Last weekend, Baobab Youth travelled to London, Ontario for a concert with the UWO choirs directed by Jennifer Moir. Special guest performers were Kofi and Andrew Dunyo who danced some pretty funky hiplife styles. The evening concert opened with a few words by the former president of the University of Western Ontario, Paul Davenport, and a libation ceremony from our mentor and guest of honour, Kwasi Dunyo. Slides from our Ghana trip were projected onto the backdrop and the professional lighting in the theatre gave another artistic boost to the whole event. A free will offering was collected as admission, and we raised $1100 for Kwasi’s home village of Dagbamete, in the Volta Region of Ghana, which will go towards school fees for children. Thanks to Anna King for the photos below!
The choirs had been working with Rory Magill as composer in residence all week prior to that, on several of his compositions which were performed in the concert. Rory was thrilled to have such a great connection with the singers throughout the week to really workshop his pieces. They all learned from each other as happens in those situations. Hearing the young men sing songs from “Atamga” in concert, with feet stomping out the cross rhythmic pulses gave goosebumps…this was preceded by our young men in Baobab performing a traditional Atsiagbekor, in a style we learned this past summer while in Ghana. A highlight for me was the mash up of Rory’s choral piece Bobobo Suite with full choir and our drummers and dancers in front. The sound was truly incredible and very powerful. I wish we could be backed by 175 voices all the time!!!
Rory’s piece “Sista”, for the smaller Les Choriste women’s choir unaccompanied, had many in tears with its emotional impact and connectedness.
The concert finished with Gahu finale, an arrangement of mine that included members of the choir dancing in the aisles, and on stage with our drummers and dancers leading the way. It was a really stunning visual and sound experience, one of the best Gahus we have done! A few comments from audience and participants are below.
Special thanks to our manager Hayley de Bie, our parent chaperone/drivers and Jenifer Moir .
“All I can say is wow”
“Loved the concert … it was so powerful and I will never forget it. Have told my kids that as soon as their kids are old enough it should be a must to see one of your shows. That was the best one that I have seen. And to have put it together so soon after your trip to Ghana was quite a feat.”
“That was a fabulous concert! I enjoyed every minute of it! Your performance of Gahu tonight was inspirational! Thank you for sharing so much cultural information as well.”
“What a total pleasure it was to be apart of that concert! I am totally inspired and was reminded why I study music. I have substituted passion with frustration these last couple years and tonight for the first time in a while I was able to relax and have genuine FUN and enjoy the beautiful music and dance!”