Viva Declaration! music and video odyssey of migration and human rights


by Tagné + Kooj
a performance of global-jazz music and live-mixed video
about migration and borders.

Using poetic visuals and documentary sequences against a musical landscape it connects migration with colonial history, economics, political and environmental conflicts, human rights, contemporary protest and campaigns for migration justice. The critical questions and vivid emotions raised by Viva Declaration! have never been so relevant than here and right now in post-Brexit UK.

Original version commissioned as ‘Declaration’ in 2019 by HOME Manchester.
Duration: approx 75 mins. Available for booking – contact us.

“complex, nuanced and uncompromisingly political. Important work raising the big questions of our time”

– Stella Barnes, Director of CAN (Manchester, UK)

Recent shows of the original ‘Declaration’ show in 2019:

at HOME (Manchester) 18th June 2019:
The first version of the show was commissioned by HOME, and presented as a part of their Horizons Festival
>> CLICK HERE for full details >>

Declaration performance at HOME arts centre in Manchester

at PARTISAN (Manchester) 25th Sept 2019:
Headlining the JUSTICE RIGHTS AND RESISTANCE event to celebrate 30 years of the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
>> CLICK HERE for full details >>

at Nordic Labour Film Festival (Malmö, Sweden) 9th November 2019
Providing the key live event on Saturday evening of the festival
>> CLICK HERE for full details >>

So, what and who is Viva Declaration! …?

Viva Declaration! combines poetic imagery with documentary narratives, featured as live visual projections from video artist Kooj Chuhan.  The musical compositions are specially created and performed by Tagné Tebu, a multi-instrumentalist with jazz, African, Latin and Indo-Arabic influences.  This new performance has evolved from the original ‘Declaration’ show with new musical and video sections, an expanded narrative plus special guest Helena Summerfield on saxophones and flute.  Expect sections of free improv, interactive video and audio loops, spoken polemics, multi-layered rhythms and evocative melodic structures.

Kooj Chuhan is a leading UK-based artist-activist.  He has exhibited at Arnolfini (Bristol), ICA (London), internationally including San Diego, Paris, New Delhi, Toronto. Among his achievements is an award for digital arts connecting refugees with climate change.  Tagné Tebu has a refugee background and many credits as composer, arranger, musical director and producer. His credits include work with world-music stars Amadou and Mariam.  Helena Summerfield will join Kooj and Tagné for the new ‘Viva Declaration’ performance. She is an award-winning music educator and performer working across classical and jazz and a regular in Manchester’s jazz scene.

‘Viva Declaration’ includes a mix of spoken monologues by detainees, human rights activists and legal case-workers reflecting on the themes of migration justice. It includes material from Angela Davis, Walter Rodney, Shami Chakrabarti, Viraj Mendis, Bridget Anderson, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and These Walls Must Fall campaign.

Tagné against projection backdrop during Declaration performance at Partisan on 25th Sept 2019

The narrative connects with both the ‘Universal Declaration on Human Rights’ and the historical contexts for ‘Declarations of Independence’ to end colonisation.  The artists are exploring a level of decolonising the musical and visual narrative and form.  Recorded documentary audio and video footage has been adapted by Kooj Chuhan using software for re-play within the music.


Declaration performance at HOME arts centre in Manchester


Kooj Chuhan is artistic director and visual / video / VJ creator for the project. He has developed the narrative which reflects on wider ideas about no borders throughout history. Kooj has worked on the ideas underpinning the piece for some decades, he has known Tagné for 12 years and their work has crossed over a number of times. 
Kooj has exhibited work at Arnolfini (Bristol), ICA (London), internationally including San Diego, Paris, New Delhi, Toronto.  He has won an award for digital arts connecting refugees with climate change, founded the Virtual Migrants artists collective focusing on race, migration and global justice, was instrumental in the early Manchester Black Arts movement and is the director of Metaceptive Media.

Declaration performance at HOME - Kooj Chuhan at work

Tagné Tebu is well known in Manchester as an astounding multi-instrumentalist musician composer.  He came from Cameroon originally as a refugee to the UK, and strongly believes in the importance of legal systems for migrant justice.  He has many credits as composer, arranger, producer and director. These include the 3-year Urban Music Theatre project, Manchester International Roots Orchestra, Another Country music and spoken word production.  He has worked with international ‘world music’ stars Amadou and Mariam, Palestinian singer Reem Kelani and leading Romanian composer Michael Cretu.  Tagné is co-founder and artistic director of Amani Creatives in Manchester.

Declaration live music and video performance by Tagné and Kooj

Helena Summerfield is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and an award-winning music educator. Although classically trained, she is a very experienced jazz educator and a qualified teacher. She can be found playing most of the saxes (as well as flute and occasionally clarinet) somewhere in Manchester’s jazz scene – not least as the baritone player in both the Hillary Step Quartet and the Veritas North Jazz Orchestra.

Image of Helena Summerfield on saxophones and flute performing for Declaration


Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and These Walls Must Fall campaign will contribute using audio and video narratives from their members which are integrated into the music score. 
The collaborating partners supporting the project are:   Amani Creatives , Virtual Migrants , These Walls Must Fall , Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and Metaceptive Projects and Media .

Recent event at HOME Manchester on 18th June 2019:

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