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The Long Song Goodbye

Inua Ellams
Presented by
Commissioned by
LIFT and 14-18 NOW
27 Jun - 29 Jun 2014
Inua Ellams

Fuel presents Inua Ellams’ The Long Song Goodbye 

The Long Song Goodbye, a spoken word piece by award-winning poet and playwright, Inua Ellams. 

As part of LIFT’s After a War weekender curated by Tim Etchells, Inua Ellams used hisdistinctive lyrical style to recall the untold stories of African soldiers brought to Europe by their European colonisers to fight the Great War.  Told through the fictional character of Jero, the poem dramatises the particular horror of the warfare in Africa and displays how this led to the first seeds of rebellion against colonialist and imperialist powers of Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Inua is one of 25 international artists and companies to explore the impact and legacy of the First World War alongside contemporary issues of war and peace. The programme culminated in this three-day weekender at Battersea Arts Centre — a potent venue which, from 1916 onwards, housed the trials of many of London’s conscientious objectors. 

In 2018, to mark the 100th Anniversary since the end of the First World War, Fuel commissioned a film version of The Long Song Goodbye performed by Inua Ellams, directed by Michael Garrett with sound and music by Alex Silverman.  

See the video here.


Part of LIFT 2014. Commissioned by LIFT and 14-18 NOW. 

Project History