Following the success of The Old Woman, the Buffalo and the Lion of Manding, which toured with Adverse Camber in 2013 and 2016, we’re delighted to be joining forces again with Jan Blake, Kouame Sereba and Raymond Sereba! Adverse Camber is commissioning a brand new show, with support from The Albany and MAC Birmingham, which takes Sundiata’s story forward. The working title for this new show is The Lion of Manding: Exile, Magic and Power and follows the path of the legendary Malian king, Sundiata Keita, discovering what it means to be a leader, growing in skills and wisdom whilst travelling in exile with his family across the African kingdoms of Ghana, Méma and Sosso.
Jan Blake’s storytelling, praised for its dynamism and passion will be interwoven with the rich repertoire of traditional West African songs and music conjured by Kouame and Raymond, and a celebration of instruments, including djembes, flutes, guitars, bells and the dodo mouth bow. The developing plans for touring include integrating a local choir into each performance, adding a whole new layer of energy, excitement and engagement for audiences across the UK.
Read what Jan Blake says is at the heart of this new piece of work:
I seek to create work in which music, story and community are seen as a whole and thrive in the moment, bringing together different forms of creative and cultural expression, often from divided perspectives or very different kinds of experience. The dynamic of my collaboration with Raymond and Kouame is at the heart of this – they grew up with this story in Africa, I bring a UK/Caribbean perspective. Integrating a choir into our ensemble, a new development, juxtaposes a pre-slavery story and traditional West African music with gospel, a music that has grown from the slave experience, creating rich cross-cultural explorations.
In March 2018, Jan, Raymond and Kouame spent a week working together and also with the London International Gospel Choir at The Albany and at the end of that week, shared an extract of the piece to an invited audience at Canada Water Theatre. You can read all about the experience in this news story.
In October 2021 there was further development on the piece where Jan worked to explore digital storytelling with digital artist, Gary Stewart at Lakeside Arts in Nottingham.
We’re hoping to be able to share Exile, Magic and Power with audiences in the near future, sign up to receive our newsletter to get the news first.