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David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2014

Hannibal Lokumbe’s ‘spiritatorio’ takes us on a journey from hardship and suffering to the celebrations of courage and peace in a musical festive event. Crisscrossing that vague line that separates ‘popular’ from ‘classical’ music, and fusing the result with jazz improvisation, this is the story of Lokumbe’s old great-grandfather, Silas, who was brought up in slavery, and is now is rejoicing in the thought of going to the Lord. To date Lockumbe’s background has largely been in the world of playing jazz trumpet, at the same time composing works in the shape of oratorios and programmatic orchestral scores. The present score calls for three solo singers, a jazz group, eleven members of the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, and a specially formed choir. Slowly moving so as to allow the words time to breath and press home their meaning, we travel with Silas back through his life, the music’s message is both deep and sincere. Then the soul-singer, Paula Holloway, takes the stage and the music simply erupts with the force of a volcano as she transports us to the Lord. Pity the audience applaud at the wrong place, which rather ruins the end of her spiritual, I will go to the Lord, but this is a great track. Instruments from various continents feature as soloists, and anchoring the whole work, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia offer excellent violin and clarinet soloists. The visuals are well handled in striking colours, and I strongly commend it to those with religious convictions. © 2014 David’s Review Corner, November 2014

Can You Hear God Crying? is effective enough in both music and storytelling, and this world première recording nicely captures an enthusiastic and heartfelt performance in Philadelphia… © 2014 Read complete review

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