'John Doe - A Story of the Blues' Stageshow

"Out of slavery and freedom found we remember well
those vanities bought with another's misery."

JOHN DOE is a music stage-show tracing the influence of African rhythms woven into a background of African-American literature through song,
poem, and dance.

The two-hour show features African rhythms of early blues music of the post-slavery period from the late 1800s through the swing era of the 1920s and 30s, via Rhythm & Blues of the 1960s into Bleaggea and African grooves of the 21st century. The show has made a succesful finale night for two significant festivals already.

The programme, which often includes African drum and dance workshops, matches many of the requirements needed by funding sources for its merits in Arts, Education and Cultural Diversity issues. 

• Read John Joe Stageshow Reviews
• View PDF Review at Rotherham Arts Festival
• See video extracts of show
• Listen to Radio adaptation of the show

 

Above : The premier at Hull Truck Theatre. Finale night for Humber Mouth Literature Festival. It involved a cast of seventeen and a production crew of six and provided a three-month Community Music Project bringing together performance skills from Riley College, Hull (dance troupe and choreography), drama production, a selection of local musicians, and the internationally renowned Bluesman - Ian Siegal. It was a sell-out performance and the cast received a ten minute standing ovation.
Above: Currently working with a cast of eight. Drum and dance feature heavily in this production. We even get the audience up for some.
Here, the two Djembe players are Limsa and Godfrey, both from Zimbabwe. The poi dancing was by Caz.
Above: King Rollo has a few important words to say about slavery in the modern world.
The harmonica player is Laurent Mouflier from Paris.
The show was in Rotherham, in The Famous Spiegeltent.
Above: Caz is a frequent performer around the summer field festivals and her Poi (i.e. twirling things around in fascinating circles) workshops are always well attended.
We were hoping to use flaming torches but being in a tent...ah well, next time!
Above: Nick Evans (bass) toured with Country Joe McDonald and recorded with Ian Dury's Blockheads band. Dr A (keyboards)"some of the best blues piano I've ever heard" says Tony Nightingale of Blues Matters Magazine  
Ian Croft on kit drums and editor of Drummer Magazine

We are able to create a community for a day and a night - and sometimes longer.
And its waves echo through the cosmos for eternity.
That's enough banging on that different drum.

Much of the textual content of the show is drawn from African-American literature.
From first-hand accounts of the African slaves Elaudah Equiano (1789), William Wells Brown (1847) and Harriet Jacobs (1861) together with some outstanding poetry by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1895) and the Harlem rennaisance writers Gwendoline Brookes, Robert Hayden and Langston Hughes.

Laurent Mouflier - (harmonica and voted as star of the show) awarded Best Blues Harp in 2005 by Blues Matters Magazine

Godfrey Pambalipe (above right) and Limsa use traditionally made Djembes from Zimbabwe and have been running drum and dance workshops in outreach programmes for schools. They are based in the Lincoln and Doncaster area.

We really enjoy working with a festival to produce more than just a show for a couple hours. We are committed to providing an entertaining and educational aspect to our shows. Here, Godfrey is poised to make the most of his African dance workshop. This is what we do for a living.

African drum and some-sort-of-painting workshop
as part of the Wilberforce Abolition of Slavery Bicentenniel programme in Hull

Open mike and jam sessions. Live workshops. Here at Small World Music Festival, Asterby Lincs. A beautiful community for a weekend in August

 

Soph-i-a and Caz like dressing and dancing, but not necessarily in that order.
We like the audience to join in, too

Telephone: +44 (0)7599 131 149 • Email: rollo@king-rollo.co.uk
© Copyright King Rollo 2009 • All rights reserved