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17 Sep 18

JUPITER // Richard Bullen

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Composer // Richard Bullen 
Scientist // Dr. Leigh Fletcher
Planet // Jupiter

Richard creates a sound world inspired by time-lapse videos of the auroras in Jupiter’s atmosphere, as well as images of the swirling clouds and rushing winds. He also makes a feature of the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter, assigning one to each of the string quartet instruments.

British composer Richard Bullen studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Sawer, graduating with a PhD in 2015. His works, which have been described as 'audacious' and 'astounding', often make creative use of the performance space to heighten perception of sound and thrill the senses. He has worked with several leading new music ensembles and orchestras including LSO, London Sinfonietta, BCMG, Orkest de Ereprijs and Psappha. His music has been performed across three continents from New York to Tokyo, and broadcast on BBC radio. He is a visiting lecturer in composition at the junior departments of Trinity Laban and the Royal College of Music. His awards include a 2011 BASCA British Composer Award. www.composersedition.com

Dr. Leigh Fletcher. Royal Society University Research Fellow (URF) and Associate Professor in Planetary Sciences at the University of Leicester specialising in the exploration of planetary weather and climate using Earth-based observatories and visiting spacecraft. He earned a Natural Science degree from Cambridge, a PhD in Planetary Physics from Oxford, and has since worked as a NASA fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a Research Fellow at Oxford. He was the recipient of the 2016 Harold C. Urey prize for outstanding achievements in planetary science by an early-career scientist, awarded by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society. He is a co-investigator on the Cassini mission to Saturn, the JUICE mission to Jupiter, and a passionate advocate for future exploration of the distance Ice Giants. He currently leads a planetary atmospheres team at the University of Leicester, funded by the Royal Society, STFC, and the European Research Council. planetaryweather.blogspot.co.uk

Jupiter Facts

1. Jupiter is the biggest planet in our Solar System – 11 Earths could fit across Jupiters equator

2. Jupiter has short days and very long years. 1 Jovian day is about 10 Earth hours. It takes around 12 Earth years to complete one obit of the Sun (a Jovian year)

3. Jupiter has 79 known moons. The four best known moons are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. They were discovered by Galileo (and are known as the Galilean moons) and are among the largest satellites in the Solar System. Some of these moons may be the mostly likely places to support life (other than Earth) in the Solar System.

4. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a gigantic storm that has raged for over 100 years and is about twice the size of Earth.

5. Unlike the 4 inner-most planets in the Solar system, Jupiter is a Gas Giant, so has no rocky surface. Its atmosphere is mostly Hydrogen and Helium.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/jupiter/overview/

Image credit: Dr. Leigh Fletcher


17 Sep 18

EARTH // Ayanna Witter-Johnson

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Composer // Ayanna Witter-Johnson
Scientist // Professor Sanjeev Gupta
Planet // Earth

Ayanna Witter-Johnson's new composition explores and wonders about the creation of Earth and how it has developed over time. The melody appears and re-appears in different ways to reflect a myriad of perspectives/thoughts that she had during her research and creative process.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson - Singer, songwriter, cellist and rare exception to the rule that classical and alternative r&b music cannot successfully coexist. Graduated with a first from both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Manhattan School of Music, Ayanna participated in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and became an Emerging Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre. She was a featured artist with Courtney Pine’s Afropeans: Jazz Warriors and became the only non-American to win Amateur Night Live at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC. Since releasing her EP’s Ayanna has toured extensively in the UK and in Europe, gained a MOBO award nomination, and has been played on BBC Radio 1 & BBC 1Xtra. http://www.ayannamusic.com/

Professor Sanjeev Gupta is a geologist at Imperial College in London. He is interested in the processes that shape landscapes and how we can reconstruct these from Deep Time records preserved in sedimentary rocks. Since 2012 he has been exploring the evolution of Mars' landscapes. Currently he works with NASA's Curiosity rover to discover if the Red Planet could ever have been habitable for life, and is excited about future explorations with the European ExoMars rover due for launch in 2020. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/s.gupta

Top 5 Earth Facts

1. Earth is in the habitable zone around our Sun, where it’s not too cold and not too hot, so liquid water can exist. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘Goldilocks Zone’

2. The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from meteorites, which burn/break up before they can strike the Earth’s surface. Earth’s atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other gases. This is the perfect cocktail to allow us to breathe and to promote life. 

3. The Earth has one natural satellite, the Moon.

4. Earth is a rocky planet with beautiful features such as mountains, valleys and canyons, but most of the surface is covered in water.

5. It takes the Earth 24hrs to rotate on its own axis and 365.25 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. That’s why every 4 years we add an extra day to February – to make up for the extra quarter day every year. 

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/earth/overview/


12 Sep 18

GWYNETH HERBERT'S Letter Of Note

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****WARNING! This article contains very strong language****

Gwyneth Herbert's Letter Of Note

“JUST DO” - Sol LeWitt’s electrifying letter of advice on self-doubt, overcoming creative block, and being an artist

Artist Sol LeWitt: A spectacular 1965 letter to the trailblazing sculptor Eva Hesse, whom he had befriended five years earlier. Hesse, a disciple of Josef Albers and a pioneer of the postminimalist art movement of the 1960s, began suffering from creative block and self-doubt shortly after moving from New York to Germany with her husband. She reached out to her friend for counsel and consolation.

The masterpiece of a response LeWitt wrote on April 14, 1965 was later included in Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (public library) — the magnificent anthology edited by Shaun Usher.

In his impassioned five-page missive, which remains the closest thing to a personal creative credo LeWitt ever committed to words, the 41-year-old artist writes to Hesse:

"Dear Eva,

It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “F*** You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-s*******, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just

DO

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and your ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing — clean — clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful — real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, c****, whatever — make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you — draw & paint your fear & anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to

DO

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work — the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell — you are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work — so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working — then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to

DO

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible — and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that s*** I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty your mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work — not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones & I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can — shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

[…]

Much love to you both.

Sol"

The following year, Hesse created “Hang-Up” — one of her most acclaimed and admired sculptures, of which she reflected: "It was the first time my idea of absurdity or extreme feeling came through… It is the most ridiculous structure that I ever made and that is why it is really good." This was LeWitt’s advice, made tangible and given form.

The two artists remained close friends and creative kindred spirits, exchanging ideas and influencing each other’s work, for the remainder of Hesse’s short life. She was slain by a brain tumor in 1970, at only thirty-four. Two days after her death, LeWitt created “Wall Drawing 46,” which he dedicated to his friend. With its minimalist multitude of textured non-straight lines — a graphic element he had never used before — the piece was a significant aesthetic shift for LeWitt, who would go on to incorporate non-straight lines in his subsequent work, crediting Hesse’s influence.

Link to full article here. Warning this article contains strong language: 
https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/09/do-sol-lewitt-eva-hesse-letter/

Image credit: Ian Wallman


12 Sep 18

VENUS // Shiva Feshareki

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Composer // Shiva Feshareki
Scientist // Dr. Philippa Mason
Planet // Venus

Exploring science/maths, spirituality, poetry and art, Shiva Feshareki's new composition is now called: Venus/Zohreh. Zohreh is her mother's name, which translates to Venus. Shiva takes scientific inspiration from EnVision, an international UK-led mission heading to Venus in 2029. 

Winner of the 2017 BASCA British Composer Award for Innovation, Shiva is an experimental classical composer, radio presenter and turntablist of British Iranian heritage. Her work explores the sound of electricity through a wide range of practices and collaborative processes incorporating classical methodology. Shiva performed ‘Still Point’ by Daphne Oram (world premiere) at the BBC Proms in 2018, with the London Contemporary Orchestra. Shiva continues to work on site-specific compositions, while refining her live remixing skills and love of improvisation through performance. https://www.shivafeshareki.co.uk/

Dr. Philippa Mason is a field geologist who specialises in using satellite imagery to study rocks, minerals, geological structures and tectonics, on Earth and other planets. Her teaching and research at Imperial College London takes her all over the world and involves the translation of terrestrial techniques in Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and multi-spectral imaging to assist in the understanding of geological features and processes on other Earth-like planets, such as Venus and Mars. She is currently on the Science Team of EnVision, an international UK-led mission, which will be heading to Venus in 2029, aimed at understanding why it is so different to Earth, establishing whether it is tectonically active, and if it was ever hospitable to life. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/p.j.mason

Top 5 Venus facts:

1. Venus is about the same size as Earth (95% the radius and 82% the mass of Earth)

2. Although not the closest planet to the Sun, it is the hottest in the Solar System due to its thick atmosphere. It has a surface temperature of 465'C!!

3. A day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days while a year is only 225 Earth days. Venus spins backways so on Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the East

4. Venus has been visited and explored by more than 40 space crafts! Many scientists believe that there was once water on the surface and future explorers will search for evidence of this.

5. Although the surface of Venus rotates slowly, clouds are blown completely around the planet every 5 days, by hurricane force winds!

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/venus/overview/

Image credit: Ben Ealovega


05 Sep 18

Gwyneth Herbert's Letters Playlist

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We asked Gwyn to put together a playlist of tracks that have inspired her Letters I Haven't Written project. Listen to her eclectic playlist of love letters, political letters, letters to a younger self from Al Green, David Bowie, Sarah Vaughan, plus many more.

Listen here

Image credit: Ian Wallman


03 Sep 18

Mercury // Mira Calix

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Composer // Mira Calix
Scientist // Professor David Rothery
Planet // Mercury

Check out a sneak preview of Mira Calix's new piece from our recent workshop session with the Ligeti Quartet here. Mira Calix has taken raw data from satellite missions to Mercury and turned it into music. The piece is simultaneously in 6/8 and 3/4 time signatures, representing its 3:2 orbit:spin ratio.

Mira Calix – is an award-winning artist, composer and performer. Music and sound have always been at the centre of her practice, which she continues to integrate with visual media and technological innovation to create multi-disciplinary installations and performance works. Mira has been commissioned by many leading international cultural institutions, festivals and ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Performa, Institute of Contemporary Art, Garage MCA, National Portrait Gallery, the Manchester International Festival and The Mayor Of London among others. Mira Calix is signed to Warp Records and published by Mute Song/ Music Sales. http://www.miracalix.com/

Professor David Rothery is mentoring Mira Calix on Mercury. Professor of Planetary Geosciences, Open University. Runs planetary science course. Author of: Planets: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford Univ Press 2010), Teach Yourself Planets (Hodder, now out of print), Mercury: From Pale Pink Dot of Dynamic World (Springer, 2015). On the science team for the European Space Agency orbiter probe to Mercury (BepiColombo, launching Oct 2018,arrival Dec 2026). http://www.open.ac.uk/people/dar4

Top 5 Mercury facts:

1. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, about 36 million miles from it.

2. Mercury is the smallest planet on the Solar system, only a little larger than our Moon.

3. At Mercury’s closest approach, the sun would look 3 times larger from Mercury as it does from Earth!

4. Mercury has very long days and very short years – one day on Mercury takes 59 Earth days. One day-night cycle on Mercury takes about 176 Earth days. Mercury’s year (a full orbit around the Sun) is just 88 Earth days.

