“Safika” (meaning “we arrived” in Xhosa and Zulu) is an educational series that delves into the geographies of Blackness and the musical vehicles in which they have been memorialised. In this collaboration between musicologist-pianist Dr. Samantha Ege and the Boston-based Castle of our Skins, “Safika” presents chamber music by the South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen (b. 1975) and African American composers Florence B. Price (1887-1953), Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989), and Frederick C. Tillis (1930-2020). It gives the UK premieres of Ndodana-Breen’s Safika: Three Tales on African Migration (2011), which reflects narratives of dispossession, migration, and translocation in the history of Black South Africans; Moore’s Soweto (1986) that she wrote in remembrance of the 1976 Soweto uprising; and Price’s second Piano Quintet (ca. 1936) and Tillis’ Spiritual Fantasy (1995), which both draw upon the Black folkloric sound world of the Antebellum South. “Safika” entwines performance, scholarship, public engagement, and cross-disciplinary connections. It illuminates classical music’s hidden histories for new audiences.
Dr Samantha Ege writes: “Given the underrepresentation of minoritized and marginalized ethnicities in classical music, Castle of our Skins and I acknowledge the power of our representation, both as ethnically diverse practitioners and as performers of music by Black composers. Through this fellowship, we aim to educate, inspire, and empower the younger generations for whom classical music can, at times, appear so inaccessible and detached from the multicultural society we live in.”
More information about the project can be found on the TORCH website.