Welcome to the premiere of Rush; Pegasus Opera Company’s brand new Lambeth Windrush Anthem sung by Pegasus Opera Company’s Community Chorus - Watch as we launch on Windrush Day, 22nd June at 14.00.
Pegasus Opera Company are delighted to be part of the Lambeth Windrush 2021 celebrations working with our partners Brixton Project, Lambeth Council and Lambeth Archives. Our organisation has worked in Lambeth for over 20 years, working in schools, youth settings and with community groups.
'Pegasus Opera Company has always had a home in the heart of Lambeth so it was a pleasure to be invited to commission a Windrush anthem for Lambeth. Pegasus Opera Company's mission is to champion classical artists from African, Caribbean and Asian heritage and so we were delighted to be able collaborate with composer Des Oliver to create the song 'Rush' inspired by his conversations with our community choir.'
"What struck me most about the conversation with the Pegasus Community Choir is the dichotomy that lies at the heart of Windrush between the unrelenting sense of hopefulness, triumph and positivity, against a history of struggle grounded in racism. Focus only on the former and we risk romanticising the story in a way that does not do justice to their achievements, focus on the latter and we risk presenting this history (and ourselves) always and only within the context of racism.
And so both of these aspects needed to be represented in the music/lyrics—it does give rise to a slightly humorous irony, "here are my dreams and ambitions and this is the reality", but that humour too, is part of our identity!
The song refers to Ben Bousquet (referred to in the lyrics as "Mr Bousquet") who went on to become a Labour party councillor for North Kensington and was a migrant from St Lucia who found paid employment with the BBC, as the subject of the first documentary about race on British television (clips of this available on youtube), when the BBC's Tonight programme followed him around Brixton looking for a room.
The final "here I am" of the Windrush Anthem refers not to the Windrush generation but to us, as our history is ongoing."