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Christian Aid commissions ‘requiem for the climate’

14 February 2020

Ntando Brown

The founder of Chineke! Chi-chi Nwanoku

The founder of Chineke! Chi-chi Nwanoku

CHRISTIAN AID has commissioned composers and musicians from around the world to create a new orchestral theme inspired by the climate crisis.

The 12-minute piece, Song of the Prophets: A Requiem for the Climate, is being composed by Chineke! — said to be the first majority-black and minority ethnic (BAME) orchestra in Europe. It will have its premièret in St Paul’s Cathedral during Christian Aid Week (12-18 May).

The music and its title are inspired by the 2014 Christian Aid report Song of the Prophets: A global theology of climate change, which will be republished before the event.

Climate change was having a “devastating impact” on lives and livelihoods around the world, affecting food production, employment, education, and women’s rights, the chief executive of Christian Aid, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, said.

“We believe in the power of the Church’s prophetic voice to bring about change on this issue. . . Music and the arts are powerful ways to tell uncomfortable stories, and we are hoping Song of the Prophets: A Requiem for the Climate will inspire us all to take much-needed urgent action.”

The Chineke! Foundation was set up in 2015 to offer career opportunities for both established and up-and-coming BAME classical musicians in the UK and Europe. Its flagship ensemble the Chineke! Orchestra performs the works of BAME composers alongside a standard orchestral repertoire.

Its founder, Chi-chi Nwanoku, said: “As someone of Nigerian and Irish descent, I recognise the stark inequalities that exist between the richest and poorest globally, and want to do my bit to help. We are excited by Christian Aid’s creativity and vision to rally people together to stop the climate crisis.”

Norman Pickavance, the director of St Paul’s Institute, which is organising the première, said: “We must recognise our duty to the voiceless: the vulnerable and future generations. Our lives need to change today if we are committed to ensuring a habitable and just world tomorrow.”


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