In his most ambitious project to date, multidisciplinary artist Apex Zero will present his project Drummer Warrior Storyteller. As part of the Legacy 101 Spirit of The Village Festival celebrating the legacy of Black excellence emerging from the creative renaissance and movement, this will take place at Rich Mix on 29th October.
Incorporating music, film, dance, photography, painting and an immersive live theatre production that will engage audiences through multiple mediums and created over the past five years Drummer Warrior Storyteller is a multi-layered experience that inspires people and provokes change with an insightful sense of vision, unmatched flow, and atmospheric sound. The project strives to embody Nigerian author Chinua Achebe’s perception of storytelling; the Drummer calls the people, the Warrior fights the war, the Storyteller recounts the events, creating meaning for those who survive.
Centring African Caribbean perspectives, the album explores personal experiences of oppression and liberation of diasporic, migrant and marginalised people in London and beyond through music, film, dance, photography, painting, listening experiences and performance in this engaging, immersive exhibition and stage show.
Drummer Warrior Storyteller focuses on the frustration, anger, alienation and awareness caused by racism, its embedded structures, police/state violence and denial of opportunity, whilst also striving to break from the image of the ‘struggling’ Black figure, exploring joy, love and aspirations to live and grow despite society’s obstacles.
The event will take place over two sessions, with the first being from 13.00 — 17.00 The exhibited work will include two collaborative short films — Drummer Warrior Storyteller (Parts 1 & 2) — as well as panel talks from the artists involved. The second session will run from 19.00 — 23.00 where Drummer Warrior Storyteller will be presented for the first time as an immersive live theatre production. Using live music, dance, spoken word, visual effects, projection and sound design, audiences will be welcomed into the universe of the album and guided through its multidimensional story.
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13:00 – 17:00:
An exhibition curated with artists Ekua McMorris, Kyung Hwa Shon & Kyungmin Son. The exhibited work will include two collaborative short films — Drummer Warrior Storyteller (Parts 1 & 2) — built around the album’s music, as well as photography by Ekua McMorris, expanded painting by Studio Godson and the film crew, live painting by Dora Lam, pieces by Metalsmiths Roxanne Simone, Gregory & Tesseras Blacksmiths Ltd and Lucie Gledhill, and outfits curated by Charlita ‘Lita-Styles’ Hall and Honey Malaolu. Each piece interprets the music and themes of the album or were created through the filming process. The films, the first of which recently won an Audience Award at the Short Focus Film Festival 2022, will be shown on The Stage’s main screen, followed by panel talks with the artists at 14:00 and 16:00, chaired by Muti ‘Mutivation’ Musafiri.
As well as those mentioned above, Drummer Warrior Storyteller features work made in collaboration with Steph Be, Theo ‘Godson’ Oloyade, Alethia Antonia, FUBUNATION, 3000CeanHill, Chiba Visuals, Alicia Warner, Informotion Worldwide, Village 101, GlobalFaction, Breakin’ Convention, Slim Yearwood, Anna Beel, Akil Wilson and Ukombozii Ancestral Drums. Supported by Arts Council England.
19:00 – 23:00:
Drummer Warrior Storyteller will be presented for the first time as an immersive live theatre production crafted with creative director and choreographer Muti ‘Mutivation’ Musafiri. Using live music, dance, spoken word, visual effects, projection and sound design, audiences will be welcomed into the universe of the album and guided through its multidimensional story. The performance will explore African Caribbean storytelling, Spiritualty and political traditions. The cast and crew will process and interpret their own and collective experiences of the infinite interwoven stories of home, diaspora, displacement, migration and more that are central to that which is labelled ‘Black Experiences’.
The night will end with an afterparty, with DJs spinning a wide range of local and global Black music that’ll no doubt spark rap and dance cyphers.
The Drummer Warrior Storyteller live theatre production is a collaboration between Apex Zero, Muti ‘Mutivation’ Musafiri, Daniel Oluwasayo Olabode, Kitmapper, Tilé Gichigi-Liperé, Poetikah, Guy Kelton Jones Sr., Moussa Dembele, Dembis Thioung, Ukombozii Ancestral Drums, Andre Bright, Corrie Onyx David King, Grace Ogundipe Akinbode, Charlita ‘Lita-Styles’ Hall, Honey Malaolu, and features music made by Micall Parknsun, Al Lawson, In:Theory, RU1 Fam, Isatta Sheriff, Logic, Renee Soul, Big Cakes, Jazz T, Crazy Haze, Mazzi & S.O.U.L. Purpose, Raquel, Nilotika Cultural Ensemble. Supported by Arts Council England.
About Apex Zero
Originally from West London, Apex Zero is a multi-disciplinary artist who works as an emcee, beatmaker, filmmaker, photographer, and writer. An incredible lyricist, he creates multi-layered experiences that inspire people and provoke change with his insightful sense of vision, unmatched flow, and atmospheric sound.
Apex’s new project ‘Drummer Warrior Storyteller’ is his most ambitious project to date, it was created over five years, the project incorporates music, film, dance, photography, painting and immersive live theatre performances that engage audiences through multiple mediums.
The multi-layered visual album aspires to encapsulate Nigerian author Chinua Achebe’s perception of storytelling. While the Drummer calls and gathers the people and the Warrior fights the war, the Storyteller recounts the events, creating history, embodying the memory of those who survived, giving their survival meaning.
In this album, Apex explores linear and non-linear narratives, cultural perceptions of time, and his personal experiences as an African-Caribbean diasporic growing up in London. In addition to illustrating some of the struggles and pressures faced by people of migration, displacement and diaspora, the album also highlights moments of liberation, joy and growth.
Apex worked with Village 101 Studios and creative producer Steph Be to adapt the album into a short film, with funding from Arts Council England. Throughout the filming process, numerous pieces of contemporary art were created by collaborators. Impressive portraits of ‘The Ancestors’ depicting Apex’s family and pillars of the African Caribbean community were taken by the photographer and academic Dr Ekua McMorris, whose work ‘Black Light’ had inspired one of the scenes. Jonzi D, founder of Breakin’ Convention, Omowale Pert-em-Hru, founder of Ukombozii Ancestral Drums, and Shezal Laing, founder of Sankofa Day were among those portrayed.
Breakin’ Convention 2021 hosted the film’s première screening followed by sell-out exhibitions at The Hackney Social (aligned with the 230th anniversary of the Haitian Revolution) and Bernie Grant Arts Centre. The film also won the Audience Award at the Short Focus Film Festival 2022, and it will be released in November 2022 with the music.
The next exhibition will be part of Village 101’s ‘Legacy 101: Spirit of the Village’ Festival, with an immersive exhibition and immersive live theatre production at Rich Mix on Oct 29th 2022 and will highlight throughout Apex’s passion to retain the underlying themes of social and political issues over beats that act as a rollercoaster ride to match the emotions.
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