Six years ago I started out on the process of devising a project for my group, the Orlando Consort, that was very different from anything that we had attempted before.
This was not to be a standard presentation of a concert of Medieval and Renaissance music. It was more than that. This was to be the telling of a story of a remarkable musical encounter that took place 500 years ago and relating it to the modern world.
Last week the project,Mantra, was presented at Sheffield Cathedral. In the concert we told (and sang) of how Portuguese missionaries went to India – specifically to Goa – and invited local musicians to make music with them in the newly-built churches.
We transported the music to the present, incorporating elements of Bhangra and Bollywood.
For our Sheffield version we were joined by our regular partners, Kuljit Bhamra (tabla), Jonathan Mayer (sitar) and singer Shahid Khan, and by students from Fir Vale School, Tapton School, and an invited choir of local adult singers.
It is no exaggeration to say even after having done more than 25 performances of this project all around the world, this was the most inspiring performance that we have yet experienced.
It has been wonderful to have had the support of our adult participants, Sheffield Cathedral, the schools and, crucially, the parents in presenting this work. And I am proud to be part of two organisations, the Orlando Consort and Music in the Round, that share my views of the universality of music and which allow me to present work that is enjoyable for audiences and hugely important for the message within.
This is, therefore, my thank you letter to every single person who has made this possible.
Artistic director of Music in the Round