Members of the Create or Die team have been working on an amazing project called Odysseus Live over the past couple of months.
Odysseus Live takes the Ancient Greek text of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ and breaths fresh new meaning into words that were first composed and recited almost 3,000 years ago.
We have been helping to creatively document the behind the scenes, film and produce the first performance, with the hope to tour the show nationally and one day take it to an ancient amphitheater in Greece.
As a collaboration between rap artist and poet Luka Lesson, video artist Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, music producer Jordan Thomas Mitchell (USA) and Sydney Conservatorium of Music composer James Humberstone, the Odysseus Live project will turn a text of ancient poetry into a show of rap verses, spoken word, orchestral and electronic music and accompanying visuals.
The world today is experiencing great flux, we have arrived at an era of horrific disparity and displacement on a scale never before seen. The journey of Odysseus with his tumultuous ocean voyage almost exactly mimics that of Syrian refugees arriving today on Greek islands to escape war. The battles humans face on a daily basis are equal to the Cyclopes and Sirens of the original story we’ve always thought as a fairy-tale of epic proportions, but is now dwarfed under the realities of current human struggles and tales of survival.
Sonically, the historical growth of Jazz, Blues and eventually Hip-hop from the United States to every corner of the Earth, has meant that a resurgence in rhyming, writing and telling one’s own story to large crowds (just as the Ancient Greeks did) has found a new home in the culture of rap and spoken word, (re)birthed by African-American culture and a direct need for story-telling in order to survive oppression. We at Odysseus Live respect and gain much inspiration from this lineage of story-tellers, street artists and music makers as much as we do from The Odyssey itself. We recognise that The Odyssey is now a global story of displacement full of localised experiences.
With support from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, students will volunteer to form the orchestral base of the compositions, while Luka Lesson (the pen name of Luke Haralampou) with his Greek family heritage, will guide the project and write a libretto to be scored in collaboration between Jordan Thomas Mitchell and James Humberstone. This piece will then travel internationally, with orchestras worldwide able to pick up the sheet music and play alongside a touring core group of artists.
Welcome to Odysseus Live
The Odysseus team are currently crowd funding to get the project over the line, so that we can light, shoot and edit together the filming of the performance, so that we can take this project beyond it’s first initial show. We would love your support: https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/odysseus-live-re-imagining-the-odyssey/