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African Pianism / Rebeca Omordia

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SOMM Recordings is thrilled to announce African Pianism, a revelatory collection of music by seven African composers. Released to coincide with Black History Month in the United States, it marks the label’s solo debut of Nigerian-Romanian pianist Rebeca Omordia.

First recordings include three haunting Nocturnes and percussion enhanced En attente du printemps by Moroccan Nabil Benabdeljalil. And Five Kaleidoscopes for Piano by Ghanaian-born to Nigerian parents, Fred Onovwerosuoke, best known for Bolingo, featured in the 2006 Robert de Niro film, The Good Shepherd. They evocatively reference a beehive, love of homeland, Nubian folklore and the elemental power of Nature. African Pianism takes its title from Ghanaian J.H. Kwabena Nketia’s set of Twelve Pedagogical Pieces, richly influenced by the rhythmic, tonal accent of African percussion music. Ayo Bankole’s Egun Variations, remarks Robert Matthew-Walker in his booklet notes, “skilfully melds… Nigerian musical language within a European G major tonal structure”.

Fellow Nigerians Christian Onyeji and Akin Euba also interrogate African drumming technique to brilliant effect in the former’s Ufie (Igbo Dance), the latter’s Three Yoruba Songs Without Words celebrating indigenous song. David Earl’s Princess Rainbow, from his autobiographical Scenes from a South African Childhood, is a touching memory of fly-fishing with his father.

Hailed as an “African classical music pioneer” (BBC World Service), award-winning pianist Rebeca Omordia is an exciting virtuoso with a wide-ranging career as soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. She is artistic director of the African Concert Series in London, part of Wigmore Hall’s Family of Partners. The 2022 series launches at London’s Africa Centre on January 25. Rebeca’s previous SOMM release, The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams was hailed by MusicWeb International as “spellbinding music”.


With African Pianism, Rebeca Omordia has delivered what is sure to be one of the most mesmerizing, invigorating and frankly marvelous piano records of 2022.

That the music on this outstanding album isn’t already better known seems to me a perplexing injustice.

Kudos to Omordia for so eloquently bringing this truly great music to a wider audience; she is the most gracious but compelling of advocates, and we must hope her stellar efforts turn the tide.

-- Pianodao.com (Andrew Eales)

In casting her gaze exclusively on the music of African composers Akin Euba, Ayo Bankole, Christian Onyeji, David Earl, Fred Onovwerosuoke, J. H. Kwabena Nketia, and Nabil Benabdeljalil, London-based pianist Rebeca Omordia has created something truly special. Not only does she bring attention to figures whose names might be new to many a Western listener, she also presents a compelling argument on behalf of the classical music originating from their homeland, especially when so much of it entices for its distinctive melodic quality, rhythmic drive, and folk-influenced tone.

-- Textura

Product Description:

  • Release Date: February 11, 2022

  • Catalog Number: SOMMCD 0647

  • UPC: 748871064720

  • Label: SOMM Recordings

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Contemporary

  • Composer: Ayo Bankole, Nabil Benabdeljalil, David Earl, Akin Euba, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Fred Onovwerosuoke, Christian Onyeji

  • Performer: Rebeca Omordia


  1. Egun Variations in G Major

    Composer: Ayo Bankole

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  2. Playtime

    Composer: J.H. Kwabena Nketia

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  3. Dagarti Work Song

    Composer: J.H. Kwabena Nketia

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  4. Builsa Work Song

    Composer: J.H. Kwabena Nketia

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  5. Volta Fantasy

    Composer: J.H. Kwabena Nketia

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  6. Ufie (Igbo Dance)

    Composer: Christian Onyeji

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  7. Five Kaleidoscopes

    Composer: Fred Onovwerosuoke

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  8. Scenes from a South African Childhood: No. 2. Princess Rainbow

    Composer: David Earl

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  9. Nocturnes nos. 4-6

    Composer: Nabil Benabdeljalil

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  10. En attente du printemps

    Composer: Nabil Benabdeljalil

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia

  11. 3 Yoruba Songs

    Composer: Akin Euba

    Performer: Rebeca Omordia