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Carmina Burana and Africana coming to Windhoek and Swakopmund

Singing with the whole body, Engelhardt #Unaeb, conductor of the Amdi!Khoen-Choir in Windhoek, gets the SingAkedemie Niedersachsen in motion with Namibian music during a practice weekend in Hildesheim, Germany.

Singing with the whole body, Engelhardt #Unaeb, conductor of the Amdi!Khoen-Choir in Windhoek, gets the SingAkedemie Niedersachsen in motion with Namibian music during a practice weekend in Hildesheim, Germany.

Perhaps best known by most people as the background music of the famous Old Spice advertisement of the eighties, German composer, Carl Orff’s popular “Carmina Burana” and the moving melodies of Namibian traditional music will merge into a combined cultural event on 16 and 21 March in Windhoek and Swakopmund.
The name of this Namibian-German cultural project is “Carmina Burana and Africana”. The concept was developed and implemented by the German SingAkademie Niedersachsen together with the Amdi!Khoen Choir from Windhoek and the Mascata Youth Choir from Swakopmund.
With 96 singers overall, instrumentalists and soloists from Germany and around the same number of Namibian singers and instrumentalists, a combined number of 200 artists will take the stage at the National Theatre in Windhoek during the first concert on 16 March.

The German Ambassador, H.E. Onno Hückmann, will attend the concert and also deliver the welcoming remarks. The German Federal Foreign Office places great importance on this unifying project and has supported it in a prominent fashion. The Namibian government also made a contribution to the project.
On 21 March, for Independence Day, the large ensemble will play in Swakopmund and participate in the official celebrations.
Carl Orff’s world famous work “Carmina Burana” provides the framework for the programme. In a stirring and moving fashion the German composer set medieval texts to music. The texts deal with the ups and downs of life, the pleasures of spring, celebrating and drinking and the happiness of love but also about the horrors in the face of sudden cruel twists of fate.
The songs of “Carmina Burana” are a very good piece of music and well-liked all over the world, according to Claus- Ulrich Heinke, the artistic director of the SingAkademie Niedersachsen and the conductor for the German part of the programme. The content can be understood everywhere without problems, “and the work is wonderfully suited to realising my idea of an intercultural work.” Complementing the themes of Orff’s music, African songs will be integrated into the concert so that a unified whole is created. The aim is to produce a concert of dialogue, where all participants create something new together. Heinke visited Namibia in November last year to clear the organisational structure and meet the people on the ground. He held a workshop with the participating choirs and was enthused by the overwhelming vocal power of the Namibian singers.  The Amdi!Khoen Choir from Windhoek and the Mascato Youth Choir from Swakopmund will be joined by more local singers to form a Namibian Carmina project choir led by the Namibian musician Engelhardt #Unaeb. For them too, the intercultural project is of great benefit. „First and foremost, I wanted to expose my choir to classical music and participating in big works of classical composers. This is the best way to improve our musical skills. We mostly do Namibian music and this was the perfect opportunity also to make new friends and break cultural boundaries through music.”, said #Unaeb. #Unaeb visited Germany in January where the first meeting with the SingAkademie Niedersachsen took place during a practice weekend. There he became acquainted with the musical concept of  “Carmina Burana” by Heinke. At the same meeting, #Unaeb introduced the Germans to African songs. #Unaeb will sing the bass-solo part during the concerts, together with the conductor of the Mascato Choir, Theodore Cooksen. The soprano soloist of the project choir, Gretel Coetzee, also lives in Namibia. Boys and girls from her singing school will perform the small children’s choir part that Orff had planned. And the comical sounding lament of the roasted swan will be performed by the Namibian tenor Zenzeni Haraseb.

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