Coleridge-Taylor of Freetown
An “undiplomatic” musical play
Written and performed by Tayo Aluko
“In Progress …”
George Coleridge-Taylor (1932 – 2016) is the “half-nephew” of the noted Black British Composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. A career diplomat born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, George is also a noted public speaker, philosopher and singer. He decides on a personal post-retirement project, which is to tour with a concert of his famous ancestor’s songs, complimenting it with some of the composer’s history. One such story was the fact that Samuel was idolised by African Americans and was once a guest of the President at the White House in 1904.
George remarks on the fact that other Sierra Leoneans had once had close contact with a former American president, when John Quincy Adams defended the Amistad mutineers in the US Supreme Court in 1841. In the privacy of an informal gathering, he says things about the post-independence Sierra Leonean administrations for whom he worked that he was unable or unwilling to say before. And with the state of regional and international politics, he wonders about his chances of premiering his concert in Freetown, given the uncertainty of a country at war with itself.
George Coleridge-Taylor, baritone
Newly Arrived! The reading of a working draft was filmed at Riverhouse Barn, Walton-on-Thames on 30 June. It is being released in three parts. Click the links to watch 15-minute compilations: