Bocas Lit Fest

Raphael earns his living as a butcher in a hillside village in rural Trinidad. He is also a would-be author, but there have been so many distractions to the novel he has been writing for forty-one years that many of the characters have lost patience and gone off to do their own thing. But somehow, miraculously, the novel, as Raphael has planned it in one hundred chapters of a thousand words, seems to write itself…

Innovative, ambitious, both poetic and gritty, Anthony Joseph’s novel The Frequency of Magic is simultaneously a portrait of Trinidad and a portrait of creative obsession, shot through with musical rhythms and cadences. Now the author has recorded the entire novel in one hundred audio chapters accompanied by his band, bringing this inventive text alive for the ear.

Speaking Volumes and the Bocas Lit Fest are proud to present The Frequency of Magic: an audio version in 100 chapters, read by Anthony Joseph with musical accompaniment by Denys Baptiste, Andrew John, Thibaut Remy, Colin Webster, Jason Yarde, and Rod Youngs. Starting on 25 October, 2022, each day we’ll release a new audio chapter of the novel, culminating one hundred days later — a gift for readers and listeners, taking you through the end of the year.

The Frequency of Magic is published by Peepal Tree Press — buy it here.

Chapter 01 – Raphael had been writing a novel for forty-one years
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 02 – Luke had been sent to buy a tin of sardines
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 03 – Ella, an actor, is trying on shoes in a store
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 04 – Raphael had been writing each night into morning
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 05 – Luke had now left Tacarigua
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 06 – Raphael would wear bright blue sunglasses
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 07 – Each musician carries luggage and a flight case
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 08 – Wind in the bush like the names of saints
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 09 – When Luke came upon the Great Bandit that morning
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 10 – Men had tried to mount her since she was twelve
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 11 – Fruit is the song of trees
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 12 – Raphael loomed there on the highest point of the hill
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 13 – Luke escaped from the Great Bandit’s lair
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 14 – A van rolls downhill on the steep, sunlit gravel
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 15 – A blackbird is flying from a willow tree in a park
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 16 – Raphael’s youth was spent upon the Million Hills
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 17 – Luke arrives in the stinging rain at the house
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 18 – Walking past the match factory again
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 19 – Drayton had just come from Gatwick airport
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 20 – When Ella first came to New York
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 21 – Melchior say Boyson used to go by the standpipe to bathe
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 22 – Luke had now left Mount Garnett
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 23 – Ella moved with her mother to a house near Chenet Tree Junction
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 24 – The stage is arranged
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 25 – You come with a book in your back pocket
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 26 – The killer in the incense taxi throws a shoelace
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 27 – Luke shelters in the awning of the ice shop
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 28 – The orderlies at St Robinson’s wear faded white overalls
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 29 – Melchior gave us the seppy on Bain
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 30 – Gristle, green like malachite
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 31 – Arriving at the Grand Hotel in Nice
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 32 – The land there was parched and obzocky
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 33 – Luke chewed the wood pigeon wing
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 34 – Ella, myopic in the fog of dawn
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 35 – The savannah was still a field of dreams
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 36 – In Memoriam || Clementine Henry
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 37 – Boyson had walked over riverless bridges
The Frequency of Magic Podcast
Chapter 38 – The hotel stood on the lake front
The Frequency of Magic Podcast

Anthony Joseph writes:

“In the summer of 2021, I went into Love Electric Studios in London with my regular band; musicians I’ve worked with for over a decade. For five days, we improvised and spontaneously created soundscapes and grooves which I read over. At the beginning of the week, the task of recording 100 chapters of 1,000 words each seemed daunting, especially when each chapter lasted around 10 minutes! But we found our flow and made it to the end around 5 pm on Friday evening. The improvisational but naturally accurate elements of the music — which moves from ambient textures to free jazz — echo both the free-spirited, surrealist mode in which I wrote and edited the text, and the novel’s narrative form, in which everything occurs simultaneously. The spaces where these two elements align is truly the frequency of magic.”

Praise for The Frequency of Magic:

“For Anthony Joseph, the frequency of magic is the place where creativity flourishes; that perfect balance of intellect and instinct that brings something refreshing into heightened perspective. It is clear from reading the riffing, ludic, chapters of this new volume that Joseph is able to reach that frequency often.” — Kayo Chingonyi

“If Mikhail Bulgakov and Ishmael Reed had a godson in Trinidad raised on Rapso and John Coltrane solos, then what you’d get is The Frequency of Magic. Here Anthony Joseph manages to push at the the outer edges of the novel form while holding the centre with the most intricate and significant of detail.” — Roger Robinson

“In The Frequency of Magic Anthony Joseph presents a world rarely if ever explored for British readers. Magical language, uplifting and down-digging meaning through a choir of image and voice. Beautiful.” — Tessa McWatt

“To read The Frequency of Magic is to enter several simultaneous worlds. By turns dark, fantastical, funny, hard, poignant and transformational, this novel’s magic and spirit propel it towards becoming a literary classic.” — Nicole Rachelle-Moore

 

Anthony Joseph

Anthony Joseph is an award-winning Trinidad-born poet, novelist, academic, and musician. He is the author of five poetry collections and three novels. His 2018 novel Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award, and longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. In 2019, he was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship. As a musician, he has released eight critically acclaimed albums, and in 2020 received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Composers Award. His most recent album, The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running For Their Lives, was released in May 2021. His latest poetry collection, Sonnets for Albert, is shortlisted for this years’ Forward Prize for Best Collection. He lectures in Creative Writing at Kings College, London. Photo courtesy Mirabelwhite

Anthony Joseph – vocals, percussion, flute
Denys Baptiste – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Andrew John – bass
Thibaut Remy – guitar, percussion, keyboards
Colin Webster – tenor and baritone saxophone, keyboards, flute
Jason Yarde – alto saxophone
Rod Youngs – drums

Recording, Engineering, Mixing — Andy Hughes
Recorded at Love Electric Studios, London
Produced by Anthony Joseph

Funded by the Arts Council England

Recordings copyright © 2021 Anthony Joseph. All rights reserved

From left to right: Rod Youngs, Denys Baptiste, Thibaut Remy, Jason Yarde, Andrew John, Colin Webster, Anthony Joseph. Photo courtesy Bunny Bread

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