5. Mercury has an elliptical orbit and because of its long days and short years, the morning Sun appears to rise briefly, set, and rise again from parts of the planet’s surface. The same things happen in reverse at sunset, causing double sunsets.

Ref: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mercury/overview/
Image credit: David Rothery


03 Sep 18

GUEST BLOG: Samuel Bordoli

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Composer and Live Music Sculpture founder Samuel Bordoli, tells us about his inspiration for The Planets 2018

The idea for The Planets 2018 grew out of my Live Music Sculpture series – four site-specific creations for live musicians placed spatially around unusual architectural landmarks, including Tower Bridge, GLA City Hall and The Monument.

I have always loved visiting planetariums and wanted to combine the thrill of exploring our solar system with site-specific music in these unique spaces. The opportunity of surrounding an audience with sound on all sides while visuals filled their peripheral vision was particularly tantalising.

A string quartet seemed like the most natural ensemble for this project. It would be capable of working within the intimate space and lend itself well to quadraphonic placement. Its ability to achieve unity as well as diversity in tone and texture would also be important in a dry acoustic. I approached the Ligeti Quartet, who are renowned for their pioneering approach to new music. They loved the idea and came on board.

I realised that we were approaching the centenary of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. The threads seemed to come together – this would be a 21st Century Planets Suite, this time shared by eight composers each taking on a different planet. The composers would team up with a scientist to learn about the latest planetary research and incorporate this into their music.

I wanted The Planets 2018 to not only reveal the scientific developments of the last one hundred years, but also the musical changes. Holst was inspired by astrology – the contemporary composers would be influenced by astronomy. In the years that science has progressed, composers have been influenced by changing tastes, technologies and techniques. The project would tour around the UK to different planetariums accompanied by live visuals, taking audiences on a unique tour of the solar system, illuminated by music and science.

The scale of the idea needed an experienced and passionate producer to bring it to life. I was delighted when Sound UK came on board and brought their knowledge and creativity to the project. Together we commissioned Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Deborah Pritchard, Laurence Crane, Mira Calix, Richard Bullen, Shiva Feshareki and Yazz Ahmed to take on a planet – all renowned for pushing boundaries and being as varied in musical voice as the planets are in geological form.

I was inspired to take on the planet Uranus after visiting the Herschel Museum in Bath where it was discovered in 1781. I enjoyed being in the garden where it was first glimpsed through a telescope and standing on the damaged stones of Herschel’s workshop floor where molten metal had been spilled as he manufactured the lenses with his sister and fellow astronomer Caroline. It was fun to note that William Herschel was also a composer!

Guiding me during the process was David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences, whose encyclopaedic knowledge has been invaluable. It turns out Uranus is a fascinating planet because its rotation around the axis is tilted on its side. David described the extraordinary effect this would have on sunrise and sunset – essentially 42 earth years of a pale sun slowly revolving in the sky, the circle getting wider until it disappeared under the horizon leading to another 42 years of twilight then darkness. This is the journey I have tried to communicate in the piece. It was quite a challenge converting 84 years into 5 minutes.

I hope audiences attending The Planets 2018 will be inspired when they experience the diversity of our solar system in the context of a wide range of music here on Earth. The questions raised by music and science remain bigger than all of us. This project is a humble glimpse of eight, highly personal responses to broader scientific discoveries about planets that undoubtedly influence us all. This is in no way the final say on the matter. We hope that another group of composers will do this again in 2118.

SB

29 Sept - 2 Oct
The Planets 2018
London, Winchester, Bristol, (Birmingham SOLD OUT)
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Image credit: Bill Bankes-Jones


15 Aug 18

A Change is Gonna Come on BBC Radio 3, Jazz Now

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We are very excited to hear A Change is Gonna Come on BBC Radio 3, Jazz Now. Soweto Kinch presents the show recorded earlier this year in Birmingham Town Hall. Leading an incredible sextet, are supremely talented queens of their trade: the soulful Carleen Anderson, jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia and Mercury Prize-Winning rapper Speech Debelle. The band also features the awesome talents of bassist Renell Shaw, plus drummer Rod Youngs.

On stage together for the first time, they performed unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today. This special concert also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights.

Listen again here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bf1wx5

Find out more about the project here: http://www.sounduk.net/events/change-gonna-come/


15 Aug 18

Meet the string quartet playing new music in planetariums

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Internationally renowned for pushing the possibilities of the string quartet, the Ligeti Quartet will premiere The Planets 2018 in quadraphonic sound, alongside live visuals, in full dome planetariums.

At the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010, the Ligeti Quartet have established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading ensembles, breaking new ground through innovative programming and championing of today’s most exciting composers and artists. They have commissioned many new works and have collaborated with artists such as Anna Meredith, Kerry Andrew, Seb Rochford and Shabaka Hutchings. They have played at landmark venues around the world and also regularly escape the stage to play museums, pubs, galleries, and on iceberg sculptures as part of a Greenpeace campaign. The Quartet are Ensemble in Residence at the Universities of both Sheffield and Cambridge and regularly take part in education and community outreach work. https://ligetiquartet.com/

Mandhira de Saram (violin 1), Patrick Dawkins (violin 2), Richard Jones (viola), Val Welbanks (cello)

The Planets 2018 is touring 29 Sept - 02 October 
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14 Aug 18

Planetary Playlist

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The Ligeti Quartet choose some of their favourite planetary tracks ahead of The Planets 2018 UK tour this autumn. Listen here: https://spoti.fi/2Plergg 


06 Jun 18

A Change is Gonna Come art print

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Screen printed posters of A Change Is Gonna Come illustration by the amazing Annette Becker Design are now available to buy here: https://www.etsy.com/…/6…/a-change-is-gonna-come-hand-screen


05 Jun 18

New project announcement! Gwyneth Herbert

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Gwyneth Herbert
Letters I Haven’t Written

We're delighted to be working with award-winning composer/performer Gwyneth Herbert and leading video artist Will Duke (Complicite The Encounter) on this exciting new project that takes audiences on a voyage into the lost art of letter-writing through music and film.

Over the coming months we hope you'll join us on this creative journey that uses the personal act of letter writing to ask: How, in an age of so much noisy communication, can we be more connected?

Read More


30 May 18

Four-star reviews and amazing audience comments!

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We are overwhelmed by the audience reaction to A Change is Gonna Come. Thank you for all your amazing comments. We are completely in awe, proud and inspired by this incredible line-up of talented artists. THANK YOU to Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Speech Debelle, Nubya Garcia, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs. THANK YOU to our production team and to the venues we’ve toured to so far in London, Brighton and Birmingham. We know this won’t be the end.

ON THE RADIO:
Keep an ear out for A Change is Gonna Come on BBC Radio 3 Jazz Now soon.

READ THE PAPERS:
Read the four-star reviews! 

The Guardian - A Change Is Gonna Come: Music for Human Rights review – musical depths in cliche-free protest songs 

Evening Standard - A Change Is Gonna Come: Music For Human Rights review - a powerful evening of protest songs

Brighton Source - Brighton Festival Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

The Arts Desk - A Change is Gonna Come, Brighton Festival review - lively, winning jazz adventure

WHAT’S TWITTER SAYING?
We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

@JimbleJay
Phenomenal. @speechdebelle reciting Hughes’ ‘Harlem’, then in to Gil-Scott Heron. @nubya_garcia & co. opening with Coltrane’s ‘Alabama’... Then came Dead Prez... #AChangeIsGonnaCome

@1953eagle4ever
A great evening of protest songs last night. Thank you @CarleenAnderson @speechdebelle @NikkiPianoYeoh and @nubya_garcia for giving them new life. Some of the songs may be old but are are still relevant today. A Change Must Come.

@jeanmcameron
When you see artists at the top of their game perform from the depth of their souls it truly is an extraordinary blessing. Tonight @southbankcentre @CarleenAnderson, Nikki Yeoh, Speech Debelle, Nubya Garcia, Renell Shaw and Rod Young reminded me of that. #AChangeIsGonnaCome

@jojcast
What a night! Jazz, folk, afrobeat, hip hop, soul & more... @speechdebelle
@CarleenAnderson @NikkiPianoYeoh & @nubya_garcia at @BtnDome absolutely killed it - fantastic musicians & people

Image credit: Dan Shelley 


14 May 18

Inspiration playlist by Carleen Anderson

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Carleen Anderson has put together a playlist representing her inspiration for A Change is Gonna Come project. Some of these tracks will feature in the live shows 21 - 29 May. The playlist features John Coltrane, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and more. Listen here 


12 May 18

Inspiration Playlist by Renell Shaw

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Bass player Renell Shaw has put together a playlist representing his inspiration for A Change is Gonna Come project. The playlist features Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, Femi Kuti, Mos Def, Erykah Badu and more. 

Listen here: A Change is Gonna Come (No Change without Disturbance)


11 May 18

Blog: Music, as ever, can be, and is, a mighty tool

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Carleen Anderson - The Importance of Artists Expressing Activism in their Work

A tremendous spark ignited within me when the Sound UK Arts curators, Polly Eldridge and Maija Handover, inquired of my interest in participating in a music project addressing social and political inequalities.

Although the torch of artists expressing activism has stayed lit throughout the generations, the superficial economic shift in society’s landscape has dimmed its light.

The shouts of ‘No Justice, No Peace’ are countered these days with ‘But there was a Black U.S. American President’, and, ‘What about all the Women that are now included on various platforms’, and, ‘Homosexuals can even get legally married now’. As remarkable as these community progressions are, worldwide disenfranchisement remains in abundance.

The acquisition of material gains that even the poor can obtain, such as smartphones, Wi-Fi and the like, distracts the focus in the mainstream of how much levelling of the playing fields is still needed globally. And this is where artists vigorously campaigning to bring about change to a system that feeds off the disadvantaged proves its worth.

Old and new protest songs/poetry to be performed in this program are but a commentary and taste of what is still happening in even the supposedly more enlightened countries on earth. Sanctioned murders of certain types of people, politicians advocating hate in their speeches, organised chaos to benefit only the few whilst the majority, mislabelled as the minority, are unjustly assigned lives of despair.

Modern civil rights campaigns carry an ongoing disparity between the anxiousness in the young and left-out that’s imbalanced against the measured strategy of the older and privileged ones which continues the rope pull amongst even those championing the same cause. Add to that, in our futuristic environment, the element of anger that can escalate into pandemonium much quicker than ever before.

False rumours routinely spread faster than the reality that has time to take hold. Art, especially music, can be a band-aid, that plaster to keep things from erupting into immediate bedlam. What might have taken hours or days to develop into mayhem in times of yore, is now only a finger-tap away from causing cataclysm within a heartbeat.

Artists, even at the risk of commercial career damage, are paramount in every culture to organise themselves to draw attention to widespread injustices. In doing so, this can galvanize people to change our outdated and unfair pandemic practices. Music, as ever, can be, and is, a mighty tool to show how we are far more the same, than we are different.

