizens consider themselves expert at reaching easily for a song to accompany any occasion: there are songs to sing at a birth as well as a death; songs of good cheer at feasts such a weddings and songs of lament and political protest; we have songs even for lampooning at times such as we are living now, when the president is often seen hitting the news headlines under the cloud of some egregious scandal other.
in my talk, i will present a brief survey of the songs that were instrumental in liberating a new african nation, first from colonialism and then later from apartheid. it will be a story that touches on the advent of four-part harmony among the black community in south africa, and it will be a tale that teases out some of how this liturgical hymnody began to infuse the musical theatre stage, the opera and even the revolutionary camps populated by fighters-in-exile in lusaka, morogoro and further afield. it is a story of a south africa of modernist pretensions during the 19th century and a south africa of our afro-futurist present of the 21st century. “

Neo Muyanga
Neo was born in Soweto, Johannesburg, into a family of musicians and makers of the Mozambican Timbila (precursor to the marimba). He studied the Italian Madrigal tradition with choral maestro, Piero Poclen, in Trieste, Italy. His knowledge of African musical forms, combined with his studies of the western classical tradition, have resulted in a range of compositions fusing those traditions and placing him at the forefront of the South African avant-garde.
In the mid 90’s he co-founded the acoustic pop duo, BLK Sonshine with Masauko Chipembere, garnering a following throughout Southern Africa and internationally. He continues to tour widely both as a solo performer and in various band guises. Neo co-curates the Pan African Space Station, which he co-founded in 2008 with Chimurenga’s publishing editor, Ntone Edjabe. The Station is a continually evolving host of cutting-edge pan African music and sound art, on the internet and across stages in Cape Town and other parts of the globe.
For two months in winter 2016 he is guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

Free entry

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