I spent much of the weekend at the Barbican, for Peter's New Crowned Hope Festival. On Saturday night, this was a concert of world music by the Kronos Quartet and Wu Man, with Tariq Ali giving political comments on the various regions from which the music came. It sounds a bit odd, but it was actually quite wonderful; with the music creating a contemplative space to work through some of the ideas in the politics. And, as in the Adams operas and (I hope) in some of our own work, the music took the politics into the arena of the emotions, where the statistics of (say) Middle Eastern deaths move beyond mere statistics and into the reality of mourning. The theme of the weekend was Another World is Possible. In the concert, Tariq Ali's talk suggested the opposite - but the music took us towards a place where transformation through empathy seemed a reality.
Moving ahead on the production: contracts, publicity designs, work permits, accommodation. All made a bit more tricky this time by its coinciding with organising the launch of the Origins Festival in September. At least I can book the accommodation in the same places.
I spent yesterday morning with Elsie and her mother, who is a fount of wisdom on Ghanaian society. I'd passed on the video about Concert Party for them to watch: Elsie's Mum knew many of the performers personally. She fills me in on some of the rituals in the play, and on songs and dances. Like most Ghanaians, she likes to laugh. "Oh yes" she says, when I mention this. "We laugh at everything. Even when people were very hungry, at the start of the Rawlings government, and their throats went flappy because they were so thin, we used to call it 'Rawlings chin'!"