A Change is Gonna Come - Music for Human Rights
21 - 29 May, London, Brighton, Birmingham 
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10 May 18

A Change is Gonna Come trailer now live!

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02 May 18

Inspiration playlist by Rod Youngs

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Drummer Rod Youngs who has played with Gil Scott Heron, Hugh Masekela, Courtney Pine and Jocelyn Brown, amongst others has put together a playlist representing his inspiration for A Change is Gonna Come project. The playlist features James Brown, Gil Scott-Heron, Public Enemy, Billie Holiday and more. Listen here


25 Apr 18

Blog: Kevin Le Gendre on protest music

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Oh, yes it will.

A Change Is Gonna Come is a timeless melody with one of the great opening lines in pop. It evokes the river, symbol of Mother Earth’s riches, that does not stop running, just like the disenfranchised, those born ‘in a little tent’ on its banks, who look forward to the dawning of a new day, or, more specifically, a brighter tomorrow.

When Sam Cooke wrote the song in 1964 the right to vote for people of colour in America, still commonly referred to as Negroes, was yet to be granted. Dr. Martin Luther King jnr, had delivered his landmark I Have A Dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, the previous year. Both men were slain at a young age, at crucial junctures in the Civil Rights movement, but their bold statements have still retained an inspiring permanence that outweighs the transience of their precious lives.

Protest music is a term that can be applied to all manner of genres, from soul and jazz to folk and rock, but the defining feature of any work that might be deemed the sound of resistance is its awareness of the all-consuming nature of struggle and desire to stay the course, all the way to King’s ‘mountain top’, the promised land of equality.

Which is something that can also be identified in many different areas of art other than music. Song and speech, melody and oratory have long been entwined in African and black Diasporan culture. If musicians such as Cooke and religious leaders like King, the archetype of a preacher who often became singer when he performed a sermon, stood bravely in the vanguard of the war on oppression, cruelty, poverty and the presumed superiority of one race or class over another, then writers and poets were no less remarkable. For example, Langston Hughes was a monumental figure of the ‘30s Harlem Renaissance who saw the literary value of the blues as well as the dignity, beauty and humour of the second-class citizens of ‘the Colored Section.’ His What Happens To A Dream Deferred? is one of the great flights of rhetoric in modern literature, an urgent summary of what the downtrodden feel that is lifted up by the threat of what they can do, as the verse comes to ‘explode’ in its graphic finale.

The prospect of hearing Carleen Anderson, Speech Debelle, Nikki Yeoh, Nubya Garcia, Rod Youngs and Renell Shaw put their own spin on these and other iconic works by such as John Coltrane, Woody Guthrie, Nina Simone and Odetta, in A Change Is Gonna 'Come, is cause for celebration. They will also play their original compositions that remind us of their firm commitment to making music that duly addresses the subject of injustice. Anderson’s recent Cage Street Memorial project was a dazzling evocation of the unbreakable bedrock of the black family set against the backdrop of ‘Freedom marches’ in America as well as Anderson’s own path as artist and mother in Britain.

Creating continuums between one generation and the next, cementing the links of community while smashing the chains of slavery and the shackles of segregation has always been a priority for these exponents of protest music. The recognition of elders who made sacrifices for youngers and fought valiantly for equality on either side of the Atlantic - potently epitomized by Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Claudia Jones and Marcus Garvey - galvanizes countless melodies written against the abuse of power. Acts of remembrance thankfully counter those who would seek to deny real history.

In the church, one of the essential safe havens for the wretched of the ‘New world’, and the concert hall or nightclub, those arenas of popular music where a message can reach the masses by way of a golden horn or black vinyl, any songs that give people the precious commodity of hope are an integral part of the human condition. They are an earthly token of the sweet chariot swinging low from heaven. They instill courage in the most extreme circumstances, be it the sight of a Klansmen’s pointed hood or a policeman’s billy club. Amazing Grace is both weapon and anthem. As activists said when they were faced with state sponsored violence; ‘If in doubt pray… and sing.’

The tone of protest music can vary enormously from one artist to the next. However there is a recurrent theme in the seminal entries of the canon: the look to the future, the peremptory affirmation of what will, rather than might come to pass. It is as much in Gil Scott Scott-Heron’s stark warning that The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as it is Sam Cooke’s soothing promise that A Change Is Gonna Come. Oh yes, it will.

- Kevin Le Gendre, broadcaster, writer and journalist whose book Don’t Stop The Carnival – Black Music In Britain (The Peepal Press) is published on 24 May.
@k_le_gendre


14 Feb 18

New project announcement! A Change Is Gonna Come

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carleen anderson news article image

We are delighted to announce A Change Is Gonna Come - Music for Human Rights, which sees four of the most gifted soul, jazz and hip hop artists explore the power of protest songs in this not to be missed collaboration. Leading an incredible sextet are supremely talented queens of their trade: the soulful Carleen Anderson, jazz virtuosos Nikki Yeoh and Nubya Garcia and Mercury Prize-Winning rapper Speech Debelle.

This special concert also features powerful new compositions by Anderson and Yeoh highlighting the ongoing fight for equal human rights. The band also includes awesome talents bassist Renell Shaw and drummer Rod Youngs.

Touring May 2018 

TICKETS


07 Feb 18

Video game soundtracks performed live and loud by a 40-piece orchestra

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play news article

We are thrilled to be working with The British Paraorchestra on their PLAY! project.

Dust off your SNESs, N64s and boot up your PlayStations as Charles Hazlewood takes us on a musical adventure into some of the gaming world’s most memorable soundtracks.

18 March, Barbican Centre, LONDON
20 March, Leeds Town Hall, LEEDS
BOOK NOW

In association with Sound UK


24 Jan 18

Sound and light magically transforms Prior Park

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15 Jan 18

Alight! delights visitors in Bath

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through me flows water

lysarp

apparition alight

droplets

piano migrations alight

music box migrations alight

luminous birds alight

Image credits:
1) Through Me Flows Water, Wayne Binitie. Credit Joshua Gaunt 
2) Lys*arp, Ulf Pedersen. Credit Joshua Gaunt
3) Apparition, Ulf Pedersen. Credit Joshua Gaunt
4) Droplets, Ulf Pedersen. Credit Joshue Gaunt
5) Piano Migrations, Kathy Hinde. Credit Kathy Hinde 
6) Music Box Migrations, Kathy Hinde. Credit Kathy Hinde
7) Luminous Birds, Kathy Hinde. Credit Joshua Gaunt 


11 Dec 17

Sell out success for Alight!

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luminous birds kathy hide news pic

Tickets have literally flown out for Alight! our new festive sound and light experience in Bath.

We can't wait to open gates to Prior Park Landscape Garden after-dark for visitors to enjoy beautiful lit artworks inspired by nature. There's the chance to discover illuminated birds, mysterious musical boxes, atmospheric ice vapour, a ghostly fish and more.

What to wear: If you are joining us this week, please dress for the weather, and wear sturdy footwear.

Getting there: The #2 bus provides a regular service from Bath bus and train station to Prior Park Landscape Garden (last few services on Sunday will stop by the entrance at 6.51, 7.21 and 7.51pm). Alternatively, it is a steep 1 mile walk from Bath Spa train station. Please note there is no parking.

Tickets are for a timed entry, please refer to your ticket confirmation.

15 - 17 December 2017
Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath


27 Nov 17

Meet Alight! Artist Ulf Pedersen

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ulf droplets news image

Visitors to venues that Ulf works with find themselves immersed in an amazing play of light and colour, as the space changes into something unique and magical. Often architectural in scale Ulf’s work transforms the act of looking into a physical experience.

In addition to working closely with the raw materials of the site, Ulf use light and colour as his essential tools, often combining these natural or artificial elements with the new architectural forms he has designed. His work exploits both hi and lo-fi technologies and aims to highlight the poetic potential of place.

He has shown his work at Arts Festivals in Sydney, Hong Kong, Hobart & Wellington, as well as at national attractions including Kew Gardens and historic properties.

“Mind-blowingly brilliant. An unforgettably beautiful and resonant experience” — George Monbiot, journalist, on For The Birds

ulfpedersen.com

Image credit: Droplets, Ulf Pedersen


22 Nov 17

Keld: Freshwater Songs project film now live!

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20 Nov 17

Meet audio-visual artist Wayne Binitie

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ice wayne finite

Currently undertaking his PhD at Royal College of Art, Binitie’s work explores the perception of glacial water through audio-visual art. He creates immersive soundscapes and installations which transform field recordings made at the British Antarctic Survey ice core archive, to reveal the significant role of glacial water within the wider global climate change challenge.

Through Me Flows Water, his new work created for Alight!, rethinks the landscape and water features of Prior Park, inviting audiences to experience the transformation of water in its three states of solid, liquid and vapour. The installation is anchored by the use of his own audio-visual field recordings made at the British Antarctic Survey ice core archive.

Wayne has participated in conferences, publications and exhibitions at the national and international level including Atmospheres, Denmark; Largo Sguardo, Rome, S:Future, London and as part of the Friday Late series at the V&A.

waynebinitie.com

 

Image credit: Wayne Binitie 


13 Nov 17

Discover more about our extraordinary Alight! artists

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piano migrations kathy hide news pic

luminous birds kathy hide news pic

KATHY HINDE audio-visual artist — inspired by behaviours and phenomena found in nature and the everyday — working with sound, light, image, sculpture, location.

Drawing on inspiration from behaviours and phenomena found in the natural world, Kathy creates work that is generative; that evolves; that can be different each time it is experienced.

Kathy frequently works in collaboration with other practitioners and scientists and often actively involves the audience in the creative process. She has created light and sound installations in public spaces, including urban streets, woodlands and forests.

She has shown work extensively across Europe, China, Pakistan, USA, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand. She became a Cryptic associate in 2015. Kathy received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2015 for Tipping Point and Piano Migrations was runner up for the Sonic Arts Award 2014 and listed for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2014. Kathy received an Oram Award in 2017 for innovations in sound and music.

“There is something poignant about the delicacy of Hinde’s flock of origami birds… Lights rush in perfect harmony with the wash of sound creating a unified sensorial experience.”
The Times **** on Luminous Birds

kathyhinde.co.uk / @birdtwitchr

Image credits: 1) Piano Migrations, 2) Luminous Birds


06 Nov 17

Sound UK Emerging Artist Award 2017 announced!

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wayne binitie

Congratulations to Wayne Binitie on receiving Sound UK Arts’, Alight! Emerging Artist Award 2017!

Wayne Binitie - Through Me Flows Water

Currently undertaking his PhD at Royal College of Art, Wayne Binitie’s work explores the perception of glacial water through audio-visual art. Wayne has participated in conferences, publications and exhibitions at the national and international level including Atmospheres, Denmark; Largo Sguardo, Rome and S:Future, London.

Through Me Flows Water rethinks the landscape and water features of Prior Park, inviting audiences to experience the transformation of water in its three states of solid, liquid and vapour. The installation is anchored by the use of his own audio-visual field recordings made at the British Antarctic Survey ice core archive. Through Me Flows Water will be presented alongside work by Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen as part of Alight! 

