Kate Luxmoore, MD, Composer/Arranger, Clarinets and Vocals on Yoruba Sonnets.
Review in Oxford Magazine from the Wolfson College Concert,
“Whilst the online event description presented the show as a hybrid of Afrobeat and Western funk, the band went beyond that, moving from reggae to New Orleans brass band music, Western contemporary music, and English folk.
““Whilst the online event description presented the show as a hybrid of Afrobeat and Western funk, the band went beyond that, moving from reggae to New Orleans brass band music, Western contemporary music, and English folk. The band navigated them well throughout their two sets, Kate Luxmoore, Babalola’s long-time collaborator, did a great job throughout the concert as Musical Director, subtly serving as prompter making sure all the bits of the show came together.
After an opening instrumental tune, (displaying Kate Luxmoore and Tom Ford’s virtuosity on clarinets and bass, respectively), things picked up in the third piece. As the audience stood up and danced to a fast-paced swing, Taiwo spoke of the orishas, Yoruba deities that mediate between the human and the supernatural.
The second set opened with a 12/8, heavily percussive instrumental with clear tinges from traditional Yoruba rhythms. The show then became more powerful in the pieces featuring Babalola’s own singing in Yoruba, often in unison with the trumpet melodies, which offered a perfect counterpoint to Taiwo’s verses in English. But the show’s climax was the most distinctive and beautiful song of the evening. Rooted in English folk, it featured Kate Luxmoore’s fine singing in counterpoint with Taiwo’s recitation, making the many elements of this extraordinary project come together: the English and the Yoruba, the traditional and the modern, all fused through sound and word.
Yoruba Sonnets was impressive for managing to keep its eclectic fusion grounded in Yoruba culture. “