JOSEPHINE AMANKWAH

Josephine Amankwah is a seasoned and accomplished professional of the creative arts. Her exquisite mezzo-soprano voice has led to her being cast in productions with some of classical music's leading lights, at some of the world's most famous venues. Having trained at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Josephine has embarked on a successful acting career which has won her a number of notable credits in television, film and theatre.

Singing

Josephine Amankwah's exquisite mezzo-soprano voice has led to her being cast in productions with some of classical music's leading lights, at some of the world's most famous venues. Her performances across the globe, taking in four continents, have included lead soloist at the Royal Festival Hall with the Gamelan Orchestra, lead soloist at the Centenary Concert of Nazim Hikmet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and singing in the English National Opera's production of Mahagonny alongside Lesley Garrett. Her exceptional talent has led to critics describing her in glowing terms: "Long and striking with a voice of a nightingale" by London Time Out's Patrick Marmion and a "thrilling and haunting soprano" by The Guardian's Rhoda Koenig, Josephine's performances never fail to move and enthral audiences. However, she has taken her classical training disciplines to new levels, writing and directing Let My People Go, which fused gospel, traditional negro spirituals, classical music and spoken word to tell the story of slavery, emancipation and the black american experience across generations. It is this fearless approach to her discipline and her art that makes Josephine a unique voice of her generation.

Acting

Having trained at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Josephine has embarked on a successful acting career which has won her a number of notable credits in television, film and theatre. She was cast in Channel 4 Television's Life on Mars as 'Tyler', played 'Basya's Woman' in Hallmark's Production of In the Beginning alongside such legendary greats as Dame Diana Rigg and played 'Myrt' in Simon Callow's production of Carmen Jones at the Old Vic, a vigorous role that saw her singing and dancing her way into the publicÕs consciousness. Josephine has also imparted some of the skills she has learnt, offering free acting workshops to youth groups whilst on mission trips to Malawi in central Africa.

Presenting

An affable and conscientious worker, Josephine has also acted as a researcher, producer and presenter. She was a researcher for TNTV in London and New York and presented Return to New York for the same network. She was also a producer for 1 World Television a multi-media outlet, that focused on lifestyle programmes. Her innate curiosity for different people and cultures has led to her travelling extensively and one of her on-going projects is to present and produce a programme that explores the traditional folk singing cultures of Africa.

News

The Chineke! Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall


The Chineke Orchestra

 

Josephine Amankwah is performing with the Chineke! Orchestra on 9th April 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. There will be a Iive recording of the concert on BBC radio 3.

"Don’t miss Chineke! Orchestra perform the reopening concert of Queen Elizabeth Hall. The orchestra’s debut concert was one of the last in Queen Elizabeth Hall before it closed for refurbishment in September 2015, so it’s only fitting they are now part of the building’s rebirth.

Since 2015 Chineke! has performed all over England and abroad. Now an Associate Orchestra of Southbank Centre, the Orchestra has commissioned a new work, Dream Song, by Daniel Kidane which sets words from Martin Luther King's ‘I have a dream...’ speech. Dream Song has its world premiere on 9 April, which is the 50th anniversary, to the day, of King's burial, five days after his assassination in April 1967.

With Britten's celebratory The Building of the House we remember that Britten conducted at the opening concert of the QEH in 1967; and in Beethoven's Symphony No.4 the extraordinary Chineke! Orchestra, which comprises a majority of black and minority ethnic musicians, once again show their joy and energy in performing a great work from the past."

Book Tickets

In Tune BBC Radio 3 Tuesday 28th August 2012 Live at 4:30pm, Danielle de Niese, Ailish Tynan, African Messiah


Africa Weekend

DURATION: 2 HOURS
Sean Rafferty presents, with guests from the arts world including chatelaine of Glyndebourne, and 'Opera's coolest soprano', Danielle de Niese. She visits the In Tune studio ahead of a project in collaboration with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. We have live music from soprano Ailish Tynan with pianist Richard Black ahead of her appearance at the Desert Island Discs Prom. Plus, kora player Tunde Jegede performs live in the studio with sopranos Josephine Amankwah and Laverne Williams as they prepare for 'African Messiah' at the Linbury Theatre.

