mother tongues presents TIERED TONGUE by SAMRA MAYANJA, a triptych process inviting collective reflection, breaking and remaking through two workshops and a performance.

TIERED TONGUE takes its impetus from Samra’s eponymous poem written in 2015, exploring the relationship between the first languages spoken by her mother and herself (Lusoga and English respective), the recent historic power dynamic between the two languages and how this manifests in their relationship. The themes in the poem also helped create a performance entitled BAD UGANDAN (Villa Magdalena K, Hamburg June 2019) the main focus of Tiered Tongue.

This process takes the form of two workshops, BLACK MUSIC, REPETITION AND THE ECSTATIC at DIY Space For London on the and FORGING GESTURES? at Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk Gallery and a final performance BAD LUGANDAN at CLAY.


Bad Lugandan
A performance by Samra Mayanja
21 February 2020, 7-10pm, CLAY, Leeds

The third piece of Tiered Tongue takes the form of a new performance BAD LUGANDAN by Samra Mayanja, accompanied with the writing of artist and writer Adrianna Whittingham.

BAD LUGANDAN is performance piece exploring the transmission and experience of ecstasy as a vehicle for familiar languages finding us. Luganda is the language spoken by the Beganda tribe in Uganda.

Adrianna Whittingham enters Tiered Tongue to offer a dialectic dimension through the use of her typewriter in response to the workshops, conservations and performances throughout the duration of the Tiered Tongue project.

image: artwork by Adrianna Whittingham in response to Tiered Tongue. The fans were handed out to the audience on the night of the performance


Forging Gestures?
A performance workshop
14 December 2019, 2-4pm, Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk Gallery

Following the workshop 'Black Music, Repetition and the Ecstatic' at DIY Space for London in October 2019, the second part of Tiered Tongue: FORGING GESTURES?, coincides and partners with the exhibition, 'Samra Mayanja: Scripted for a Wayward Narrator' at Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk Gallery.

By facilitating a worksop using movement and discussion, Samra Mayanja will explore how the individual or collective loss of a language can be seen as equivocal to burning down a library, signifying the loss of an accent, idioms, proverbs, different modes of thought and expression. This workshops aims to collectively examine the contest between assimilation into the dominant culture, imitation of desired culture and the authentic self entering language (spoken and gestural/movement).

We will use our bodies to investigate ways that we assimilate, imitate and get closer to ourselves in our lives. We invite you to bring images/videos/objects/memories that you feel are relevant.

Please wear clothes that you are happy to move in.

image: still from Samra Mayanja's performance BAD UGANDAN at DIY Space for London.


Black Music, Repetition and the Ecstatic
Performance and Listening Party
13th October 2019, 12 - 3pm, DIY Space for London

For the workshop BLACK MUSIC, REPETITION AND THE ECSTATIC, Samra will perform her piece BAD UGANDAN followed by a listening party, with a a selection of music from Samra's research. The listening party is a space for people to collectively listen to music and reflect on memories and thoughts. Feel free to also contribute by adding link(s) to your chosen music originated from the culture of the African diaspora* here.

The sentiment that our experience is fixed, unchangeable and constrained by the everyday is broken in moments when we are elevated, lifted or in a state of ecstasy. This ecstatic experience can be induced by repetitive sounds, producing sound and/or movements collectively - transporting us out and over the day to day.

*This is music of people from anywhere in the world who identify as black and/or who’s heritage, musical tradition and style can be connected to black cultures.

image: still from #1 BUSOGA ANTHEM (BAD UGANDAN KARAOKE) you can find here.