EIF 2014: Inala, Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Sisters Grimm
Mark Baldwin (Choreographer), Joseph Shabalala, Ella Spira, Ladysmith Black Mambazo (composers), Georg Meyer-Wiel (Costume designer), Ben Cracknell (Lighting Designer)
Dancers from Sisters Grimm and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir
Running time

Inala – which translates into “abundance of goodwill” – was first conceived five years ago. The composer Ella Spira and dancer Pietra Mello-Pittman went to a concert in New York where the unique South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir were performing and felt inspired to create a dance piece using Zulu songs. The choir had never collaborated with anyone before but wholeheartedly entered into the venture creating a “cultural melting-pot.” Mark Baldwin, the choreographer and artistic director of Rambert interpreted the lyrics of the songs into dance and a production was finally formed.

The choir and musicians are on stage throughout and the curtains open onto a misty stage with animal sound effects. Dancers come on wearing individual bird masks.

Sometimes throughout the performance they mingle with the choir, dancing in harmony. The show is visually impressive and the choreography displays the agility of these talented dancers, blending contemporary with indigenous dancing, but despite occasional haunting songs there were few meditative moments which the music inspired and that made it at times exhausting to watch. But it is an ambitious, exciting collaboration and a visual treat.

Dates: llth and 12th of August, 8pm,