About the Piece

African Suite consists of five pieces for String Orchestra and Harp, representing five varying moods:

  1. Joyful Day
  2. Nostalgia
  3. Onipe
  4. Lullaby
  5. Akinla

Two of the themes used in the Suite, “Joyful Day” and “Onipe,” are melodies from the pen of Mr. E. Amu, of Achimota College, Gold Coast, West Africa, to whom the composer is indebted for permission to use them. “Lullaby” and “Akinia” are folk-melodies from Southern Nigeria, while “Nostalgia” is based on an original theme, and represents the nostalgic memories of “an African in England.”

[Program note by the composer]

Conductor’s comment:

This is a wonderful work that is almost never performed. In this conductor’s opinion, future performances are greatly inhibited by prohibitive rental costs.

About the Composer

Fela Sowande was a Nigerian musician and composer. Considered the father of modern Nigerian art music, Sowande is perhaps the most internationally known African composer of works in the European “classical” idiom. During his time, he was a well known organist, pianist, band leader, and Hammond organist. Western and African ideas prevail in his music which included organ works such as Yorùbá Lament, Obangiji, Kyrie, Gloria, Jesu Olugbala, and Oba Aba Ke Pe. Most of these show a strong influence of Anglican Church music combined with Yoruba pentatonic melodies. [From Schott/EAM]

Performance Materials

Performance materials, perusal score and rental information: