Song of the Pharaoh is the first bilingual publication to appear in The Africa Institute’s periodical series, ‘Writing Africa’, making it accessible to Arabic and English readers across the globe. This represents the commitment of The Africa Institute to translation, enabling global audiences to engage in dialogue with the diversity and complexities of African creative expressions. The book is also published as part of the Global Ghana: Country-Focused Season’s program of activities.

Song of the Pharaoh tells the tale of the rise and fall of Akhnaten a young pharaoh who fights to change the direction of his kingdom. It is a timeless story of love and political and religious intrigue set in ancient Egypt. Akhnaten marries his childhood friend, the famed beauty Nefertite and they vie with her uncles for religious and political supremacy of the nation. They oversee a time of growth and artistic flourishing. They encourage education and build a new capital called the “City of Light.” Akhnaten is also the proponent of a monotheistic religion that conflicts with older forms of worship. Intrigue threatens to bring down the young rulers and their vision of the future. In the final scene, the struggle continues as Akhnaten leads a procession of followers into exile as his newly built “City of Light” sinks into the desert. The play imagines a spectacular Pan-African aesthetic that creatively blends eclectic music and dance styles from Ghana and Africa. The characters are shadowed by three storytellers and a time-traveling spiritual, historian who narrate the tale and mediate among the audience, actors, and the characters. As they move between the past and the present, the story of ancient times blends with critical portrayals of modern postcolonial struggle.

The book consists of a foreword by Salah M. Hassan, Director, The Africa Institute and an introduction by Jesse Weaver Shipley, Professor, African and African American Studies, Dartmouth College, USA.

About the Author

Mohammed Ibn-Abdallah, born in 1944 in Kumasi, is Ghana’s leading playwright. He comes from a long line of Pan-African scholars and Islamic thinkers. He holds an MFA from University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from University of Texas, Austin in theatre. His major plays include The Slaves, Trial of Malam Ilya, Alien King, Verdict of the Cobra, Land of a Million Magicians, and Witch of Mopti. Written over the course of fifty years, these works have been concerned with developing an avant-garde theatrical style Abdallah has termed Abibigoro which translates from Akan as “Black/African play” but he uses to connote a “Total African Theatre.” His plays build upon West African multi-media storytelling traditions and trickster tales that interweave music, dance, and narrative into stories that provoke desire, creativity, and irreverence. His works focus on the moral conundrums faced by African subjects who seek collective and personal freedom while caught up in violent struggles for geo-political power. While a minister in government he developed many of the major cultural and artistic infrastructure that define contemporary Ghana including the National Theatre, the DuBois Center, and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. He has taught and directed plays at universities across Ghana and around the world.

Song of the Pharaoh is the first bilingual publication to appear in The Africa Institute’s periodical series, ‘Writing Africa’, making it accessible to Arabic and English readers across the globe. This represents the commitment of The Africa Institute to translation, enabling global audiences to engage in dialogue with the diversity and complexities of African creative expressions. The book is also published as part of the Global Ghana: Country-Focused Season’s program of activities.

Song of the Pharaoh is the first bilingual publication to appear in The Africa Institute’s periodical series, ‘Writing Africa’, making it accessible to Arabic and English readers across the globe. This represents the commitment of The Africa Institute to translation, enabling global audiences to engage in dialogue with the diversity and complexities of African creative expressions. The book is also published as part of the Global Ghana: Country-Focused Season’s program of activities.

Song of the Pharaoh tells the tale of the rise and fall of Akhnaten a young pharaoh who fights to change the direction of his kingdom. It is a timeless story of love and political and religious intrigue set in ancient Egypt. Akhnaten marries his childhood friend, the famed beauty Nefertite and they vie with her uncles for religious and political supremacy of the nation. They oversee a time of growth and artistic flourishing. They encourage education and build a new capital called the “City of Light.” Akhnaten is also the proponent of a monotheistic religion that conflicts with older forms of worship. Intrigue threatens to bring down the young rulers and their vision of the future. In the final scene, the struggle continues as Akhnaten leads a procession of followers into exile as his newly built “City of Light” sinks into the desert. The play imagines a spectacular Pan-African aesthetic that creatively blends eclectic music and dance styles from Ghana and Africa. The characters are shadowed by three storytellers and a time-traveling spiritual, historian who narrate the tale and mediate among the audience, actors, and the characters. As they move between the past and the present, the story of ancient times blends with critical portrayals of modern postcolonial struggle.

The book consists of a foreword by Salah M. Hassan, Director, The Africa Institute and an introduction by Jesse Weaver Shipley, Professor, African and African American Studies, Dartmouth College, USA.

About the Author

Mohammed Ibn-Abdallah, born in 1944 in Kumasi, is Ghana’s leading playwright. He comes from a long line of Pan-African scholars and Islamic thinkers. He holds an MFA from University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from University of Texas, Austin in theatre. His major plays include The Slaves, Trial of Malam Ilya, Alien King, Verdict of the Cobra, Land of a Million Magicians, and Witch of Mopti. Written over the course of fifty years, these works have been concerned with developing an avant-garde theatrical style Abdallah has termed Abibigoro which translates from Akan as “Black/African play” but he uses to connote a “Total African Theatre.” His plays build upon West African multi-media storytelling traditions and trickster tales that interweave music, dance, and narrative into stories that provoke desire, creativity, and irreverence. His works focus on the moral conundrums faced by African subjects who seek collective and personal freedom while caught up in violent struggles for geo-political power. While a minister in government he developed many of the major cultural and artistic infrastructure that define contemporary Ghana including the National Theatre, the DuBois Center, and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum. He has taught and directed plays at universities across Ghana and around the world.

Publisher

The Africa Institute (Sharjah, UAE)

Language

English & Arabic

ISBN

978-9948-04-542-7

Dimensions

18 x 13 cm, paperback

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