New Work, 'this is but an oration of loss', for Ekmeles
Hannah's most recent work this is but an oration of loss for vocal ensemble, Ekmeles, will be premiered on Friday 27 May at the the crypt of Church of the Intercession, New York City, 7.30pm. See here to buy tickets.
The piece reimagines the songs, cries, lamentations, incantations, and sighs of M. NourbeSe Philip’s book-length poem Zong!, which is itself a reworking of the 1783 legal transcript of the Gregson vs. Gilbert case that details the drowning of 130 enslaved Africans, having been thrown overboard the British slave ship, Zong, en route to Jamaica.
Voices initially emerge from a meditative chorus of harmonicas, an instrument associated with Afro-diasporic sorrow, uttering fragmented text, and chanting biblical passages that conjure images of bones, tendons, and flesh, whilst classic(al) tunes referencing water interweave the textures from tiny wind-up music boxes.
Hannah is deeply grateful to M. NourbeSe Philip for granting the permission to set their iconic, and groundbreaking text for this commission.