TUNDE JEGEDE plays the cello, kora and percussion. He composes for musical groups ranging from the symphony orchestra to traditional African music ensembles. In his highly varied creative output there are a number of ways in which Tunde approaches the process of composing.
Tunde’s engagement in African music is deeply rooted in the oral tradition, whereby musical learning and communication is passed on through playing, singing and listening to live music, rather than by writing it down or recording it electronically. Learning music in the African oral tradition involves practise of techniques, melodies, rhythms, improvisation and styles of ornamentation. The oral tradition also teaches repertoire – the songs and pieces that have been composed and passed down over the centuries – as well as music philosophy, and the spiritual practices of the shaman.
On the other hand, Tunde’s work as a Western classical composer uses the conventional means and methods of that tradition, often resulting in written musical scores for performance.
So does this mean that every time he composes a new piece, Tunde is being either a Western musician or an African musician? He would suggest that there is a sense of unity between these two different areas of music composition. No matter how the results are achieved in producing and re-producing a musical piece, the creative impulse and the composing process have the same origins – in the mind of the composer.
So if the composer’s upbringing, knowledge and memory hold elements of one tradition and elements of another, then all those influences can fuel the imagination together, in combination.
In this clip, Tunde talks about learning the two separate traditions in different continents, and how it took him quite some time before he could bring them together in his composing work.
Where do the ideas come from?