Find out more about Wayne here: waynebinitie.com

Book tickets for Alight! here

Image credit: Wayne Binitie


30 Oct 17

Public acclaim for KELD

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news image keld

We loved touring KELD: Freshwater Songs with Kerry Andrew and her band You Are Wolf. We took the project to a Cornish town hall, a church in Devon, a community centre in London and a village hall in Wiltshire. You Are Wolf performed a new set of songs inspired by freshwater stories and folklore from the tour locations. Local music students, dancers and a local poet were also part of the live performance. Look out for our project film coming soon. In the meantime read some of our brilliant audience comments below: 

"Fabulous, fresh, innovative."

"Beautiful & wonderful. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was amazing!"

"It was really exciting to have contemporary art happening in the village (!) and to be able to attend an event like this locally, relating to our own environment."

"Amazing and inspirational."

"It is a wonderful model for an event. Beautiful sound quality. Innovative, fresh, sparky, edgy." 


02 Oct 17

KELD trailer now live!

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Touring 18 - 21 October
Cornwall, Devon, Barking in London and Wiltshire
Book Now


27 Sep 17

KELD picture gallery

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devon swimmers

devon for blog

cornwall arthur

cornwall poet

pasty

Cornish tortoise

kerry and flags barking

boat barking

school barking

r and d holt image for blog

holt image for blog


25 Sep 17

Blog by Kerry Andrew

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r and d holt image for blog

By Kerry Andrew 

This month I have visited all of the areas we’re coming to on the tour. It’s been lovely to get a feel for each place, learn about the water there and most importantly meet people! I recorded people telling me about the local water and have been making texts out of them.

She said, ‘swim between the rocks.’
I said ‘you can’t do that, it’s far too dangerous.’
And she said ‘no, you go in with the tide,
and you just keep going.
You go up up up up
and you go down down down down.’

And it was lovely.

We started in North Devon, just at the bottom of Exmoor, on a very rainy day. I met the local teenage musicians who will be writing songs with their ex-teachers Carol and Sam, and we had fun making new loops and speedily arranging a version of a traditional tune, As Sylvie Was Walking, which I loved hearing sung by a great female pop voice!

Highlights of this visit were the excellently hearty grub in North Molton’s pub, and the all-female trip to Sherdon, in the moors. Sadly, the formal communal swim had been cancelled, as incessant rain had made the river swell a little dangerously. However, especially hardy locals Anya and Lucy stripped off, and I have a competitive streak when it comes to getting in water, so had to join them, wading through the fierce brown water, past a spiky gorse bush or three, to get in via a rock ledge. The water was, of course, freezing, pretty fast-flowing, taking us through a jagged wire dam and back into the main pool. It started raining heavily, which made everything more hilarious. You always feel brilliant after a swim, though, and I glowed in the back seat of Polly’s car whilst we steamed it up.

My own experience of the river was as a child.
We would have a lot of fun.
There was a nice deep area Bath’s Field off Under Lane
so we had our own swimming pool during the war.
You got a jam jar and a bit of string
and you’d go catching tiddlers.
It was a lovely restful time.
The water was an important part of your life.
We used to have some smashing fun.

The weather brightened for our trip just over the border to Launceston in Cornwall, where a whole host of meetings had been set up for me following the morning’s secondary school workshop. Octogenarian and local history expert Arthur filled me in on the history of the river and told me about his ‘dear friend’, the local poet Charles Causley. Jane read me some Causley in the old abbey ruins. The town crier, who’d been roped in for one day in the 1970s and ended up staying for 40 years, read me some more on the old bridge over St Thomas Water before the local nursery kids turned up to feed oats to the ducks. Two sisters who do regular long-distance sea-swims came to chat and one gave me recordings she’d made that morning of the stream at the bottom of the garden. I’m planning to use recordings of local water in each concert. She sings in the local choir, who hopefully will sing with us when we come back!

The river was rather too shallow to swim in, so some of us waded in up to our knees, watching our toes go blue. We checked out the Town Hall where we’ll be performing, and met a man and his tortoise, Zola, in the castle grounds. Most importantly of all, I ate a Cornish pasty.

Marshy silt on the edge of the river.
We get the most amazing big sky here.
The A13.
The Ford factory.
Pylons.

To Barking! For this trip, we joined the Silk River walk, which stretched over about 10 days from the Thames out to sea, in a large artistic and community exchange with a town in India. Locals came to hold massive community-made silk banners and walk along the River Roding.

We had a bit of historical information from a chap in the 11th-century St Margaret’s Church before we went, and watched two of the banners float down on a raft past the barges. I loved chatting to Johnny, a local barge-owner and the heart of the river community, who was joined by his gorgeous dog Millie.

In the afternoon, we worked with Year 7-9s at the local secondary school, who were a mad, fun bunch with body percussion rhythms up their sleeves. I’m really looking forward to seeing what all the schools come up with for their own water-inspired songs, which they’ll be performing as my support act in each venue.

It makes me feel alive. Simple as.
Nothing else matters.
I use it as a psychological tool:
if I can do this, I can do anything,
so I make myself do it.
I get a real buzz.

The village of Holt in Wiltshire was our last stop, a very cute village with a really swanky café/business centre, the Glove Factory, at its heart. I worked with the Year 6s at the primary school, getting them to beatbox and make up riffs, before we had a walk to find some river sounds. This meant semi-trespassing over fields to a noisy weir, and getting over my fear of cows on the way back.

We met Cat and her dog Molly for an exclusive early-evening swim in the Glove Factory’s amazing members’ pond. Soft grass, milky clay, and subdued blue-green water. If I lived here, I’d be there every day. Cat was a brilliant, vivacious personality and talked happily about the effects of the water. Polly’s hands went alarmingly blue and I took about three hours to thoroughly warm up, but it was worth it.

It always is.


25 Sep 17

Freshwater Playlist

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playlist image for blog

With the #keld tour happening in a few weeks, we asked Kerry Andrew (You Are Wolf) to put together a playlist inspired by freshwater. Her selection features Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Audrey Hepburn, M.I.A, Nick Drake, Sons Of Kemet plus many more. 

Enjoy listening here

If you have any of your own freshwater favourite songs tweet us at @soundukarts

Catch You Are Wolf on tour in Cornwall, Devon, Barking and Wiltshire this October. Full details here


18 Sep 17

Listen Again: Irma on BBC Radio 3

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Tom Phillips in his studio

Tom Phillips and Netia Jones on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters.

Listen again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09569t7

The artist Tom Phillips is a true creative polymath - a painter, gallery curator, singer, quilter, opera composer, set designer and much more. His seminal 1969 opera Irma is all sourced from passages in 'A Humament' - his life's work - and is largely left to the performers to interpret it however they choose. He talks to Tom at his home in Peckham about how he wrote his 'chance opera' and how to decipher the clues found within the libretto. Plus Tom talks to the acclaimed opera director Netia Jones, who is about to stage it in Peckham, about how to start piecing together the puzzle of the opera.


06 Sep 17

The Wire preview Tom Phillips Irma: an opera

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wire preview


01 Sep 17

Irma performances: Sold Out

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Irma score for news article

Irma intermedia artwork performances have now sold out. Don't miss out on the daytime installation bringing Phillips’ intricate visual score to life through an evocative combination of soundscape and video. This exciting weekend of events celebrates Philips’ extraordinary artistic output in art and music in his 80th year.

Irma installation
16, 17 Sept
11am - 6pm
South London Gallery 
Free


30 Aug 17

Discover more about Tom Phillips RA

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About Tom Phillips: Phillips attended art school during the 1960s and was swept up in the free exchange of art forms these institutions encouraged. He was instrumental in bringing composers like John Cage and Morton Feldman to the UK, and introducing Brian Eno to cross-art work. To name just a few of his artistic achievements, Tom Phillips was the second artist to have a retrospective of his portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in 1989 and was commissioned by the Royal Mint to design the first UK kilo coins to mark the occasion of the London 2012 Olympic Games. His design for the Benjamin Britten 50p piece in 2013 was the first to feature poetry. Phillips is also a judge for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

In 1966 Phillips resolved to dedicate himself to making art out of the first secondhand book he could find for threepence on Peckham Rye. Thus began A Humument, longest of Phillips's extended serial projects. A Humument is a radical 'treatment' of a forgotten Victorian novel by means of collage, cut-up, ornament and other techniques. On the fiftieth anniversary of its inception, in 2016, Phillips completed the sixth and final version of this work – each version with successively more pages reworked, until his original work had itself been completely transformed. Watch the video...

tomphillips.co.uk

News image credit: Tom Phillips, Bellenden Renewal Scheme, Rima Street Lamps, We Love Peckham mosaic


29 Aug 17

Irma: Creative Team

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Irma mouth

Irma: an opera
Director / Designer - Netia Jones
Music Director / Sound Design - Anton Lukoszevieze

About Netia Jones / Lightmap:
led by director and video artist Netia Jones, Lightmap is a critically acclaimed creative and technical studio working internationally in live performance, music, film and installation projects. Jones recently directed / designed for a new production of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Aldeburgh Festival 2017. Other projects include works by Georg Haas and György Kurtág at the Royal Opera House, Alice in Wonderland by Unsuk Chin and Where the Wild Things Are by Oliver Knussen at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Barbican. Site-specific installations include Curlew River for Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival and the Barbican, London and Everlasting Light, a large-scale installation at Sizewell nuclear power station for Aldeburgh Festival. netiajones.com

"Sharply conceived technology, remarkable depth and invention...dazzling" - The Independent on LIGHTMAP

About Anton Lukoszevieze / Apartment House:
Apartment House was created by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze in 1995. Under his direction it has become an award winning exponent of avant-garde and experimental music from around the world. Their performances have included many UK and world premieres of music by a wide variety of composers. Notable portrait events have featured composers Jennifer Walshe, Luc Ferrari, Laurence Crane and Richard Ayres to name just a few. They are a regular feature on the European music scene and have ventured as far as Australia, Russia and USA. In 2012 they received a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chamber Music. They were the featured ensemble for the 2016 London Contemporary Music Festival, performing works by Julius Eastman, Frederic Rzewski and the UK Premiere of Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning. apartmenthouse.co.uk

"Apartment House’s [performance of] Femenine [...] hit the audience with an almost overwhelming force" - The Spectator

 


16 Aug 17

Irma: full cast announced!

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irma score news article

We are delighted to announce the Irma cast who will be working alongside director / designer Netia Jones, music director Anton Lukoszevieze and Apartment House as:

Grenville - Benjamin O'Mahony  

London born actor currently filming 'STRIKE BACK' for Sky1/HBO Cinemax & 'ONCE LOVED' for Warner Bros/Sky1. Currently appearing as a season regular in 'RIPPER STREET' on BBC 2/Amazon & 'KAJAKI: KILO TWO BRAVO' (BAFTA Nominee) on Netflix/BBCiPlayer.

