A blog by Daniel Kidane, RSNO Composers’ Hub 2016:17
Named after the Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa, Zulu brings to life the formidable fighting spirit of the Zulu people. Clannish regiments, known as Impi, marked their bravery and militaristic prowess in battles with invaders such as the Boer Commando and British Empire. The vigorous nature of the piece, characterised by ever-present percussion and an unwavering drive, reflects the essence of the Zulu people.
When asked to write a piece reflecting on the idea of war, I wanted to highlight an epoch in world history where colonialism was rife. Traditionally wars can be divided into three categories: wars of conquest, wars of liberation, and wars between states. The European colonial conquest period was the era from the 16th century to the mid-20th century, when several European powers established colonies in Asia, Africa and the Americas. It is hard to measure the complete damage that the practice of acquiring political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically for the mother country, had on these regions – no doubt the repercussions are still being felt today.