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A Sea-drift of Songs is a reconstruction of the sound and visual scapes of the AfroAsian worlds of the 13th century, as gathered by the Re-centring AfroAsia  (RAA) project. It is an effort to reconstruct the laments and joys, the rhythms and plausible melodies of that time. It is also made up of stories - the stories of women in servitude who made up most of the musicality of that time. They are searching for ways back home when the brilliant city of Baghdad was torched by Mongolian-led forces in 1258.

The AfroAsia Ensemble is a gathering of composers, writers, performers and visual artists from South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Turkey, Spain, India and China. We are delighted to have an array of soloists from at least 7 vantage points of the known world: from Mapungubwe to Al Andalus and from Muziris to the Habeshi Highlands. It was originally formed to respond to an invitation by the Asia Art Archive to be part of its celebrations in Hong Kong in 2020.

Its core is made up of some of the award-winning members of the Insurrections Ensemble, that was featured as part of the project, and a new array of composers and performers who have been involved in aspects of the project's work. Alas, COVID-19 scuttled the possibility of its expanded performance. The RAA annual conference afforded an opportunity to have a shorter version of this pluri-medial work, but unfortunately the Indian maestros were unable to travel, though their sounds and voices are present.


Artwork: Jade Gibson @jadegibsonart   

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Check out the livestream of the performance as broadcast on 22 November 2020:


Selamawit Aragaw, violin

Mark Aranha, composition, guitars, dotara

Brydon Bolton, composition, double-bass, electronica

Thabo Bopape, film

Bronwen Clacherty, composition, voice, vibraphone, percussion

Sumangala Damodaran, composition, voice

Kathyayini Dash, composition, voice, artwork, scenography

Sazi Dlamini, composition, voice, guitars, bows, strings, winds

Abhishek Dutta, film

Somrita Umi Gangully, translations

Halim Gencoglu, oud, tambur

Pritam Ghosal, composition, sarod

Luis Gimenez, composition, guitar, mbira

Benjamin Haskins, animations, projections

Rhoda Isaacs, production and stage management

Jill Joubert, sculptures

Nkosenathi Ernie Koela, composition, mbira, bows, voice, percussion

Reza Khota, composition, guitars

Grasella Luigi, voice

Tlale Makhene, percussion, voice

Benignus Mbiro, percussion

Masello Motana, voice

Kristin NG-Yang, artwork

Malik Ntone Edjabe, exhibition footage

Thania Petersen, curator of artwork

Lungiswa Plaatjies, composition, voice, mbira, bows

Karen Press, words

Steven Sack, stage design

Tina Schouw, composition, words, voice, guitar

Ari Sitas, words, voice, scenography

Cara Stacey, composition, keyboards, bows, winds, voice

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