Irma - Josephine Stephenson

Josephine Stephenson is a Franco-British composer and performer based in London. As a soprano, she regularly performs with groups such as EXAUDI, Tenebrae, The Erebus Ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, The Erebus Ensemble, Philharmonia Voices and Britten Sinfonia Voices.

Nurse - Elaine Mitchener
Elaine Mitchener is an experimental vocalist and movement artist whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary composition, sound art, music theatre, physical theatre and performance art. She has performed at Venice Biennale, White Cube, London Contemporary Music Festival, Café Oto and ICA, London.

Chorus - Alastair Putt

Alastair Putt has a particular interest in performing new music, and sings regularly with the BBC Singers, EXAUDI and Synergy Vocals, alongside being a member of the choir of St Margaret's, Westminster.

Chorus - Francis Brett

Increasingly well known in the field of contemporary music, Francis sings regularly with the vocal ensemble EXAUDI with whom he has given numerous world and UK premieres, their Proms debut and many recordings. 

Chorus - Jon Stainsby

While working with several of Europe's foremost vocal ensembles, including the Choir of the Academy of Ancient Music, Dunedin Consort plus many more, he has appeared as a soloist at Wigmore Hall and the Barbican. Jon has extensive experience in the field of contemporary music and has had numerous appearances with EXAUDI.

Find out more about Irma: an opera here


16 Aug 17

New project announcement!

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held new image

KELD: Freshwater Songs
By You Are Wolf

Kerry Andrew – vocals, electronics / Sam Hall – bass guitar, cello / Peter Ashwell – percussion

18 - 21 October 2017

Keld - an old northern English word meaning 'the deep, still, smooth part of a river'

We are very excited to be working with award-winning singer and composer Kerry Andrew for our latest project, combining Kerry's passion for wild swimming with a love of gathering songs. Keld seeks out lesser known traditional songs, alongside myths and folklore from rural and urban locations, to inspire new material played by her trio You Are Wolf.

'Imagine Bjork working her magic on the English folk scene' – Uncut

Book tickets


14 Aug 17

Drop Pipes

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DROP PIPES: The Drop Pipes are designed to be used as part of a larger structure such as the cladding around a treehouse. They are played by dropping/throwing down the pipes onto a rubber seal which creates a wave of sound. An alternative way to play this instrument is by lifting the pipe off the seal and using the flat of your hand on the top hollow.

Part of Sounding the Wood.


14 Aug 17

Tom Phillips talks to The Guardian ahead of Irma next month

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Tom Phillips in his studio

'He’s now in his 80s but the man who painted Beckett, illustrated Hell and made art out of beard trimmings, is still fired up. As his half-backwards opera Irma returns, we join the great experimentalist for a boozy lunch of artisanal bubble and squeak.'

Read the full interview here: bit.ly/2vu9SaQ


07 Aug 17

The Making of Irma

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Irma mouth

Delve more deeply into this unique artwork: https://opusxiib.com 


07 Aug 17

Tongue Drums

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The Tongue Drum is one of the oldest instruments in human history, the drum is of Aztec origin. Early Tongue Drums were made of hollowed trees which were hit with sticks to create percussion tones. The Tongue Drum was used for storytelling and as a "battle cry" instrument in warfare in early African history.

Part of Sounding the Wood.


02 Aug 17

A pop up musical playground

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tongue drum bottom gallery

speaking stumps bottom gallery

hollow pipes bottom image gallery

The instruments that you will find in the woods are the result of a research and development project for TouchWood Play in collaboration with Sound UK and The National Trust - TouchWood are a Bristol based playground design and build company.
The instruments in Sounding the Wood respond to the beautiful natural environment of Prior Park using natural and local materials. 

Discover more about Sounding the Wood.



20 Jul 17

Emerging Artist commission opportunity

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piano migrations kathy hinde

ALIGHT!
Emerging Artist - commission opportunity

Sound UK is offering a new commission opportunity for an emerging artist to create two exciting new pieces of work to be exhibited alongside highly experienced, pioneering artists Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen in a major public event at National Trust’s Prior Park from 15 – 17 December 2017.

A landscaped garden in the style of Capability Brown, Prior Park in Bath provides an inspiring manifestation of man’s interaction with nature.

Sound UK is looking for early stage artists that can create new works in the mediums of sound, light or projection that explore this context in a compelling and innovative way.

The award package will include support in the creation of new works, advice and support on developing their career and artistic practice as well as press and marketing coverage and an opportunity to show their work to national producers of outdoor work.

The brief: The artistic brief is to create an imaginative and high quality piece of work using sound, light or projection for an outdoor setting within budget. The artist will be asked to take nature and the landscape as the inspiration following the Trusts maxim, of ‘A Sense of Place’ and to create work that is accessible for a wide age range. They will have the opportunity to also spend time with Hinde and Pedersen to benefit from their experience and skills to ensure an effective, well designed, innovative piece and will need to be available for site visits, meetings with the producers, National Trust, funders and press.

The Award: The award of £1500 will include: the opportunity to exhibit two pieces of innovative art at a public event, the opportunity to work in an inspiring National Trust property, professional production support, extensive marketing and press for the event, showcase opportunity for artist and work to be seen by other promoters of outdoor work.
Selection Criteria and requirements: Applicants will have exhibited work in a professional setting at least 3 times in the last two years.

To apply please submit by post or email by 15 August 2017:
- examples (photographs, publicity material) of at least three pieces of work exhibited professionally
- two references from previous commissioner / exhibition producer
- a one page outline of proposed artistic idea
- 3 key objectives for professional development

Application assessment: The applicants will be reviewed by Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen, Sound UK, and members of the Prior Park team.

Production of work: The Fresh Sparks will meet with Alight’s production personnel to work through any technical challenges in installing it and will be assigned their own production manager to install their work during the set up in Prior Park the week before Alight!

Email applications should be addressed to polly@sounduk.net, postal applications to Polly Eldridge, 22 Stanley Avenue, Bristol, BS7 9AH

Information on Alight! artists:
Ulf Pedersen Through a kind of light-based alchemy, Pedersen’s work transforms outdoor spaces into something magical. Working with the raw materials of the site, he also uses light and colour as essential tools. His practice exploits hi and lo-fi technologies and highlights the poetic potential of place. He has shown his work at Arts Festivals in Sydney, Hong Kong, Hobart & Wellington, as well as at national attractions including Kew Gardens and historic properties. Ulf delivers presentations and professional development workshops in conjunction with shows, most recently as part of Spectra in Aberdeen.

Kathy Hinde Kathy Hinde’s work grows from a partnership between nature and technology expressed through installations and performances that combine sound, sculpture, image and light. She has created work in public spaces, including town high streets and nature reserves across Europe, Scandinavia, China, Pakistan, USA, Colombia, Brazil and New Zealand.
Hinde has given presentations at events such as KIKK festival 2016; NESTA FutureFest 2013; TED Global Edinburgh 2012; TEDxAldeburgh 2011 (https://youtu.be/2jtFXfl2_l8). She is regularly invited to speak and run workshops at various institutions including Goldsmiths University, Bath Spa University, Brunel University, and Prague Academy of Performing Arts. Kathy Hinde previously led the Sound strand on the ‘SISE’ (Sound Image and Sensory Experience) Module at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

The connection of both artists’ works to nature and site, together with their teaching experience make them the perfect choice as mentors for this project.

Information on Sound UK: Sound UK Arts (Sound UK) is producer of new music and sound projects. Since it was founded in 2001 it has delivered a large number of new commissions and collaborations including new music tours, commissions for rural communities, museum installations and digital art projects.

At the heart of Sound UK’s work is a passion to provide new opportunities and a supportive context for artists creating imaginative high quality work which extends their practise and presents engaging experiences for audiences. It uses its projects to offer artists professional development through new commissions and collaborations, often working with partners to give artists contexts and ideas that push the boundaries of their work to present extraordinary art in unexpected places.
Sound UK is fascinated by how artists respond to conceptual, social or environmental provocations to their work and has worked with the National Trust, Somerset House, Horniman Museum, Opera North, Barbican and others to create high profile, innovative projects.

“Sound UK has given me the opportunity to collaborate with musicians I’ve not worked with before and venues I’ve not played in. A very rich and enhancing venture both creatively and in terms of my future career.” Lisa Knapp, singer (on Broadside Ballads and Canal Music)

“The installation was perfection. I’ve done many more elaborate ones in the past 40 years. But this, for its utter simplicity and powerful delivery in a dedicated space, is amongst the best. Congrats on all you’ve done. It’s really quite exceptional.” Bernie Krause (on Great Animal Orchestra at the Horniman Museum)

Find out more about Sound UK’s work by exploring the website


18 Jul 17

Shop: Limited Edition Tom Phillips print

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irma print for sale image 3

Irma: Our Lamplit History

Year: 2017
Medium: Digital print with silkscreen
Dimensions: h28.4cm x w21cm
Edition Details: Edition of 50 
All prints are sent signed and numbered by the artist

£ 360 VAT, postage and handling included

A unique print created by Tom Phillips in support of the first performance and installation of the new, full Irma score at South London Gallery, September 2017, directed / designed by Netia Jones, musical direction Anton Lukoszevieze, performed by Apartment House featuring Josephine Stephenson and Elaine Mitchener with video by Lightmap. 

Find out more about Irma: an opera here


05 Jul 17

Crowdfund update

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Irma mouth

Thank you very much to those who supported Irma: an opera. We raised over £2000 pounds!

Thank you for all donations and to the following people who chose a reward: Tansy Spinks, Alex Handover, Trish Brown, Henry Meyrichughes, John L. Walters, Patrick Wildgust, Robert Caunt, Joel Hernandez, plus all anonymous donations. 

The donations will help towards rehearsal costs and the creation of the video for this extraordinary artwork. We look forward to celebrating the artistic output of Tom Phillips and his 80th birthday in his home of Peckham this September.

If you haven’t yet bought tickets to the performances you can do so by visiting our web page: http://www.sounduk.net/events/tom-phillips/.

The performances take place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September from 7.30pm at South London Gallery. During the day the installation (free admission) brings Phillips’ intricate visual score to life through an evocative combination of soundscape and video.

We look forward to seeing you there.

With best wishes,
Maija, Polly & Chloe


28 Jun 17

Sounding the Wood install

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jono and drum

drop pipes

talking stump

sounding the wood sign

On Tuesday 27 June we installed a pop up musical playground at Prior Park Landscape Garden. Sounding the Wood, made by TouchWood, is part of Forest of the Imagination this weekend. A four-day playful and contemporary arts event and creative learning programme - free for everyone of all ages.


Check out www.forestofimagination.org.uk for full programme of events from 29 June - 2 July. 

Sounding the Wood will be installed at Prior Park Landscape Garden until December.
Find out more

The photos show a taster of some of the instruments we've installed.


19 Jun 17

Making of Sounding the Wood

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touch wood drawings

bamboo touchwood

carrying bamboo

holes touchwood

posts resized

trunk touchwood

Next week we launch our musical playground project Sounding the Wood produced by Sound UK and TouchWood in partnership with the National Trust at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath. Our musical playground will also feature as part of Forest of the Imagination festival. Watch this space for more information coming soon... 

