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8 September, 2019

Compelling unique performance blending modern and historic elements

I was not sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.

Traditional South African music and a full Marimba Orchestra combined with Bach, The Isango Ensemble took me on a modern minimalistic journey of Jesus’ last days on earth.

In their newest production “St Matthew Passion”, The Isango Ensemble delivers a compelling production of Christ’s betrayal, trial and execution.

Directed by Mark Dornford-May, this truly unique musical showcases beautiful African voices and weaves an emotional sometimes deeply sorrowful journey that culminates with a powerful ending.

The performance in both English and African language appeared to hold the audience around me spellbound as did the atmosphere that ebbed and flowed throughout the performance.

The production was pared back in the way of sets and costumes which allowed for both the talents of the cast and the story to be the highlight.

The music was arranged by Mandisi Dyantyis who very cleverly combined a major choral piece by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and the superb voices of the Isango Ensemble to complement a well-known bible story along with the dance routines choreographed by Lungelo Ngamlana.

Such great rhythm left me wanting more.

If you’re looking for something totally out of the ordinary which combines wonderful voices, a historical music score and a biblical story then this just might be for you.