Choral Tales - Project Overview
Inspiring folk tales from around the world, presented in original
music and dance, celebrating the diversity and oneness of humankind.
The Choral Tales Project was conceived and developed by Ludwig Tuman, artistic director and international award-winning composer. The Project is inspired by an awareness that the most pressing challenges facing humanity in the 21st century - from climate change to peace - are global in scope. To meet such challenges, it is vital for peoples and nations to further develop the ability to work together toward common objectives, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation.
Given this setting, it appears that one of the most timely and valuable contributions artists can make is to foster intercultural understanding, an appreciation of cultural diversity, and the essential oneness of humanity. This is the general aim of the Choral Tales project.
Dr. Ervin Laszlo, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, described the Choral Tales Project as "an important and indeed vital project", and added that "Choral Tales could make a major difference as we strive toward a world we could leave in good conscience to our children, and to the children who will follow."
Choral Tales offers an exciting model, a new way for communities to involve the arts in their local efforts to take their well-being into hand. The project employs choral singing, while encouraging informal, story-based dancing. Local communities can readily engage with both art forms. Through the stories, participants can re-connect with their cultural roots while also learning about cultures in other parts of the world.
To begin, four folk tales from different continental regions have been selected for the project’s initial stage: one each from Mexico (for the Americas), Tanzania (for Africa), China (for Asia), and the United Kingdom (for Europe). The tale from Tanzania was a favorite of Nelson Mandela.
Through original choral music and dance, the project tells inspiring folk tales from cultures around the world. Each story has its own theme, such as spiritual virtues, human rights, equality of women and men, oneness with nature, and care of the environment.
Each story also represents one of the many cultures in the world. Taken together, the works of the Choral Tales Project promote an appreciation both for cultural diversity and for the oneness of humankind.
The project produces the tales as videos, presenting the on-stage musical performance of the works by a choir with dancers. These videos will be suitable for broadcast on television and other media outlets.
Each folk tale is converted into a poem (in English), which then becomes the text, or “lyrics,” for the choral song.
The tales, which can be seen on this web site, are brief, entertaining, and inspiring. They are presented artistically, in a playful and joyful format, without moralizing or spelling out a message.
Not only the folk tales, but also the music itself suggests humanity’s cultural diversity. The musical style varies substantially from one choral song to another, in each case reflecting the culture the tale belongs to. The songs do not attempt to exactly reproduce traditional music from the cultures represented. Rather, in each case they creatively combine an accessible, contemporary sound with characteristics of music from the general cultural region concerned.
For instance, the folk tale from China is set to music in a style that is contemporary and yet suggestive of traditional Chinese music; avoiding stereotypes, but using authentic features such as pentatonic scales.
Similarly, the approach for the dancing style is to combine modern dance with characteristics of traditional dance from the cultural region the tale represents. Read More
Some Attractive Features
The combination of story-telling, music and dance has a number of features that appeal to the public.
● Folk tales illustrate the essential oneness of the human race. Story-telling can convey a unifying perspective of humanity without referring to a specific belief system. By allowing humanity to tell its own stories, it becomes evident that on the most basic level, people around the world have the same kinds of thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.
● The project seeks to offer music that is both of high quality and accessible, both pleasing to the ear and contemporary.
● Dance dramatizes the music, and the theatrical element heightens interest. The characters in each folk tale are represented by dancers, dressed in a manner to suggest the culture represented, positioned near the choir, and acting out the events of the story.
First Stage Completed. Vision for Following Stages
Choral Tales' artistic director and composer, Ludwig Tuman, assembled a group of choreographers, dancers, singers, and videographers who enthusiastically agreed to take part in the project.
He also collaborated with the poet and author, Shirin Sabri, who has converted each of the tales into texts to be set to choral music. The tales are given on separate pages in this web site.
Music for the first three Choral Tales has been composed, based on stories from Scotland, Tanzania, and China. And the Choral Tales team of artists has successfully filmed the choral and dance performances of these first works.
The project's following stages aim to produce and film Choral Tales from more regions of the world, offering to the public a cross section of the world's colorful diversity and a sense of humanity's oneness.
About the Project’s Sponsors
Fiscal sponsor is Artists Building Capacity as World Citizens (ABC World Citizens), also a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, based in New Hampshire and registered with the State of California: http://abcworldcitizens.org
The project has also been sponsored by The Arts Collaborative, a registered 501(c)3 non profit based in Oxnard, California: www.theartscollab.org
The project's co-sponsors are Oxnard College, which generously donated the use of its state-of-the-art performing arts center for the performance and filming of the video; the Wings to the Spirit Foundation, and the Build a Better World Foundation, which have provided grant support.
© Ludwig Tuman 2018
Ludwig Tuman, Composer