Jan Blake with Kouame & Raymond Sereba
Sundiata Keita
Sundiata Keita   Sundiata Keita   Sundiata Keita   Sundiata Keita  

The Birth of Sundiata Keita, legendary founder of the great Malian Empire in West Africa, is one of the most exciting birth-of-a-hero tales in the world. Featuring hunters, kings, prophecy, a buffalo woman, a jealous first wife, curses, insults and acts of honour, this passionate and inspiring tale is the beloved story of the origin of a nation. All the great Mandinka griots claim descent from the praise singers, and musicians that accompanied Sundiata on his adventures.

In an epic performance of majesty, humour and passion, one of the most celebrated storytellers in Britain, Jan Blake, is accompanied by the virtuoso, award winning, Sereba brothers from Cote d’Ivoire. Delicate and dramatic by turn, their song and music, which includes the extraordinary Dodo mouth bow, cradles the story in a truly evocative soundscape.

Sundiata Keita was originally commissioned by Festival at the Edge in 2009. This remarkable performance is suitable for programming in theatres & art centres for adult audiences (12+).

Prices - available on request

Sundiata Keita is available for touring in 2011. As the musicians are residents of Norway, tour dates will be grouped, unless the hiring venue can provide the necessary travel expenses.

Jan Blake: Jan is one of Britain’s outstanding female storytellers, performing in theatres and festivals the length and breadth of Europe. She was born in Manchester to Jamaican parents. Inspired by recordings of 'Miss Lou' (Louise Bennett) she came to telling stories in 1986. She rapidly gained an international reputation for witty and exhilarating performances. She has a powerful singing voice and can seize any stage.

Specialising in folktales from West Africa, North Africa, the Arab world and the Caribbean, her repertoire is full of tales of powerful women and her versions of Ananse’s exploits are definitive. In 2004 she took the American National Storytelling Festival at Jonesborough, Tennessee by storm. She has worked as an artist in residence at various theatres in England, developing particularly close links with the National Theatre (where she is the Consultant on Storytelling), the London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Deptford Albany, the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith and Battersea Arts Centre.

Kouame Sereba: Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kouame Sereba was born in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. He was sent by his parents to their native village Tiegba at the age of 10. Living there he learned about traditional life, music and dance. By the age of 20, he travelled across the African continent where he visited and lived in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Cameron, Central African Republic, Sudan and Egypt. In 1983 Kouame moved to Norway, where he is based today. Here, he plays an important role in the music scene. In addition to his solo projects he collaborates with musicians of many different styles; jazz, folk, contemporary, as well as traditional and modern African music. Having played hundreds of concerts in Norway, Kouame has been embraced by the government. The foreign department has sponsored tours in Japan, Germany and Africa. Kouame even accompanied Norwegian prime minister Bondevik to Mozambique and South Africa. In addition to playing guitar, percussion and djembe, Kouame is a master of the Dodo, a mouth harp known for its overtone-rich, almost electronic sound.

Raymond Sereba: Like his brother Kouame, Raymond was born in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, but moved to Norway in 1983, where he is an actor, dancer and musician. Raymond has toured concerts with a variety of productions both as a solo artist and with various groups and performers. His richly varied work has included being involved in the worldwide conference ISME in South Africa, undertaking commissions for OSLO WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL, and holding workshops for children and young people in Palestine. Raymond and Kouame represent the band Zikalo.

Technical Specification
Technical requirements are available on request

Contact Details
For further information, and to book, please contact the programme manager, Kate Norgate
07791 157 437