A night concentrated on the awakening of one’s inner revolutionary and the audacity of dissatisfaction
The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London's Southbank Centre played host to Denys Baptiste and his production "Now is The Time... Let Freedom Ring"' marking the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic speeches of all time, Dr Martin Luther King Jr's 'March for Jobs' speech, (more commonly known as the 'I have a dream' speech)
Accompanied by a 13 piece jazz orchestra as well as the Vocal Lab choir who contributed experience by their singing of old spirituals, Baptiste’s musical piece was reflective of Martin Luther King’s message and a people’s journey towards freedom, past, present and future. The audience is transported back to that mind frame, fifty years ago with music, spoken word and visuals, causing a welcome restlessness, showing that the march against injustice is ongoing, not just for people of colour, but for all, wronged, marginalised and exploited.
The primal beat of the drums, the wistful, passionate, urgent yet soft sounds of the saxophone, violin, trombone, piano, guitar and cello at some point awakens a familiarity and understanding from the depths of our hearts. It is marvellous to think that a musical piece could interact with your subconscious. Drag emotion from the depths of your heart and rest it flatly at the base of your eyeballs, leaving it to bubble and stir.
Our handicaps can be the seeds of our glory
We shouldn't deny them
We should embrace them
We should embrace our marginalisation, our invisibility and powerlessness
Embrace our handicaps and use them
And go beyond them
Use the powerful energies we have been given
Accept no limitations
Spoken word was added by poets; Lemn Sissay (Now is the time: 1st half) and Ben Okri (Let Freedom Ring: 2nd half). Two men with a commanding voice and equally powerful message. The words of Ben Okri spoken over a back drop of protest and defiance, resonated with the theme of dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction, in the work done against human rights injustices, and the need for everyone to question the norm. Rightfully so introduced by Baptiste, Let Freedom Ring is indeed about the future and looking forward.
"We all have the power to make changes, but we have to do it as individuals that's what the music is about" – Denys Baptiste
If everyone does a little, then collectively, it's a whole lot.