Main headlines at 5pm and 6pm. On iPlayer

African Messiah by Tunde Jegede


Africa Weekend

African Messiah by Tunde Jegede (An African experience of Handel's Messiah)
Linbury Studio Theatre
Sunday 2nd September 2pm-3pm, 5pm-6pm

African Messiah is a celebratory new work by composer and multi-instrumentalist Tunde Jegede, combining themes and melodies from Handel’s Messiah with African musical traditions. The work draws in particular on the sounds of the kora, a West African harp-lute, and music in the griot tradition, and brings together some of the finest international singers, musicians and ensembles for a unique performance.

Songs for the Black Magi

Celebrating the Medieval and Renaissance Collections

Victoria and Albert Museum

Saturday 16 October
3.30-5.30pm


Songs for the Black Magus Songs for the Black Magus

Arik Air Magazine article


Arik Air Magazine article

Ghana Black Stars Network Ghana Independence

Ghana Black Stars Network - presents Ghana Independence on Sat 7th March 09 at Porchester Hall. In attendance and receiving awards will be MOBO CEO Kanya King MBE, Olympic Athlete Jeanette Kwakye, Broadcaster Henry Bonsu, Lady Gifty Tetteh, fashion mogul Joe Casely Hayford OBE. The National Anthem will be sung by Josephine Amankwah.


Ghana Black Stars Network Ghana Independence

America - US TV Film

Josephine is singing the sound tracks for the movie America. Filmed in Michigan by the Sanitsky Co. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Starring Rosie O'Donnell Philip Johnson and Ruby lee. Executive producers, Larry Sanitsky, Rosie O'Donnell; producer, David A. Rosemont; co-producer, Yves Simoneau; Director, Simoneau; Writers, Joyce Eliason, O'Donnell; based on the novel by E.R. Frank; Music by Normand Correil. February 09


America

Sir Willard White and Friends, Birmingham, 5th October 2008

Sir Willard White launches the inaugural gala of the Black British Classical Foundation and the VOBOs - the competition to find the best Voice of Black Opera across the Commonwealth. The foundation aims are to increase the take up of Black and Asian young people into classical music and develop new audiences from under represented communities. The evening will consist of operatic arias and spirituals. Joining Sir Willard will be Josephine Amankwah, Mezzo Soprano, Alison Buchanan, Soprano, John Colyn-Gyeantey  Tenor, Abigail Kelly Soprano, and Njabulo Madlala , Baritone. The Evening will be accompanied by the Orchestra of The Swan and the CBSOs Young People s Choir.


Willard White and Friends

Apparitions

Josephine will be starring as the Soloist in a new BBC TV drama series called Apparitions. Written and Directed by Joe Ahearne the series stars Martin Shaw, Cherie Lunghi, David Gyasi, Rick Warden, John Shrapnel and Siobhan Finnergan, and is produced by Lime Pictures. Coming to your screens in the Autumn 2008.

Celebration Africa! at the Edinburgh Festival, 17th - 25th August

Times: 2.30-3.30pm
Venue: C Central (The Blue Room) Studio Theatre, North Bridge, Edinburgh, EH 1
1 SD
Tickets: Adults: £7.50-£9.50, Concessions: £6.50 - £8.50, Children: £5.50 - £7.50
To purchase tickets go to: www.edfringe.com , Phone Box Office 0131 226 0000 or visit the Box Office at 180 High Street, Edinburgh

Funeral Bells by Benjamin Kent

June 2008 - Josephine will be playing the part of Faustina in the African Performance Production Funeral Bells by Benjamin Kent for BBC World Service. Starring Ellen Thomas, Gameli Tordzro, Enyonam Gbesemete, and Cecelia Tordoro. Produced by Alice Muthengi.

Celebration Africa! Recital, 10th April 2008

Josephine performed in the first recital of Celebration Africa! on the 10th April 2008 at the Posk Theatre, Polish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith.

