Mayflower 400 Southampton

Voyages of the Heart premieres this April

18 Mar 2021

This week, tickets go on sale for Voyages of the Heart, a powerful new work by renowned composer, producer, cellist and kora virtuoso Tunde Jegede; commissioned by Turner Sims Southampton and Southampton City Council as part of the Mayflower 400 programme. This new ensemble music project is inspired by the stories of Southampton’s migrant communities, collected through the City Archive and a new National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported oral history project.  

Tunde Jegede, composer of Voyages of the Heart describes the piece as: “about heritage, journeys, migration and the transitory sense of home and identities… [asking] pivotal questions of our perception of culture, memory, race and how we see the world.”

Supported by funding from Arts Council England, Southampton City Council and the University of Southampton, the piece involves 25 migrant community musicians from a range of backgrounds and disciplines including: Gospel singers; an operatic choir, a Gaelic singer, and an Indian classical music vocalist. Instruments include: a string quartet, Irish folk violin and flute, guitar, Sitar, Oud, Tabla, drums and bass. The piece beautifully blends these varied styles together to create a multi-layered musical journey which is reflective of Southampton’s multicultural population. 

Councillor Kaur, Cabinet Member for Culture and Homes: “I’m very excited about seeing this new commission funded by partners. This is absolutely what our UK City of Culture 2025 bid is about – reflecting our commitment to draw upon Southampton’s special stories and to work with exceptional artists to deliver high quality, innovative and inclusive performances.”

Caterina Loriggio, Mayflower 400 Southampton Anniversary Director said: “It is fantastic to conclude our Mayflower 400 year with such a unique and uplifting project. Throughout the programme we have been celebrating Southampton as a city and a community made from journeys and migration, this truly heartfelt commission presents us with the hardships, struggles, fortitude and triumph of so many people who, for generations, have made Southampton their home and in doing so, not only inspires, but also reminds us of our commonality.”

Kevin Appleby, Concert Hall Manager at Turner Sims Southampton said:Tunde Jegede has created an extraordinarily powerful, memorable and relevant work in response to the commission opportunity.  I’m hugely grateful to all the project funders, in particular, Southampton City Council and Arts Council England, for making the commission possible, and am excited by the prospect of the work being brought to life by an incredible team of performers.  Many of them have their roots in Southampton and are based here, reflecting the vibrancy of the city’s diverse music scene.”

The piece will be recorded at Southampton’s leading concert hall, Turner Sims, and will be premiered as an online performance, on Friday 23rd April 2021. Tickets are available, directly from Turner Sims, at a variety of price points: 

After the premiere event, local choirs and schools will have free access to over 20 songs from the piece. Tunde Jegede has been developing resources especially for community use throughout this project to inspire local musicians to explore multiple musical genres. A chance to be a part of this poignant work and enjoy a legacy project from Mayflower 400 Southampton.

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