Now Soweto-born Gregory Maqoma returns to Sadler's Wells with Broken Chord, a work that tells a little-known slice of South African history. At the very end of the 19th century, The African Native Choir travelled by boat to Britain, Canada and the US to gather funds to build a school in Kimberley, South Africa.
They performed Christian and African hymns to large audiences, including Queen Victoria, but inevitably came face to face with realities of racism. The tour was successful but the story was gradually lost, until a multi-media installation The African Choir 1891: Re-imagined opened in London some seven years ago.
Maqoma saw it and was so impressed that he danced in the gallery for the next 40 minutes – or so the story goes.
He then got together with musical director Thuthuka Sibisi, and they created Broken Chord, a unique work that blends dancing, music and performance to tell the story of The African Native Choir and create a meditation on borders, migration and identity.
Broken Chord features Maqoma as a singular dancer among four vocal soloists and an a cappella chorus, which is made up of local singers wherever the work is performed. For the London performances Maqoma has engaged Echo, an acclaimed vocal ensemble that debuted in 2017 and has since performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall and live on BBC Radio 3.
Post Show Talk: Friday 17 March
In conversation with Gregory Maqoma, hosted by Rob Jones. BSL interpreted.
|What||Gregory Maqoma, Broken Chord, Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
17 Mar 23 – 18 Mar 23, 19:30 Dur.: 1 hour no interval
|Price||£15-£45 (+ bokking fee)|
|Website||Click here to book|