The NOK Orchestra is a Nigerian performing group formed in 2015 by the Nigerian-Irish British born composer and multi-instrumentalist, Tunde Jegede. It is the first contemporary classical orchestra who uniquely create and develop work that bridges Western and African Classical music traditions.
Founded in Lagos, the orchestra comprises of up to 30 classical musicians drawn from many different regions and ethnic groups across Nigeria including Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa Fulani and Tiv. The duality of language and heritage within the orchestra fuses into the very fabric of the NOK Orchestra’s soundscape. Through their 4 week residency at Guest Projects they will develop a new piece, Mwindo - An African Ballet which is based on the old African Mwindo Epic. Mwindo - An African Ballet is a new creation and collaboration between Tunde Jegede, choreographer and dancer, Qudus Onikeku, and the NOK Orchestra.
Mwindo - An African Ballet tells the mythological story of a great warrior king. From his miraculous birth (as a child who is born already speaking) and his subsequent rejection by his own father and the village, to being cast into the river of exile and traveling to find his great aunt whilst overcoming all the challenges and obstacles before him. Mwindo grows into the great warrior-king he is destined to be, returning triumphant to the village of his birth where he pursues his father into the underworld and brings him back repentant. The second part of the piece follows his mystical journey in pursuit of knowledge from the other side. He persuades the boatman to carry him across the waters and the piece follows his trials and tribulations with the elements until he is finally able to return back to his village.
Bringing together the elements of Western and African cultures, Mwindo - An African Ballet is the story of the prophetic child who returns home, told through dance, movement, music, narration and multi-media visuals. It is a unique meeting point between the cultures of Africa and Europe and a creative synergy of two cities, Lagos and London. At the end of the residency the NOK Orchestra will give a special showcase of their work at the Shonibare studios on 30/08/19.