Wearing my curatorial cap – Ignatius Inspires

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For my friends and associates who might not have noticed, I am currently the curator of Ignatius Inspires – a season of creative work made and performed by fellow artists and young people in Haringey schools, all inspired by the music and writings of Ignatius Sancho (1729 – 1780).

I am presenting the season – which will lead to two showcase events, in association with Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London N15 4RX.  The shows are scheduled for Thursday 16th and Friday 17th of November, starting at 7pm each evening.

The process is turning out to be a rich and complex journey. I started last week, singing one of Sancho’s songs in a video shoot for a social media platform advert. Caroline Muraldo (dance) and Waiyin Lee (piano) performed with me. Caroline brought along a young male dance partner, named Dwayne and we had fun, exploring various approaches to interpreting the music, which was set to a poem by Anacreon.

In Accra, Ghana meanwhile, Nana Asaase was writing his first creative response to Sancho’s life and work – a poem entitled Life of Colours – Sancho Ignites. The poem can be found on our new website for the project, designed by Marva Lord of Griots Arts, at https://www.afrocentriccreatives.com/spoken-word

I am now in my third week of leading composition workshops for the project in Haringey schools. The schools involved in this part of project are Crowland Primary School, Woodside High School, Earlsmead Primary School and Harris Academy, Phillip Lane. We are drawing inspiration from Sancho’s penchant for composing pieces about landmarks in London such as Kew Gardens.

Caroline Muraldo has conducted research into the dances of Sancho’s lifetime, such as cotillions, minuets and country dances. She is choreographing two groups of youngsters, in Park View School and Earlsmead Primary School, as the dance component of the project.

Next week I am to meet some precocious young musicians from Haringey’s Youth Orchestra. These musicians will form a band to provide live accompaniment to the dances, playing new arrangements of Sancho’s scores, created by yours truly.

I am grateful to Catty Alberman, Abigail Munson and Peter Desmond of Haringey Music Service for the invaluable help they’ve given Caroline and me in making contacts with the schools, to set up the creative learning side of our project.

Waiyin Lee is going to accompany me in song recital programmes in both showcase events. We are preparing programmes featuring songs by Sancho, from The Beggars Opera by John Gay (in arrangements by Benjamin Britten) and some pieces from my song cycle After hours in the African Gallery.

I hope you will watch this space, visit our Facebook page called Afrocentric Creatives, and book tickets to see one or both of our showcase events from the following link: http://www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk/what-s-on/performances-events/eventdetail/4177/-/ignatius-inspires

Ignatius Inspires is supported with public funding from the Arts Council of England.

— Juwon Ogungbe


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