© 2024 WRTI
Your Classical and Jazz Source
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hannibal's "Spiritatorio" - Science and Spirituality Joined in Music

Hannibal Lokumbe

What’s a spiritatorio? ComposerHannibal Lokumbe coined the term to describe his recent oratorio, which reflects on science, spirituality, and the human condition. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more on One Land, One River, One People, for orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists.

On Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 1 PM on WRTI 90.1, and Monday May 31, 2021 at 7 PM on WRTI's HD-2 channel, listen to a re-broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra performing Hannibal's One Land, One River, One People, in a program that also includes music by Sibelius and Copland.

Hannibal describes the spiritual experience in writing this large scale work. It all began, he says, when his grandmother’s spirit came to him, pointing to her head, heart, and womb, then holding her hands to the sky...

"And then the text started to come…. One land, one river, one people. We’re all beneath the sky. The sky doesn’t shine on a woman more it does on a man, it doesn’t look on a wealthy person more than it looks upon a poor person.  It doesn’t look only upon those who follow Islam, or those who follow Christianity."

The work explores the idea of how humans might evolve.  Hannibal points to people, he says, who in their lives reached heightened levels of mental and spiritual evolution  - from Beethoven and Coltrane to Einstein, in honor of whom Hannibal created a new instrument - Einstein’s Rattle.

"I heard this sound in my head that I equate to the sound of the Earth rotating on its axis. I heard it when I was swimming in the Mediterranean sea. It’s a crackle sound."

Science and spirituality --  both integral to the human experience.

"It’s all the same. It’s just like us. We’re different spices, but we’re part of the same bowl of soup made by the same chef."

The title, One Land, One River, One People, references different aspects of humanity – its physical nature – one land; its blood – one river and its spirituality – one people. 

Listen to Hannibal talk with WRTI's Susan Lewis about how his Spiritatorio, One Land, One River, One People, came to be and why science and spirituality are so prominent in this work.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.