A Song for Us celebrates our communities and the power of music to bring us together. As part of a national music project, Gavin Bryars, Skinny Pelembe, Seth Lakeman, This is the Kit & Bucky and Gwenno are creating new songs inspired by the people of East Riding, South Yorkshire, Devon, Bristol and Cornwall. Performed by local ensembles, it will be streamed online from 23 March 2021 at asongforus.org.
Help us create a music map of the UK. From January 2021, budding songsmiths anywhere are invited to upload their own songs to asongforus.org. Or you can simply share a favourite song that holds special meaning.
A Song for Us celebrates creativity in everyone, whether performing, composing, or listening. #ASongForUs #LetsCreate
Conceived and produced by Sound UK. In partnership with Junction Goole, Higher Rhythm, Bristol Music Trust, Exeter Phoenix, Beaford Arts, Villages in Action, Carn to Cove, Hall For Cornwall and intoBodmin. Supported by Arts Council England and RVW Trust.
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS:
EAST RIDING: Gavin Bryars. Born in Goole and still a season ticket holder for Goole Town FC, Bryars has continually shunned convention, treading his own distinctive and unique path. Starting as a jazz bassist and pioneer of free improvisation with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley, he worked with John Cage in the late 60s. Early iconic pieces The Sinking of the Titanic and Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet achieved great popular success. Since this time Bryars has composed four operas, a large body of chamber music, several concertos and much vocal music. He has collaborated with international artists across the spectrum from Merce Cunningham and William Forsyth to Juan Muñoz and Robert Wilson. The Gavin Bryars Ensemble and GB Records continue to document his work. Serene, graceful and achingly beautiful, his music is characterised by a sense of contemplation that is revealed through harmony of underlying depth.
SOUTH YORKSHIRE: Skinny Pelembe is a multi-talented wonder, born in Johannesburg and raised in Doncaster. He released debut album Dreaming Is Dead Now in May 2019, with support from BBC 6 Music’s, BBC Radio 1 and Worldwide FM. In 2020 Blue Note asked some of the top British names in music to rework songs from their legendary back catalog. Skinny’s version of Andrew Hill’s cult classic Illusion was chosen as one of the singles from the Blue Note Reimagined album. He grew up in Doncaster after moving there at the age of three from Johannesburg, where apartheid South Africa had driven his parents – a mixed race couple – to find somewhere else to live. His varied approach to his influences started early on. His two older brothers were heavily into hip-hop, while he would also absorb the West Coast folk and country music played by his dad. The former influences the way he thinks about his lyrics. The latter has continues to inform the way he writes songs.
DEVON: Seth Lakeman Multi award-winning folk singer Seth Lakeman released his new album A Pilgrim’s Tale in early 2020, a year that marks four centuries since The Mayflower ship departed the UK. Seth was raised and still lives on Dartmoor, within sight of the sea at Plymouth, from where the Puritans sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. Since the Mercury Prize nominated Kitty Jay (recorded in his kitchen for £300), the follow-up gold selling Freedom Fields Seth has relentlessly pushed his musical boundaries and those of folk and roots music. He has been touring around the world for the last couple of years with rock legend Robert Plant, playing as part of his band The Sensational Space Shifters as well as playing shows with his own band and solo.
BRISTOL: This is The Kit & Bucky. This Is the Kit is the musical project of Kate Stables. One of time and change and careful listening. It has carried Stables from Winchester to Bristol to Paris (where she’s lived for the last 15 years), and across tours and festivals around the world. Her fourth album Moonshine Freeze was nominated for an Ivor Novello award in 2017 . In early spring of 2020, just before everything got weird, Kate and her band of trusty companions, (Rozi Plain, Jamie Whitby-Coles, Jesse D Vernon, and Neil Smith), knuckled down to record what would become This is The Kit’s fifth album Off Off On. It was released in October to huge acclaim with the Independent naming them “One of the most original and musically gifted artists of today'. For A Song for Us, Kate will collaborate with fellow Bristol band Bucky. Primitive 'power-duo' from Bristol who have been going for ages and were once described as sounding 'like Billy Childish meets Ren & Stimpy'
CORNWALL: Gwenno. Gwenno Saunders is a Welsh-Cornish musician and conceptual artist . Her interest lies in exploring the cultural and linguistic identities of Britain through popular song. As a Welsh and Cornish speaker she has released two critically acclaimed albums Y Dydd Olaf (2015) and Le Kov (2018) in Welsh and Cornish, respectively on Heavenly Recordings and is currently recording her third due to be released in 2021.