Chineke!: Spark Catchers

Chineke!: Spark Catchers

NMC Recordings
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Release Date: 17 January 2020

'When I founded Chineke! in 2015, one of the most important aims, as well as creating a top-class orchestra comprising a majority of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) musicians, was to champion the music of BME composers, both living and from the past. Over these last three years we have given many performances of new commissions and existing works by some of the UK’s leading BME composers and I am delighted that six of these works are now captured in perpetuity on this NMC Recordings album. Chineke! has derived enormous pleasure in performing and recording these works, which represent such a variety of instrumentation and mood, and I hope that you, the listener, will gain as much enjoyment from hearing them.'
- Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, FRAM, HonFTL

Errollyn Wallen pays homage to Bach and Corelli in Concerto Grosso with its combination of dance elements and the buoyant rhythms of Baroque and popular music. James Wilson’s evocative The Green Fuse is inspired by Dylan Thomas’s poem The force that through the green fuse drives the flower and Julian Joseph’s energetic Carry That Sound combines elements of jazz and blues harmonies.

Daniel Kidane’s Dream Song was written for the reopening of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2018 and sets words from Martin Luther King’s powerful ‘I have a dream’ speech, sung by soloist Roderick Williams. Hannah Kendall’s The Spark Catchers draws on the dynamic poem by Lemn Sissay, commissioned for London’s 2012 Olympics.

Philip Herbert’s poignant Elegy is a tribute to Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack in London in 1999. Herbert says ‘There is a need to place a higher value on the strength that comes from diverse peoples living together in Britain’.

Chineke! Orchestra & Chorus
Roderick Williams
Tai Murray
Chi-chi Nwanoku
double bass
Isata Kanneh-Mason
Anthony Parnther
Kevin John Edusei
Wayne Marshall





'Lighting a spark for composers of colour … the zest of Wallen’s solo musicians — the Chineke! founder Chi-chi Nwanoku and Isata Kanneh-Mason among them — helps to put a smile on the listener’s face' The Times

‘The best music of all comes with the authoritative control of structure and timbre in Hannah Kendall’s The Spark Catchers’ The Times

'Errollyn Wallen’s Concerto Grosso, compact and energetic, mixes stylistic patterns of the baroque with punchy jazz rhythms ... James Wilson’s The Green Fuse, buoyant and intense, is in pastoral mood … Hannah Kendall’s vibrant and compelling The Spark Catchers, inspired by Lemn Sissay’s poem, gives the disc its title.' The Guardian

'This disc focuses on the here-and-now … eclectic and heartfelt' Financial Times

'Daniel Kidane's Dream Song is a powerful work that deserves to be widely performed ... Spark Catchers is a true gem' Black Grooves

'Six fine pieces … Wallen's Concerto Grosso is a charming four movements and Julian Joseph's Carry That Sound is outright jazzy … Hannah Kendall's The Spark Catchers is a vivid recreation of Lemn Sissay's poem about the Bow matchgirls' strike.' Sunday Times

'vibrant, vivid sound' BBC Radio Scotland

'Hannah Kendall’s sound whirlpool takes its inspiration from Lemn Sissay’s poem of the same name … Chineke! – led here by German conductor Kevin John Edusei – exudes energetic expertise' BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

'Julian Joseph's lively and at times Gershwinesque Carry that Sound, would make an ideal Proms encore ... the sound and performances are immaculate and brilliant' Gramophone



With special thanks to RVW Trust for their support of this album.

The Chineke! Orchestra was supported in this project by a National Lottery Project Grant from Arts Council England.

The Chineke! Orchestra is grateful to PRS Foundation for their support of the commission, rehearsals, performance and recording of Julian Joseph's Carry That Sound.

Incorporating a BBC Recording


The Green Fuse, Concerto Grosso and Elegy were recorded at All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 10-12 April 2018.
Carry That Sound was recorded at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London on 21 July 2018.

Recording Producer & Engineer: DAVID LEFEBER

The Spark Catchers was recorded by the BBC at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 30 August 2017.
Recording Engineer: RICHARD ANDREWS
Recording Producer: DAVID GALLAGHER 

Dream Song was recorded by the BBC at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London on 9 April 2018.
Recording Engineer: ROBERT WINTER 
Recording Producer: DOMINIC WELLS 

(P) 2020 NMC Recordings Ltd
© 2020 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number: NMC D250
Release Date: 17 January 2020