Njinga the Queen King; The Return of a Warrior [DVD] [1993]

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Special Features

  • Ancestral voices
  • Peak moments


Njinga the Queen King; The Return of a Warrior
A word of explanation and some historical background may be helpful. Njinga (1583-1663) was a remarkable female resident of 17th century Ndongo (present-day Angola) who bucked her society's tribal decree that forbade women to assume the throne, by posing as a king and ruling in her male guise. At once a skillful warrior and a cunning diplomat, she managed to keep the intimidating Portuguese armies at bay for over four decades. That chronicle served as the inspiration for a unique work of musical theater by composers Pauline Oliveros and Ione, titled Njinga. The play itself actually transcends the chronology of the eponymous ruler's life by tracing her descendants to countries including Brazil and the United States, and ultimately connects Njinga's story with that of a contemporary African American woman who has fallen out-of-touch with her heritage. The release includes a complete performance of Njinga, plus bonus features including the 1992 Stephen Barnwell documentary Ancestral Voices (which observes the 1992 workshops leading up to the first performance of Njinga) and the 2009 Victoria Kereszi short-subject documentary Peak Moments, which finds Oliveros and Ione reflecting on the 8-year development of Njinga and the work's impact and development in the years that followed its debut. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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