Photos by TouchWood, Making of Sounding the Wood...


08 Jun 17

Tom Phillips RA

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About Tom Phillips: Phillips attended art school during the 1960s and was swept up in the free exchange of art forms these institutions encouraged. He was instrumental in bringing composers like John Cage and Morton Feldman to the UK, and introducing Brian Eno to cross-art work. To name just a few of his artistic achievements, Tom Phillips was the second artist to have a retrospective of his portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in 1989 and was commissioned by the Royal Mint to design the first UK kilo coins to mark the occasion of the London 2012 Olympic Games. His design for the Benjamin Britten 50p piece in 2013 was the first to feature poetry. Phillips is also a judge for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

In 1966 Phillips resolved to dedicate himself to making art out of the first secondhand book he could find for threepence on Peckham Rye. Thus began A Humument, longest of Phillips's extended serial projects. A Humument is a radical 'treatment' of a forgotten Victorian novel by means of collage, cut-up, ornament and other techniques. On the fiftieth anniversary of its inception, in 2016, Phillips completed the sixth and final version of this work – each version with successively more pages reworked, until his original work had itself been completely transformed. Watch the video... 

Our project Irma: an opera is drawn from A Humument. Be part of Irma and support our crowdfunder campaign. Check out the unique rewards including a limited edition Tom Phillips print. Support now. Thank you! www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tom-phillips-irma

tomphillips.co.uk

An exhibition of Tom Phillips' work Connected Works runs at Flowers Gallery from 26 May – 1 July 2017.

News image credit: Tom Phillips, Bellenden Renewal Scheme, Rima Street Lamps, We Love Peckham mosaic


24 May 17

We have just launched our first crowdfunder campaign!

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We have just launched our first crowdfunder campaign!

Help us create a unique artwork that marks Tom Phillips RA’s 80th birthday and celebrates his extraordinary output in art and music.

We need your support to produce the first multimedia production of Royal Academy artist Tom Phillips’ Irma: an opera, happening in his home of Peckham this September.

Set within the South London Gallery, where Phillips first showed his work as a student, Irma is inspired by his most famous artwork A Humument. This exquisite miniature opera and audio visual installation brings together one of the UK’s most imaginative opera designer / directors Netia Jones and her company Lightmap, with music director Anton Lukoszevieze and his leading ensemble Apartment House.

YOU can play a key role in Phillips’ new artwork. We need to raise £5,000 to help pay for rehearsals and the creation of the video for this unique artwork.

To thank you for your invaluable support, we have put together a selection of unique rewards based on Irma characters, including an exclusive limited edition print created by Tom Phillips and mementos of his work.

To support or choose a reward visit:
www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tom-phillips-irma


18 May 17

New project announcement

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Events

Project image Irma

TOM PHILLIPS
Irma: an opera

Ahead of Royal Academy artist Tom Phillips’ 80th birthday next week, Sound UK is delighted to announce the first multimedia performance of Irma: an opera at South London Gallery.

This landmark event in Phillips’ home of Peckham, brings together world-class director and designer Netia Jones, and her company Lightmap, with Anton Lukoszevieze, and his acclaimed ensemble Apartment House. Together they will celebrate one of Britain’s most distinguished artists, recognising Phillips’ work as a composer and wider influence on the world of music.

16, 17 September
South London Gallery
Find out more


04 May 17

SONIC JOURNEY Hull2017

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Discover the Sonic Journey commission from composer Gavin Bryars and poet Blake Morrison available to download again as part of Hull2017 (1 May - 1 July 2017).

Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison
The Stopping Train

Download for free here sonicjourneys.co.uk


20 Apr 17

Sound UK Live

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Photos from Broadside Ballads Oxford show with OCM at Holywell Music Room.

Photo credit: Ian Wallman


20 Apr 17

Review: Quercus at Turner Sims

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Review Jazz Journal: Quercus at Turner Sims - "one of the most compelling concerts I've heard in quite some while"

Read in full: www.jazzjournal.co.uk/jazz-latest-news/1201/

Hear Quercus live in Oxford with OCM at SJE Arts and in London at Kings Place next month! http://www.sounduk.net/events/quercus-uk-tour/


12 Apr 17

The Height of the Reeds

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If you're in Hull head on over to the Humber Bridge for an extraordinary sound adventure. We recommend The Height of the Reeds produced by Opera North for Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

Music by Arve Henriksen on trumpet, guitarist Eivind Aarset and electronic wizard Jan Bang gives way to the vast sound of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North; threaded through with the deep music of the Bridge itself, captured by Hull based sound artist Jez riley French.

Now until – 31 Apr 2017
Tickets: Free, but should be booked in advanced
Find out more

Image credit: Tom Arber


08 Mar 17

Tyondai Braxton on BBC 6 Music

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Tyondai Braxton recently chatted to Stuart Maconie on BBC 6 Music's Freak Zone.

Listen again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08gj672

Tyondai also created a Freakier Zone BBC 6 music playlist. His picks include Ben Vida, Glenn Branca and Kara-Lis Coverdale.

Check it out: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08gj2zc


20 Feb 17

Discover more about broadsides

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Blog post by Dr Meraud Ferguson Hand

The Broadside Ballads Project brings together three contemporary English folk artists, giving them access to the Bodleian’s printed ballad collections, online digital ballad archives, and hands-on experience of past printing techniques. The aim was not to reconstruct ballads as they were originally sung, but to allow the artists to respond to the physical archive, the songs, and the history of how they were made, in whatever ways their own creative interests led them.

What is a ‘broadside ballad’? A broadside is just a single printed sheet of paper: a cheap format because there is no need for folding, collating, or binding. The broadside was used for a variety of purposes: news of strange events, the texts of royal proclamations, and notices of auctions or trials and executions, among other things.

The most well-known use of the format, though, was for ballads. A ballad is a song that tells a story, usually in the form of short four-line verses. They were composed on a range of subjects from love affairs to murder and other extraordinary or historical happenings; they were often accompanied by woodcut illustrations which add their own layer of eccentricity to the overall effect.

Printed ballads were produced from the sixteenth century onwards (though the most recent ballads in the Bodleian collection date from the 1950s). For much of their history they were sold not just by booksellers but on street corners by itinerant peddlers, who travelled the country selling (and singing) the songs. The ballad-seller must have been a familiar character: Autolycus, the ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’ in Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, roams the country in a peddler’s guise picking pockets, cheating the unwary, and cheerfully mixing this with singing snippets of ballads he seems to have picked up along the way.

Ballads seem to have been enjoyed by a broad social range: though they were cheap and non-literary in content, the majority of printed ballads survived because they were collected by relatively wealthy and well-read individuals (Samuel Pepys being the most famous).

Communal singing is an ancient practice; in the past, people would sing at social gatherings, but they would also sing while they worked. Many songs were passed by word of mouth, but it is human nature to be eager for novelty: printing a new song, a new story to sing, made good commercial sense. Though public literacy was increasing, in the early centuries of ballad printing many people would still not have been able to read the ballad themselves: access to them would have been aural, so they were a crossing-place, a permeable border between the printed word and the oral dissemination of traditional songs.

In the 19th century, industrialization changed England’s social fabric beyond recognition and thousands of families migrated from rural areas to find work in the expanding cities. Communities in cities came from dispersed traditions; jobs were found in factories where the din from the machinery made singing redundant. The rhythm of work became the rhythm of the machine, not of the voice.

It seemed that traditional songs were endangered as a result of these changes, so collectors set out to catch them while the traditions were still alive. The social trauma of the industrial revolution meant that these songs, which reminded collectors of a dying pace of life, became somewhat romanticized. Ascribing increased cultural value to these traditions was at the heart of English Romanticism: Wordsworth and Coleridge’s ‘Lyrical Ballads’ (DATE) attempted to rehabilitate the aesthetic of the popular ballad in the eyes of the cultural elite.

The process of collecting added to the mystique: collectors were mostly middle-class, and would have little personal contact with working-class people other than as servants or a distant ‘mob’. Travelling into the depths of the countryside (via the new railway system), seeking out elderly singers in small, smoky inns, was in itself a form of exotic activity, a transgression of middle-class (and urban) social norms.

As a result, traditional songs (christened ‘folk’ songs in the 19th century) gained a touch of mystery, and the opaqueness of some of the phrasing or subject matter encouraged folk-song enthusiasts to look for a deeper, older, pre-industrial wisdom in the material. Collectors were working with what appeared mainly to have been an oral tradition: songs passed down by word of mouth, sometimes over a number of generations. This, too, added to the sense of mystery and exoticism for educated, highly literate people whose schooling had taught them to venerate the oral sources of ancient Greek literary culture. Many ballads, however, turn out to have moved in and out of the printed and oral traditions at various points in their history.

Spending time among the ballads, seeing the broadsides themselves, you almost feel you can hear and touch the world that made them. This almost-ness, the alienation effect of looking into this sometimes forgotten world from a modern perspective can become a fascination in itself. Now that the broadsides are digitised and online, they are freely available to millions more readers: but fewer people than ever will seek out the real thing, and know how they feel to the touch, how papery they smell. 

Broadside Ballads tours 25 Feb - 01 March 


08 Feb 17

Broadside Ballads sneak peek

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Take a sneak peek into the Bodleian Libraries' printing workshop with Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee and Nathaniel Mann as part of the development of Broadside Ballads.

Don't miss their uniquely contemporary take on these songs on tour from 25 February - 1 March.

Book tickets 


18 Jan 17

The Paper Cinema project film

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Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema

We've made a short film about the project and would love for you to watch it. 

Last year, The Paper Cinema brought to life local tales of the supernatural through live film and music. We toured to Devon, Cornwall, Shropshire, Wiltshire and London introducing new audiences to their fascinating and innovative world of witches, ghouls and ghostly apparitions. 


18 Jan 17

Broadside Ballads Artist insight

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Nathaniel Mann

Artist Nathaniel Mann gives us an insight into the Broadside Ballads project research... 

In what's become a bit of a folk tradition in itself, Sam, Lisa and I spent time delving into the Bodleian's ballad archives. Spanning more than 500 years of music and verse, it feels essential that each generation of folk-inspired musicians revisits these sources directly. To re-read a verse 400 years later is to re-write it with through the eyes and ears of today. As we touch, smell and breath-in these sheets we draw fresh meanings from these old pages, reinterpreting and revaluating them as we go. We're not at all interested in attempting to historically recreate these songs, we are excited about how we can make them resonant in completely new ways. – Nathaniel Mann

Touring 25 Feb - 01 March 2017

#broadsides


07 Dec 16

Broadside Ballads special guests announced!

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Seth Bennett

Pete Flood drums

We are very excited to announce Pete Flood (percussion) and Seth Bennett (double bass) and will join Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann on the Broadside Ballads tour. 

