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 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.
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 the works of the Choral Tales Project promote an appreciation both for cultural diversity and for the oneness of humankind.
The objective is to produce the four 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 public television and other media outlets, and will enhance our ability to bring the project to the attention of choral directors, as well as to the attention of UNESCO and other agencies interested in promoting by artistic means a consciousness that honors both cultural diversity and humanity's oneness.
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 will be 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 will suggest humanity’s cultural diversity. The musical style will vary substantially from one choral song to another, in each case reflecting the culture the tale belongs to. The songs will not attempt to exactly reproduce traditional music from the cultures represented. Rather, in each case they will creatively combine an accessible, contemporary sound with characteristics of music from the general cultural region concerned.
For instance, the folk tale from China is to be 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 the public is likely to find attractive.
● Folk tales are an ideal way to 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.
● 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 subtly suggest the culture represented, positioned near the choir, and acting out the events of the story.
Preliminary Work Completed
Choral Tales' artistic director and composer, Ludwig Tuman, has assembled a group of poets, choreographers, dancers, singers, and videographers who have enthusiastically agreed to take part in the project.
He has also collaborated with the poet, Shirin Sabri, who has converted each of the four tales into a poem to be set to choral music. These poems, and the tales from which they were derived, are given on separate pages in this web site.
He has completed composition of the first Choral Tale, "The Happy Man's Shirt" and is currently working on the remaining pieces.
Ludwig Tuman has donated, and will continue donating, the time and effort needed to organize the project, coordinate participating artists and advisers, and produce the works. Similarly, Ms. Sabri, as a creative collaborator, has donated her time to research the selected tales, retell them, and turn them into poems.
The artistic director (Ludwig Tuman), in collaboration with participating artists, is carrying out the following:
1. compose the four choral works
2. arrange for members of the Chamber Choir of CSU Long Beach to learn them
3. arrange for choreographers to design the corresponding dances
4. arrange for groups of dancers to act them out
5. a videography team to video record the combined music and dance performance, and
6. a web site designer to create the project’s web site and upload the video, tales and poems.
About the Project’s Sponsors
The project is sponsored by The Arts Collaborative, a registered 501(c)3 non profit based in Oxnard, California: www.theartscollab.org
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's co-sponsors are Oxnard College, which is generously donating the use of its state-of-the-art performing arts center for the performance and filming of the video; and the Wings to the Spirit Foundation, which has provided grant support.
© Ludwig Tuman 2017
Ludwig Tuman, Composer