The recital includes poetry, traditional African songs, well-known spirituals, and classical African music.


Check back here for details of further performances.

Credits

  1. Participating in Composition in Africa and the Diaspora at the University of Cambridge, August 2007. Organised by Professor Akin Euba, Composer and Director at CIMACC (Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, Cambridge)
  2. Lead Soloist for Ghana @ 50 celebrations - Singing the National Anthem for the country's 50 Years of Independence in the Presence of our President J A Kufuor at the Independence Square. Organised by Ghana @ 50.
  3. Soloist: Recording National Anthem for University of Grenada - Composer Shirley Thompson
  4. Lead Soloist: Musical: Let My People Go - Performed at the Posk Theatre in London. Written and Directed By Josephine Amankwah and Yolanda Thompson. Produced by Pro- Art and 3rd Dimension
  5. Lead Soloist: UNICEF Christmas Concert in aid of Sudan Appeal called The Birth of Spirituals and the Gospel With Readings from Prince Mohsin Alikan, Teteh Kofi and Her Grace Princess Natalya E. Youssoupppoff. Produced by Pro-Art and UNICEF Committee. Directed by Vesna Petkovic
  6. Recorded and filmed a collection of Christmas Carols for Revelation TV. Produced by 3rd Dimension and Revelation TV. Directed by Revelation TV
  7. Role: Anna 1 in The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill. Directed by Mehmet Ergen at Arcola Theatre.
  8. Lead Soloist with the Gamelan Orchestra for the Gamelan Festival. Produced by the Royal Festival Hall. Directed by Nikhil Dally.
  9. Lead Soloist in an evening of poetry and music to celebrate the Centenary of the poet Nazim Hikmet. Cast included Julie Christie, Vanessa Redgrave and Harold Pinter. Josephine earned critical praise for her performance of Turkish folk songs reviewed by CNN Broadcast Live. Directed by Mehmet Ergen.
  10. Role: Erica - In Looking at the Sun by Out of Southwark Playhouse for the Battersea Opera Festival. Directed by Mehmet Ergen.
  11. Role: Tyler - Life on Mars produced for Channel 4.com. Directed by Kate Kinnard
  12. Role: Irina - Lost in the Stars by Kurt Weill. Produced by Out of Southwark playhouse for the Battersea Opera Festival. Directed By Mehmet Ergen. Josephine earned critical praise for her performance reviewed by Richard Sheridan for the International Herald Tribune.
  13. Role: Basya's Woman - In the Beginning. A film for Hallmark production starring Steven Berkoff and Dame Diana Riggs. Directed by Kevin Connor and Produced by Paul Lowin.
  14. Role: The Gypsy/Ensemble - The Diary of one who vanished by Janacek. Produced by English National Opera, starring Ian Bostridge, Ruby Philogene and Julius Drake. Translated by Seamus Heaney and Directed by Deborah Warner.
  15. Role: Iras - Hallmarks production of Cleopatra for ABC Network, starring Timothy Dalton, Billy Zane, Art Malik and Rupert Graves. Directed by Franc Roddam and Produced by Dyson Lovell.
  16. Role: Model for Jacob's Biscuit television commercial. Produced by the Producers and directed by Robert Bierman.
  17. Role: Photographic model for M&S Saatchi advertising campaign for Garrards jewellers. Appeared in Vogue, Elle, The Sunday Times, Harper's & Queen and Tatler Magazine.
  18. Recorded Benjamin Britten Cabaret songs for Catalunya Radio Station. For the International Music Festival in Manlleu, Spain. Music Director: Iain Burnside
  19. Role: Jenny's Girl - Mahogonny by Kurt Weill for English National Opera. Starring Lesley Garrett. Directed by Declan Donellan and conducted by Sian Edwards
  20. Lead Soloist for the Young artist concert at the Covent Garden Festival, St. Clement Danes Church, in the Strand.
  21. Role: The First Lady and The Sailor - Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell. Produced by Black Swan Opera at the Tricycle Theatre in which Josephine earned critical praise for her performance reviewed by Rodney Milnes in Opera Magazine.
  22. Role: A Villager in Red Rubber by Dirk D'Haese. Produced by Sign of The Times Opera for the Antwerp Cultural festival. Performed at Desingel Theatre in Antwerp, Belgium. Directed by Alexander Steyermark and conducted by Dirk D' Haese.
  23. Role: Myrt - Carmen Jones at The Old Vic Theatre. Directed by Simon Callow and Conducted by Henry Lewis. Produced by Turnstyle Theatre Production
  24. Role: A Neighbour - In a Small Green Space by IIona Sekacz for The Baylis Programme at the English National Opera. Directed by David Sulkin, Written by Fay Weldon and conducted by IIona Sekacz.
  25. Producer and Researcher for 1 World Television - produced a cross section of multi media shows.
  26. Producer and Researcher for Crunch Can productions.

