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Broken Chord, Sadler’s Wells Review – Sublime Music for the Tale of a South African Choir         

The rediscovery of some stunning portraits of the South African Choir has been the catalyst for new dance piece, which premiered in the UK last week. Developed by South African choreographer, Gregory Maqoma, it utilizes photography, music and dance to pay tribute to the talented choir, which began its international tour in 1891. The 60-minute dance-performance piece, which had its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells last weekend, began life in 2016 as a multimedia installation after a set of exquisite portraits of the choir’s 16 singers was discovered in the Hulton photographic archive. South African composers Thuthuka Sibisi and Philip Miller, both of whom have worked extensively with South African artist William Kentridge, researched the troupe’s repertoire and composed a soundscape to accompany the images. The African Choir’s 1891 playlist was a canny mix of traditional song, hymns and what musicologists now call “western art music”, including Rossini, Donizetti and Handel as well as the British national anthem.