Pete Flood is a drummer, percussionist, composer. A member of Bellowhead, he contributed numerous arrangements to their output, and has written for other ensembles ranging from orchestras to jazz trios. Pete also started the Anglo-Japanese project Setsubun Bean Unit which mixed Bon-Odori dance music with electronica and jazz to great acclaim on their one, eponymous release on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental imprint.

'Pete Flood’s arrangements have already long given Bellowhead their left field edge, but here he enters darker territory entirely…hugely entertaining' - FRoots

Seth Bennett is one of the U.K.'s pre-eminent improvising double bass players. Currently based in London, his work involves free improvisation and composition for improvisers. Recent works include En Bas Quartet, a low string quartet for improvisers, plus CD releases by improvising sextet Sloth Racket, the Julie Tippetts/Martin Archer Ensemble, and the ensemble Six of One.


30 Nov 16

What is a Broadside Ballad?

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Lisa Knapp at the Bodleian Library

A broadside (also known as a broadsheet) is a single sheet of inexpensive paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations. Broadside ballads, from the 16th to 20th centuries, contain words and images once displayed and sung daily in Britain’s streets and inns. Although part of living traditions of folksong, popular art and literature, these illustrated printed sheets are now rare and preserved in only a few libraries.

Digital collections and catalogues have improved access to these fragile survivors of popular culture in print. The Bodleian Libraries holds nearly 30,000 broadside ballads, many of them unique survivals, printed from the 16th to the 20th Centuries. Digital facsimiles and an online database were first made accessible in 1999. In 2013, the Libraries launched Broadside Ballads Online, which is a digital collection of the Bodleian’s broadside ballads together with links to digital collections at other libraries and institutions. ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk


29 Nov 16

Tyondai Braxton | Dawn of Midi on UK tour

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Tyondai Braxton credit Grace Villamil

A don't miss double bill of electronic musician and former Battles front man, Tyondai Braxton and startling original trio Dawn of Midi - tour dates just announced!


23 Nov 16

Broadside Ballads tour announced!

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Lisa Knapp, Sam Lee, Nathaniel Mann 

Three of the UK’s most innovative folk artists reinvent a collection of British broadsides – low cost daily song sheets sold for pence - giving a rare insight into Britain’s music, literary and political history.

Delving into the collection of Broadsides at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band, and bring to life Broadside Ballads for a new generation.

Touring 25 Feb - 01 March 2017

#broadsides


05 Oct 16

Ghost Stories trailer now live!

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Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema

With almost two weeks to go excitement is mounting about The Paper Cinema's fantastic new show Ghost Stories. To whet your appetite check out this trailer filmed at recent rehearsals at the Puppet Centre, Bristol.

Don't miss the live shows from 19 - 23 October in the lead up to Halloween. Waa ha ha!


20 Sep 16

Free live animation workshop with The Paper Cinema, Barking, 1 October

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Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema

THE PAPER CINEMA – GHOST STORIES
FREE ANIMATION WORKSHOP FOR AGES 8 - 10
1.30PM – 5.30PM, SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER, FREE ADMISSION
STUDIO 3 ARTS, BOUNDARY ROAD, BARKING, IG11 7JR

Learn how to create your own hand drawn animation short live film in this workshop with internationally acclaimed live film and music company The Paper Cinema.

With the help of three Paper Cinema professional puppeteers and composer / musician, create hand drawn puppets and perform your own live animation show based on a local ghost story.

Participants also get half price tickets to The Paper Cinema’s Ghost Stories at Studio 3 Arts on 23 October, a stunning new live animation and music show that brings local ghost stories - including the Barking Boiler Explosion by local crime writer Linda Rhodes - to life.

Workshop spaces are free but need to be booked on a first come first served basis at hello@studio3arts.org.uk
More information about Ghost Stories at www.sounduk.net

Generously supported by: Arts Council England, Barking & Dagenham Community Music Service. Produced by Sound UK in partnership with Studio 3 Arts.


22 Aug 16

Beat post-Rio blues with this video!

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Kimmo Pohjonen 'Accordion Wrestling'

Beat the post-Olympic blues with this gem of a video from Kimmo Pohjonen's 2012 UK premiere of Accordion Wrestling. Featuring accordion adventurer Pohjonen set against 12 champion wrestlers, this extraordinary sport and music experience wowed UK audiences including Janet Street-Porter.


28 Jun 16

Huge fun with The Little Radio in Barking

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The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 4

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 3

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 1

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 2

The Little Radio in Barking credit Camilla Greenwell 6

Here are just a few pictures of the amazing night that saw 150 Year 5 students from Gascoigne Primary School and Studio 3 Arts' community group, perform alongside workshop leader Paul Griffiths and saxophonist Iain Ballamy and accordionist Stian Carstensen from The Little Radio.

The concert on 22 June was the fruition of 5 weeks workshops undertaken by Paul and each group creating brilliant new songs such as Future Rock and The Time is Now, performed alongside The Little Radio's repertoire. A hugely inspirational night!

The Little Radio was produced by Sound UK in partnership with Barbican Centre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Barking & Dagenham Music Service. Supported by Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation.


28 Jun 16

Trailer for Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison

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Goole station credit Sara Teresa

Gavin Bryars and Blake Morrison's evocative "symphony of stories" (The Guardian) is now available to download. Get a taste with this gorgeous trailer shot on the stopping train from Goole to Hull...


28 Jun 16

Fantastic press coverage for Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison!

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Blake Morrison and Gavin Bryars on the Northern train from Hull to Goole

We've been thrilled with the coverage Sonic Journeys: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison has achieved so far. Journalists from BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3 and The Guardian have all taken the train from Goole to Hull to experience the piece and here's how they reported back:

BBC Radio 4 Front Row, broadcast 12 June

BBC Radio 3 Music Matters, broadcast 13 June

The Guardian, published 16 June


28 Jun 16

Chasing the Whale tour film now online

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Kings of the South Seas 3

Earlier this year we took a captivating musical voyage of with the superb Kings of the South Seas, Tim Eriksen and Philip Hoare which took us to venues as magificent as the Cutty Sark. Check out the tour film here.


16 Mar 16

Matthew Bourne interview about Memorymoog and more

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• Why the Memorymoog - what is the significance of that particular instrument over the piano with this project?

I’ve always had a love for analogue/vintage synthesisers of any kind and, the Moog Memorymoog was one of those instruments I’d only ever heard about so, when one came up on eBay, and local to me, I jumped at the chance. On collecting it, I met Phil Manchester - an amazing person and keyboard player with a vast musical experience. He’d owned the instrument for 25 years (from new), and occupied a special place in his life. It was then modified by Rudi Linhard in Germany a few years later, making it a Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog (LAMM). This project is all about that instrument, the human story of the people that have been involved with it, and places that have provided both direct and indirect inspiration of some kind. There’s no significance over the piano, here, it’s just a project centred around the narrative of what is now a LAMM.

• How did you and Michael first start working together? How did you become aware of his work?

Michael and I have known each other for a number of years, and had met through mutual friends in Manchester. I asked him if he would work on designing the cover for the moogmemory album (it was Michael who came up with the album’s title), and went from there. I’ve always loved his work; be it graphic, film or anything else - the majestic detail that goes into each piece of work is mind-blowing. We’d always wanted to work together on something and now, we’re finally getting round to doing something. Hopefully it’ll be the first of many things to come. He’s been a real inspiration to me...

• Location and place seem to hold a special significance to the moogmemory project. Can you tell us why?

Sure. As touched on above, it’s chiefly about the people involved: the engineering of Bob Moog and Rudi Linhard, the loving care bestowed on it by Phil James for half of its life, and its subsequent modification (by Rudi), and finally, to the present, where the album and live project has emerged. It was Michael who was excited by the idea of tying together a human/geographical narrative to everything - the design of the album, the photographs (taken on the moor above my home in Airedale - where all of the music was recorded), filming the reunion between Phil James and his old Memorymoog, my correspondences with Rudi whilst the instrument was undergoing repair; all of these strands will feed into the narrative of the show in one way or another. Michael was also keen to capture the place where my own personal musical turning point began in 2009: in Montauk, NY - and travelled there especially to capture footage for this show, as well as additional filming on the beautiful Yorkshire moors.

• How do you approach composition and has the process changed on this project?

I don’t compose in the traditional sense of the word. If I can’t capture something more or less as it emerges, subsequent repetition of the idea proves to be fatal, and the impulse/energy dies, and withers as I struggle to dissolve the consciousness that has arisen, the awareness of what I am doing. Personally, the more contrived something becomes, the less true it feels, to me. So, I have to trick myself into capturing these ideas by stealth - almost by accident, if you like. So, for the pieces on the moogmemory album, most of them are either first takes, or, were completed in ‘one hit’: finished within a very short burst of time, so as to not lose focus, or open the door to compositional contrivance and design. As a result, many ideas that arose in this period, died in the flames of repetition… Preparing to perform this music live has presented considerable challenges in that there is a tightrope to be walked between the specificity of already-established material and the familiar spontaneity that live performance affords. I have to practice performing the structural arc of the original, whilst retaining enough room for variation, difference, and the chance for something new to happen in the performance arena. Playing something in the exact same way, over and over again, is a false trail. I’m sure that, if I were a better musician, I’d make much lighter weather of it all...

• Which one moog / synth tune would you have loved to have written?

Theme from Fletch, by Harold Faltermeyer, and Spaced (from the album Gandharva & In a Wild Sanctuary), by Beaver & Krause.

• Are there specific tunes, tech or performers in particular that got you hooked on the analogue synth sound?

Musically, it was probably something from Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band. The albums Crossings, Sextant, Inside Out and Realization (the latter two are under trumpeter Eddie Henderson’s name), are all amazing - and made quite an impression on me - particularly the work of Patrick Gleeson (listen to Water Torture from Crossings), whose work is prevalent on much of this material (and who also first introduced Hancock to synthesisers). Gleeson is a much overlooked figure in the cannon of analogue synthesiser recordings. I started off with a Moog Prodigy (who I later sold to Glenn Armstrong, of Coup D’Archet records - and, incidentally, became great friends!).

• What can people expect from the tour?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3Jxj41VwYw

• What are your plans for the rest of 2016 - involving / after Moogmemory?

Well, maybe a little live album of the moogmemory tour, as there’s a few new pieces, and very different/reworked versions of a number of the album tracks. We’ll see. I’ve already got another album (piano & cello) in the can, so to speak. It’s a much slower and bleaker sister to Montauk Variations. All of the tracks were recorded at home - most of them in very bad weather! You can hear one of them, here: https://soundcloud.com/matthew-bourne/isotach

*** Matthew Bourne and Michael England's Moogmemory tour continues with dates in Brighton (17 March), Southampton (18 March) and Glasgow (23 April). Click here for details ***


10 Mar 16

The Little Radio rural tour film now online

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We're delighted to share this lovely film about The Little Radio's recent rural tour and workshops in Wiltshire, Cornwall, Devon and Shropshire. It was our first project where we delivered our own workshop programme and heralds an exciting way for us to work in the future. We can't wait to get started on the Barking workshops culminating in a performance at the Broadway Theartre on 22 June.