PHOTOS

Celebration Africa!

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Seven Deadly Sins

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In Performance

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Studio

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Cleopatra

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Life on Mars

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AUDIENCE REVIEWS

Celebration Africa

5 Stars. Went to see Celebration Africa with friends and thoroughly enjoyed it.The music and poetry was so moving and rich in texture. I loved the audience participation in the performance.......Outstanding performance from Josephine Amankwah, what a voice and stage presence. Reading from Tetteh Kofi was so engaging. The musicians added a great background to the programme. I recommend this show highly.

Mrs Reynold (From Bored To Night Reviews on Musicals & Opera at The Edinburgh Festival)

My partner and myself were with you on Saturday afternoon at the Ballroom, Carlton Hotel. We very much enjoyed and appreciated Celebration Africa. For myself it brought back memories of our prayers and songs for South Africa in the apartheid era.Also the whole show was inspiring, and I must admit a little uncomfortable at times, when we thought of the term, untrue, darkest Africa. Again thank you. Is a Cd available of your songs and of the show?

John Harris White

Marvellous singing and wonderful poetry rejoicing at black cultural heritage, transporting the audience across the ocean to Mother Africa.

Sophia Eribo

PRESS REVIEWS

Celebration Africa

Classically Trained Amankwah is an impressive vocal Talent.

Three Weeks Fringe, Holly Williams

Seven Deadly Sins of the Petty Bourgeoisie

"The piece is sustained brilliantly by ... the singing of Josephine Amankwah, who could well follow in the steps of Lotte Lenya."

The Sunday Times, Culture

"As Anna 1, Josephine Amankwah has a thrilling and haunting soprano."

The Independent, Rhoda Koenig

"Anna is played as two... so opera singer Josephine Amankwah and dancer Yumino Seki - both wonderful - move together."

The Stage, Gareth Evans

" Josephine Amankwah, a long striking black woman with the voice of a nightingale. "

Time Out, Patrick Marmion

" ...fetchingly sung by Josephine Amankwah. "

Evening Standard, Metro Magazine, Nicholas de Jong

" Josephine Amankwah, as Anna 1, has the carriage and the facial bone structure of an African queen, and a voice of such purity that there is an apt illumination of Brecht's theories of theatre in the contrast between the voice and the words she sings, conjoining Anna 2 to sacrifice integrity, body and happiness for material success. "

The British Theatre Guide

Lost in the Stars

" the rich voice of Josephine Amankwah as Irina [was] outstanding "

International Herald Tribune, Sheridan Morley

Brixtonian Opera, Covent Garden Festival

" High powered performers ... we will hear more of Josephine Amankwah "

The Independent, Robert Maycock

"John Dalby introduced his glamorous black pupil Josephine Amankwah, who sang Is It Too Much To Ask? so stylishly that we knew here was a star of the future."

Eva Smythe at The Players Theatre, Plays & Players Magazine

Dido and Aeneas

" Josephine Amankwah's Lady fielded ... sumptuous tone and a confident stage performance. "

Opera

Contact Josephine

Email Josephineemail
josephine@joamankwah.com