A once-off: Chief Dr. Prof. Neo Muyanga drops his shembe baton and pulls out the toys – and this man takes his games seriously.
Muyanga was born in Soweto, into a long line of traditional composers and makers of the timbila (a Mozambican tuned wood percussion instrument). He studied the Italian madrigal tradition with choral maestro, Piero Poclen, in Trieste, Italy. Neo composes works for choir, chamber and large ensemble and continues to tour widely as a solo performer and as a member of Blk Sonshine. He has also composed for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Handspring Puppet Company, and is co-curator of the Pan African Space Station (PASS) with Ntone Edjabe.
His new fictional operetta, The Flower of Shembe is about faith and destiny, based on the story of myths surrounding Isaiah Shembe. Shembe founded the New Nazareth African Church (iBandla la maNazaretha) at the beginning of the 20th century, and became regarded by many followers as God-made-flesh. He also had detractors, however, who saw him variously as a radical revolutionary, a charlatan and/or a trickster-magician. Muyanga sets out to reflect the epic perils such a journey might entail. In doing so, he also speculates on what manner of trials and tribulations a new incarnation of Shembe might have to live before they were able to come to terms with their own destiny.
Watch this 2009 PASS interview where Muyanga is featured.
Neo Muyanga’s The Flowers of shembe – a mythic tale of faith & destiny
DIPALO a mixtape for those who practice counting
Composed, arranged and performed by Neo Muyanga, this audio cd supplement is part of the Chimurenga Chronicle, a speculative newspaper which is issue 16 of Chimurenga. [display_podcast] Tracklist: a) 1+1= (a re-composition of a 5000-year-old offering to Lord Ganesha, the Hindu deity, an opener of sorts) b) 4:7 (heaven’s on the ocean is a proportional refrain on reaching nirvana, the 7th grade, via the mundane material world) c) 3sin= rθ (sino projection technology theme) d) 3(x)n (illegal border crossing and …
Biko Day Song Mix
Today (September 12) is Biko Day – the day the black consciousness philosopher, thinker, leader Steve Biko died in police custody in 1977. Since 2008 PASS has launched on this day (see Songs for Biko, and other stomps, screams and prayers: pics, vids and sounds from the 24-hr marathon praise party held to launch PASS in 2008, 2009, 2010). This year the live-station is in the dock for maintenance (Back soon. Watch this space for the relaunch) but we still …
Steve Biko’s transmigration mix
Today (September 12) is Biko Day – the day the black consciousness philosopher, thinker, leader Steve Biko died in police custody in 1977. Since 2008 PASS has launched on this day (see Songs for Biko, and other stomps, screams and prayers: the 24-hr marathon praise party held to launch PASS in 2008, 2009, 2010). This year the live-station is in the dock for maintenance (Back soon. Watch this space for the relaunch) but we still remember Biko with our Steve …
Memory of how it feels. . .
Inspired by the traditional Zulu practice of exchanging beads encoded with secret messages between lovers, Memory of how it feels… is a collection of three tonal short stories told through narration, dance and chamber music. The tales are naïve reflections of both romantic and platonic ‘new’ love, based partly on real and true events, embellished using elements of myth and folklore: * from Uganda, Nambi, daughter of the creator god, Gulu, is here imagined as a little girl living in …
Intercultural composition & Pan African re-emerging & merging in music
Catch the PASS curatorial team of Ntone Edjabe and Neo Muyanga (the Heliocentrics) in conversation on “Intercultural composition and Pan African re-emerging and merging in music” as part of GIPCA’s Emerging Modernities programme at the University of Cape Town, February 18 – 20. Their discussion forms part of a two day event aimed at exploring the current conceptual issues surrounding the notions of redefining contemporary identities and art. In addition to sessions that critically reflect on existing bodies of work, …