Milwaukee Premiere of “Called To A Vision: Celtic Ngoma”

June 13, 2016
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The Milwaukee premier performance is scheduled for Friday, June 24, 2016, 7 PM at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 631 N 19th St, Milwaukee.  The world premiere of the composition was on February 28, 2016 in Cary, NC at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church.  It was a fund raising concert to send the first concert grand piano ever to reach the shores of Tanzania. It will be going to Tumaini University Makumira, in Tanzania.

For those who have not followed this blog, here is a description and history of the piece. “Kirk” is Irish Gaelic for “church.” The name “Kirk of Kildaire” points to its’ Scots-Irish heritage. Since the concert was scheduled to take place during Black History month, I decided to compose a new piece to honor both African history and the church’s historical ties to Ireland: an Afro-Celtic fusion scored for organ, East and West African percussion, Irish bodhran, Irish flute and choir.

The composition is based on an Irish melody and East African melody. The Irish one, called “Slane,” is known by many church people as the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” My first task as composer was to write new lyrics, which are noted below. The East African melody is the most famous hymn of the region, “Neno Lake Mungu,” popularly known in English as, “Listen, God is Calling.”

After completing the piece, I posted on Facebook a request for title suggestions based upon the above description, and the title emerged from this process. One person suggested, “Called to a Vision,” which aptly makes references to the titles of both melodies incorporated in the piece. Other suggestions led to Celtic which refers to all things Irish plus ngoma, which is usually translated as “drum.”  According to Mr. Randy Stubbs, professor of music at Tumaini University, ngoma is a multidimensional word which includes, drum, dance, song, and celebration of life. A perfect combination! Called To a Vision: Celtic Ngoma.

Be Thou My Vision Tune: Slane Verses: Abe Cáceres

1) Be Thou My Vision and help me to see

Each son and daughter as my family.

See every neighbor as my next of kin

Diverse in language, religion and … skin.

2) Be Thou My Vision and help me to see

Each refugee a reflection of me.

See every person as my own companion

Sojourning spirits on an earthly journey.

3) Be Thou My Vision and help me to see

We are the branches, and You are the Tree.

One genealogy, one destiny.

Born of one Spirit; Ruah! One Eternity.

© 2016 Abe Caceres World House Music