Muyanga's love work hits Baxter

01 March 2011 | Story by Newsroom

Neo MuyangaFeeling it: Neo Muyanga's production, Memory of how it feels, is currently on show at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio.

Popular music artist and composer Neo Muyanga makes his debut as a writer with the staging of Memory of how it feels, currently on show at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio.

An artist-in-residence at UCT's Drama School in 2007, Muyanga gently weaves together three tonal short stories, using elements of myth and folklore from Uganda, Egypt and ancient Sumeria.

Inspired by the traditional Zulu practice of exchanging beads encoded with secret messages between lovers, the production's narration, dance and chamber music (which combines classical and traditional music) are craftily strung together to create a work which reflects both romantic and platonic new love.

Muyanga hails from Soweto and grew up in the Free State and Botswana, and then studied in Italy and worked in the UK. He co-founded BLK Sonshine and has since composed and directed numerous musical productions, and toured a number of overseas countries.

Memory of how it feels, a seven-piece chamber orchestra comprised of disparate musicians working together for the first time, is made up of Galina Juritz (violin), Thandi Ntuli (piano), Mpho Bopape (violin), Benjamin Jephta (bass), Anna Telford (vocals), Natalie Mason (viola) and Nicola du Toit (cello). Muyenga is also composer and musical director.

But what inspired him to explore writing?

"I love words, I love how words live with music and how that lives with visual images and movement, dance," he explains.

"The piece is an emotional one, it is about the feelings more than anything else," he adds. "Musicians have to feel through the music, the narrators have to feel through the composition and the meanings of what they are saying."

The show runs until 19 March at 18h30 or 20h15.

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