Singing Cultures is a music education project providing opportunities to learn about, perform, and debate the cultural legacy of Nigerian Classical Music which dates back 200+ years.
Classical Music was introduced to Nigeria during colonialism through missionary schools and churches which promoted Western music as superior to traditional Nigerian music. Despite this historical background there have been four generations of Nigerian composers, many studying at conservatoires in London and achieving international success – employed by organisations such as the BBC; New York Philharmonic Orchestra; the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation; and universities including Lagos, Cambridge & UCLA.
Collectively Nigerian composers’ music reconciles the impact of colonialism i.e. remaining grounded in classical music whilst interweaving elements of African music, song texts and culture. Achieving this within a genre initially used to denigrate Nigerian culture has led to recognitions of their work as inspiring examples of ‘cultural reciprocity’.
The choir gave their first performance at ‘Music of Many Colours’ in December 2016 at Rivington Place, London. A programme of song, poetry, visual image and discussion celebrated the achievements of Phase 1 and invited a packed audience to experience the rich heritage of Nigerian Classical Music and its message for a ‘common humanity’.