Join Wembley Park and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the second edition of Wemba’s Dream – a free performance of music, dance, poetry and carnival arts
Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey
Saturday 10 September 2022
Pairing an orchestra of over 50 players with spoken word, contemporary music, and exhilarating dance
Renowned composer Dani Howard curating and collaborating with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and local Brent cultural groups
Three site specific performances
Free event for all ages
Join Wembley Park and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) for the second edition of Wemba’s Dream – a free performance of music, dance, poetry and carnival arts that celebrates the unique and diverse communities of Brent.
Pairing full, live symphony orchestra comprising more than 50 players with spoken word, contemporary music, and exhilarating dance, Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey brings together the best of Brent through a unique site specific performance in Wembley Park, all centred around the theme of murmurations – the swooping mass of starlings swirling in the skies as they migrate from one place to another, on a journey. And it all takes place in a car park in Brent, a somewhat unusual location for the RPO, but completely fitting with their ambition to embed the Orchestra in a diverse community, as part of a wider mission to be a truly inclusive and contemporary international orchestra for the modern age.
Featuring brand-new music from contemporary composer Dani Howard, Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey combines a live symphony orchestra with local performance groups to create a one-of-a-kind immersive audiovisual experience. Joining the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for a multi-dimensional event that will explore the theme of journeys will be Brent based Mahogany Carnival Arts, spoken word collective WordUp, the Sujata Banerjee Dance Company and singer-harpist and Wembley Park Live Academy graduate Aoife O’Dea. There will also be a performance of Lord Kitchener’s “Sugar Bum-Bum”, to mark the centenary of the Calypsonian’s birth.
Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey will have three performances on the afternoon of Saturday 10th September: 1:15pm, 2:30pm and 3:45pm. The event is free. The performances take place in the unusual setting of Green Parking at Wembley Park, adjacent to the iconic Olympic Steps, bringing together orchestral music, traditional dance and contemporary spaces.
Nominated for The Times Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and the Classical Music Category for the 2022 South Bank Sky Arts Awards, British composer Dani Howard has been working collaboratively with RPO musicians and the Brent based performers to create new scores and reimagined arrangements all inspired by the powerful migration of birds. Mesmerising, fascinating, intriguing, those shape shifting clouds of birds working together provided the perfect inspiration for such a community focused piece.
“Working with these local artists has been such a unique and collaborative experience. I’ve really enjoyed trying to support their creative vision, and develop new works that I know the local community will absolutely love. I can’t wait to see it all put together live in September, and see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra alongside these local talents in what is such a unique and powerful live event.”
The free performance experience comes ahead of the RPO moving its headquarters to Wembley Park in 2024 and the realisation of its long-held ambition to imbed the Orchestra in a diverse community, in line with its mission to be a truly inclusive and contemporary international orchestra for the modern age.. The move is part of a shared vision between Wembley Park and the RPO to establish a creative hub in the neighbourhood, bringing together education, community outreach, performance, digital projects and administration in a single location. Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey is part of a long-term plan to integrate and engage with the local community by providing free and accessible quality musical experiences that align with Wembley Park’s cultural strategy.
Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey follows on from the original Wemba’s Dream project, which was performed at Wembley Park in September 2021. Inspiration for the project came from an Anglo-Saxon traveller called Wemba who, many centuries ago, stopped and created his home in the area later known as ‘Wemba Lea’, an Anglo Saxon term for “Wemba’s clearing in the forest”. Today, this area is known as Wembley Park.
Wemba was the first of generations of people who journeyed to this corner of Brent and made it their home. Wemba’s Dream: Join the Journey will celebrate those journeys and the people that made them; people of all backgrounds and ages, who make their home in Wembley Park and the wider Brent area.
No matter who we are, we all take our own journeys that shape our lives in ways we could never expect: from beginnings of hope and anticipation, to the emotional highs and lows of joy, sadness and self-discovery, and the new perspectives we find that change how we see the world. Celebrate the resilience of those who cross oceans and continents to find a place to call home in their journeys of struggle, overcoming barriers, finding freedom and telling their stories through art.
Josh McNorton, Cultural Director at Wembley Park, says:
“This is an incredibly special way to mark the long-term creative partnership between Wembley Park and RPO, which aims to unify local community groups and showcase the best of Brent talent, whilst presenting orchestral music in new, thought-provoking forms and environments. Not only does the project celebrate the RPO moving its headquarters to the area in 2024, but Wemba’s Dream will keep being an annual event that we hope will provide the rich creative talent of Brent with a global platform to showcase their brilliant work.”
The project builds on the RPO’s nationwide community engagement programme and supports its Join the Journey campaign – an invitation to everyone, everywhere, whoever they are and whatever they do to join the journey and experience the thrill and excitement of live orchestra music.
James Williams, Managing Director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra comments:
“Community engagement and inclusion is at the heart of our vision, ensuring that everyone, everywhere can experience the thrill and excitement of live orchestral music. Our goal is for all to feel welcome – current and new audiences alike – and to encourage for musicians of every background to be given equal opportunities on merit. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is on a journey to build an inclusive, relevant and exciting orchestra for the modern age – and the projects we are working on at Wembley Park continue to support our ambitions to allow the broadest possible audience to engage with the joy of orchestral music and live performance.”
Sian Bliss, designer, says:
“The songbird in flight represents every individual musician, performer and artist of the Wemba’s Journey Festival. Behind every individual is a community of support and love, allowing them to soar high and share their dreams to their fullest. The flock of birds flying by is an embodiment of the local community and symbolises the strength and joy in collaborative creation. The artwork has been created with the spirit of Wemba at the forefront.”
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