03 Mar 16

Places of Worship - gallery of stills from Anastasia Isachsen's stunning video

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Places of Worship - Anastasia Isachsen

Places of Worship - Anastasia Isachsen 2

Ahead of the much awaited UK dates for Arve Henrksen's Places of Worship (11-13 May), we're delighted to share these gorgeous images from Anastasia Isachsen's video that form part of the performance.

Check out more and full details about the tour here


17 Feb 16

Moogmemory trailer now live!

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We're very excited to share the trailer for Moogmemory with you today.

UK tour dates for this special collaboration between genre bending pianist Matthew Bourne and his visual cohort Michael England kick off in just over 2 weeks from 4 March to 23 April.

Together they'll explore the resonant, spacey qualities of analogue synths taking audiences on an audiovisual journey from Montauk, New York to the Yorkshire Moors.

Hear Matthew Bourne's live interview and exclusive track on BBC Radio 3 Late Junction at 11.30pm tonight.


08 Jan 16

Moogmemory London premiere announced

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Matthew Bourne credit Michael England

We hope you had a great festive break and wish you a superb 2016.
The year gets off to a great start for Sound UK with the announcement of a special London premiere for Matthew Bourne and Michael England's Moogmemory at BFI Southbank on 5 March.

An evocative audiovisual journey, Moogmemory explores the spacey, resonant qualities of analogue audio and video synthesisers in this exciting first time collaboration.


17 Dec 15

Not cold enough for Xmas?

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Terje Isungset

Not feeling cold enough for the festive season?

Get your dose of wintry magic courtesy of the wonderful ice musician Terje Isungset.

Recorded in an ice cave underneath the amazing Nigard Glacier(Jostedalen) in Norway ... naturally!

Watch here

Happy Xmas!


16 Dec 15

Martyn Ware shares his seaside memories

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one and all

As part of our One and All coastline project with Trust New Art we have had the pleasure of working with the legendary founder of Heaven 17/ The Human League, renowned producer and sound artist Martyn Ware.

We put a few questions to him about his new work for One and All (available to experience here, and we are delighted to share these unique insights with you:

- What's your earliest memory of the seaside?

My earliest memory is riding on a donkey called Ringo on Cleethorpes Beach – and wondering where the sea was (it goes out about a mile), and being ecstatically happy…

- How do you think our relationship with the coast has changed over your lifetime?

We are all more familiar with the coast then when I was young – generally people can afford holidays or day trips now, whereas we were so poor (cue violins) that one day trip a year was all our family could afford

- What was your favourite memory left by a participant in the beach hut?

Definitely a father in Seaham talking to his small daughter – he was clearly embarrassed to be speaking, so he said to his daughter "come on then – hurry up – they’re your memories not mine” - she sounded about 5 years old so I don’t think she had many memories to share!

- Did any of the public's recordings particularly strike a chord with you, or stir up forgotten memories?

I think in general just the fact that so many people referred to the ‘peace’ they found being by the sea and looking at the sea – it’s kind of therapy for the working classes…

- How do you see the link between sound and memory?

Sound is a critical part of our memories, but usually we associate the senses with visual memories taking the lead role – all that is required is to point out to people how their memories would feeel without sound – then they realise…

Martyn's 3D soundscape work is best experienced with headphones for the full immersive effect. Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oneandall to experience it and then share your thoughts with us on twitter using the hashtag #oneandallUK


17 Nov 15

The Little Radio on tour – last 2015 date 27 November

The Little Radio

We had a fab few days with Iain Ballamy and Stian Carstensen last week who touched the hearts of all ages across rural England. People of Shropshire don’t miss their show at SpArC Theatre, Bishops Castle on 27 November

Details of the tour and booking here


10 Nov 15

One and All Friday Late, 20 November, 6.30 – 10pm, Somerset House

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Take a voyage around our coast in the heart of London: immerse yourself in One and All after hours; dive into a programme of pop-up talks and poetry; chill out watching slow film in our Screening Room; and enjoy a sea-inspired cocktail the Moby Dick for just £5.00 at Pennethornes Café Bar.

Details available here


23 Oct 15

Tania Kovats at Manchester Science Festival

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Tania Kovats Festival

The Manchester Science Festival is underway now and features a wonderful new commission from Tania Kovats, alongside a whole host of other exciting events.

Head to Manchester to see Tania’s new commission ‘Evaporation’, which takes Gaia Theory as a starting point to explore our seas. Gaia Theory was created by James Lovelock and suggested that the oceans are a barometer of the planet’s health. The installation is part of climate art project ArtCop21.

Kovats’ work is always exploring our relationship with the ocean, from the All The Seas commission seen at the @fruitmarketgallery to her new piece for our online art experience One and All, which investigates tides.

Follow this link to find out more about how you can see her new installation in Manchester and even hear her in conversation as part of the Science Festival.

And follow this link to see her brand new commission Tide, launching online on 4th November 2015.

Tania will also have new work on show at our One and All exhibition at @somersethouse in London, launching on the same day.


21 Oct 15

Ring Tania Kovats's Bell!

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ring tania kovats bell

At this year’s autumnal equinox, leading artist Tania Kovats cast her bronze bell as the sun set on Porthcurno Beach. The tidal bell will be rung at high tide on the River Thames as part of the National Trust’s One and All exhibition at Somerset House from 4 November to 13 December. Members of the public are invited to volunteer to ring the bell each day. You can sign up online at  from midday on Thursday 22 October.

One and All is a digital voyage through sight, sound and sea by three leading artists – Tania Kovats, Owen Sheers and Martyn Ware. Working across art, language and 3D sound, with award-winning film maker Benjamin Wigley, they capture the powerful connection we all have to our coast.

One and All is available to experience online at www.nationaltrust. org.uk/oneandall, plus Somerset House hosts a dramatic staging of these digital artworks that invites visitors to take this evocative journey around our shores in the heart of the city.

Visit our Live Events for full details.

One and All is a Trust New Art and Sound UK co-commission. Produced in collaboration with artdocs and The Swarm.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by PRS for Music Foundation.

Somerset House exhibition is sponsored by Panasonic, Official Partner of the National Trust.

Martyn Ware’s speakers kindly provided by Bowers + Wilkins.

 


15 Oct 15

National Poetry Day

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National Poetry Day

As today is National Poetry Day we thought we would share a little bit more insight into our work with Owen Sheers as part of our One and All project with the National Trust – a digital voyage through sight, sound and sea.

Owen Sheers is a novelist, poet and playwright who has been commissioned as part of One and All to write a new piece of poetry about the coast of his Welsh homeland, which we can exclusively reveal will be called “On The Sea’s Land” (“Ar-for-dir”) and will be linked with a digital journey along the coastline.

Owen is an interesting figure in literature, working across various literary formats, from poetry to longform fiction, plays and even ballads. He also is Professor in Creativity at Swansea University and an accomplished TV host.

For One and All Owen undertook a two week residency on The Gower peninsula in South Wales. This beautiful coastal area was the first to be designated as an Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty in the UK in the 1950’s and hasn’t changed much since.

Owen spent time exploring the history, meeting local farmers and dialect experts, all the while was walking the land and immersing himself in the special atmosphere of the area, from Paviland Cave to Wurm’s Head – which you can see in the photograph taken by Ben Wigley of Artdocs.

The journey between these two locations has inspired his final writings for One and All, which you will be able to discover when the project launches nationwide on 4th Nov 2015. Follow us on facebook & twitter to find out more about the project, our exhibition at Somerset House and the launch.

Owen commented:
“Drawing upon local history, anecdote and dialect, On the Sea’s Land seeks to explore and excavate the internal and external geography of this ancient, yet ever-renewing landscape against which our presence, whether communal or solitary, is never less than fleeting.”

More details from the National Trust can be found here

 


15 Sep 15

Bell Casting at Porthcurno Beach

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Porthcurno Bell Casting

A bronze bell, cast at sunset on Porthcurno Beach, will form the central piece of Tania Kovats' work in the upcoming One and All exhibition at Somerset House. Storyteller Nick Hunt will weave tales of bells, tides and local tales whilst Ore + Ingot turn solid metal to molten fire. Come and see this tin and copper casting, a common practice in Cornwall 150 years ago. Dress warmly and bring a torch.

23 September, 6.30 – 7.30pm.
Free admission.
Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall, TR19 6JX.

One and All – a voyage through sight, sound and sea launches online and at Somerset House, London on 4 November. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oneandall

One and All is a Trust New Art and sounduk co-commission. Produced in collaboration with artdocs and The Swarm.

Generously supported by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation and Bowers + Wilkins.

 


30 Jul 15

SOUND uk Tour a Beach Hut

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We've just finished a trip around the coast with What Does the Sea Say?

Sound artist Martyn Ware created a sound installation for a bright blue beach hut which we took to three post industrial coastal locations. Inside people were invited to record their feelings about the sea, as well as write them on the walls.

We started in the north east in the ex coal mining town of Seaham, on the Durham Heritage Coast. Set high on the cliff tops the hut had a stunning position against the backdrop of the drammatic coast line. Hard to believe this was once covered in coal dust!

We then moved south to the beautiful Suffolk coast and the surreal landscape of Orford Ness. This spit of land below Aldeburgh is a nature reserve with some incredibly rare plants and it's own livestock including golden hares and a flock of sheep. Amongst these stand the relics of buildings used when it was an atomic testing site back in the '60s.

Finally, we travelled west to the beautiful harbour community of Porthgain on the Pembrokeshire coast. Once a slate mining and brick manufacturing village, it now attracts visitors from far and wide for its charm, glorious coastal views and of course first class fish restaurant.

 


20 Jun 15

SoundUK Arts awarded Strategic Touring funding!

sound uk funding news

SoundUK Arts awarded Strategic Touring funding!


sounduk is delighted to have been awarded a Strategic Touring grant by Arts Council England towards Soil and Concrete, a touring network for new music to rural and urban areas of low provision and engagement from 2015 – 18. 


Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support sounduk’s Soil and Concrete tour. This innovative and adventurous music programme will provide local communities with a really important opportunity to participate in the creation and delivery of new music, introducing them to what may be a new experience and also to variety of different music styles.” 


“Through this funding we are delighted to be able to develop our work in partnership with local communities to create excellent art and enable people of all ages to have access and enjoyment of new music ” Maija Handover, co-Director, sounduk.

sounduk will develop a network to commission high quality, innovative music projects in areas of low provision and engagement in the South West, Midlands and London. We are excited to be working in partnership with four rural partners; Beaford Arts in North Devon, Carn to Cove in Cornwall, Pound Arts in Wiltshire and Arts Alive in Shropshire, alongside one urban partner, the Barbican in Barking. Each project responds to place and engages local communities in its creation and delivery.

Alongside each live event a participation programme will be delivered to local people of all ages as well as professional development for local promoters, the majority of which are volunteers.

The first Soil & Concrete project will be Little Radio with internationally acclaimed saxophonist Iain Ballamy and accordionist Stian Carstensen in November 2015 (rural dates) and Summer 2016 (Barking).