House of Jollof: How sounds from the kitchen formed a new opera by Welsh artists
Music Theatre Wales are unveiling three new works, part of a project to commission and work “with artists who have been ignored or excluded from creating opera previously.”
From popular music to classical, Wales has produced many world class musicians and singers over the years. But what about the next generation of stars?
This new project has commissioned short works of opera from artists who might not have had a chance to take part previously.
The first – called ‘The House of Jollof Opera’ is a collaboration between two Welsh artists – musician Tumi Williams and director Sita.
Sita told ITV Wales: “If you consider the canon of traditional opera you don’t often see people like ourselves represented. So we were thinking: how do we write something that’s really specific to our experience here in Cardiff?
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“So we wanted to represent South Asian stories or Black stories. Tumi is not just a performing artist, he’s also a budding chef – so I thought we have to represent that in opera! So that’s how the House of Jollof Opera came about.”
The piece samples a traditional Nigerian talking drum and even features cooking sound effects to form the beat.
“Writing in this format was completely new to me,” Tumi said. “We recorded sounds from the kitchen and made this beat from it.
“The piece highlights the struggles we go through as people of colour with getting these roles and getting into these spaces.”
Shot in Neighbourhood Cafe in Grangetown, Sita describes the piece as a “celebration of contemporary Cardiff life in its fullest forms of diversity.
“We hope when people watch it, it brings a smile to their face”, she added.
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