Modern Forms x 1:54 commission
To celebrate 1:54’s fifth anniversary Modern Forms commissioned Emeka Ogboh to create a site-specific installation at the fair. Ebube Dike, meaning ‘glorious warrior’ in Igbo, is a multi-channel sound installation ascending Somerset House’s Stamp Stairs. The piece combines the serenading properties of the Oja (Igbo flute) with fragments of famous speeches by African political leaders to create a sonic ode to African renaissance.
‘The Oja is fundamentally employed for performance-composition of melodies, as well as simulation of texts in music and dance performance situations. It provides lyrical melodies that contribute immensely to the overall timbre and aesthetics of Igbo music… It is [also] employed in non-musical events and contexts as a talking instrument. As such, it encodes significant messages within non-musical contexts. In such instances, it conveys relevant messages to cognitive members or initiates in a ceremony. It is partially used for salutations on these occasions.’
Christian Onyeji: Playing Technique and Contemporary Compositions for the Oja (Wooden Flute). In Music and Social Dynamics in Nigeria (Religion and Society in Africa 3), Ed. Bode Omojola, 2016.