22 Jul 21

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Jordan Edge

Jordan Edge

Sound UK’s new artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we will find out more about the artists on this year’s programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Jordan Edge.

Can you tell us about your Sound Generator project? Where did the initial inspiration come from?

My project ‘Non Human Sonic Entities’ for Sound Generator stemmed from me studying sound on a fundamental level, as a material to think with and build upon. This gives it new essence to recreate new sonic philosophies to be experienced in real time.

This comes from the idea of stripping our sonic materialist reality and offering up new sonic possible worlds to be inhabited by us and our multi species hybrid ecosystem, for a progressive aural future.

I want to provide a contemporary perspective into how we can move through and think with sound in our everyday lives to make changes to our hearing perspectives. I want to open up our ears and minds to new worlds and possibilities through sound.

This means creating worlding systems that we might not naturally think with. So I started thinking about how I can make this into an experience that everyone can have and understand on a fundamental level, without having to know about sound.

I'm planning to create an interspecies language and voices within a living sound environment using Artificial Intelligence and language models.

I also plan to recreate large scale versions of insect body parts combined with vocal tracts that make abstract communicative sound. The aim being that we can experience the idea of interspecies kinship, expanding the way we hear and think about sound.

To move towards a more progressive sonic future, we can think similarly to other species when using sound and language to communicate.

This project presents alternative progressive multi-disciplinary futures, genderless worlds, interspecies communication and the architectures of possibility within non-human listening. It is materialised through sonic narrative, sculpture, and CGI.

"Imagined soft sculptures based on human / non-human vocal tracts and the resonant body parts of insects will communicate with you through synthetic, acoustic and digital deconstructions of language giving a voice to the more than human world."

Aural evolutions of communication, aspects of language from the animalistic, synthetically modelled screams, expanded calls and roaring soft materials speak out into space.

The digital environment containing entities will act as generative forms of vocalisation and imagined plant hosts. Visually and sonically based around the abstraction of speaking systems and communication through metaphysical matter.

Non-human listening expands perceptions of interspecies life, and our capacity to travel through fictional realities to create new experiential worlds. It is also expands understanding of the deep connectivity to the environment and our entangled ecosystem.

How has your idea developed during this project so far? And what have you learnt?

My idea has developed a lot during my time spent on this residency. Speaking to mentors and artists about my plans has generated a broader mindset for myself.

I’m from an artistic background, so having the opportunity to reach out to specialists and people working in science has really progressed my ideas and given me a realistic approach to how other species experience and use sound.

At first I was going to make these sculptures and worlds from research and imagination, but now I'm really understanding how insects use sound to communicate, through their environment and through their bodies and plant hosts. They are very social creatures. This has made me look at the project from a new angle.

"I would like people to experience something close to what an insect or non-human species experiences through sound, in order to create a completely altered reality in which we can inhabit."

Part of my research is to become somewhat non-human and blend the boundaries between species. I sometimes experience moments of complete sonic abstraction, where sound is not tied to anything particularly human, sound as itself, and this makes me think we can build anything upon sound conceptually.

I want to inhabit and create sonic worlds for the ‘more than human’ world. Having this open space to grow and discuss my ideas with artists doing a similar practice gives me an open-mindedness to what is in front of me, everything is mouldable and organically unfolding as the process continues.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

This opportunity has meant a whole lot to me. Realising one of my most ambitious projects would be an incredible achievement for me. The possibility that it could transform, retrain or inspire the perception of listening for a wider public audience is magnificent.

Sound Generator can provide me with a fully functional project that I could show in professional spaces, innovative sound festivals and apply to opportunities with. It can ground me with a conceptual underpinning and new peer relationships to develop throughout my artistic career.

It has created connections between me and many inspirational artists that I wouldn't have had contact with otherwise. I feel like this is a crucial opportunity that is really propelling me forwards with my research and art work.

It has given me a platform to relate to that I can use in the face of other opportunities, and push my practice towards sustainability as a full-time artist.

Learning from my mentors will be important for me to continue to make work, these skills and conversations will be used throughout my creative practice and contribute to the way I experience the world.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

Sound Generator has given me the time, funding and drive to focus on one project. Without this I would still slowly be working towards this, but given the opportunity I can now spend more time and funds on making this a reality.

The main thing I will gain from this experience is the programme's amazing offer to fund mentorship for the project and for myself. Picking the people I speak to is very specific, and contributes in so many different ways to a project.

Having the freedom to contact artists with a well-known organisation in the sound arts community is amazing and opens up so many doors to new and interesting people.

My creative practice has developed from speaking to these mentors, and will go on to shape my mind and project as I move through this research and development phase that Sound UK has kindly gifted me.

"Its specificity within the sound arts is great for me, as it seems this opportunity is one of the few for sound artists working in the UK."

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

I always keep my ears open to a broad range of sounds and genres, anything from insect environments to experimental jazz, choral music, black metal, anything that crosses boundaries, emotions, intensities or scientific research. 

Recently I've been listening to some of PAN’s new releases such as Pan Daijings LET and Aaron Cupples ghost.

One of my favorite labels is Subtext, they always provide an interesting listen at such high quality and sonic detail. James Ginzberg's new album is beautiful.

I really like sounds that lift me into another universe, traversing the body, providing other sonic worlds to enter and gain a new perspective from. Opal Tapes, which I have released with, are always pushing out incredible experimental music, by great artists that I haven't ever been introduced to before. Stephen Bishop is ruthless and puts out what he wants, for the music, for the ears only, and I respect this a lot.

What are your hopes for the project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month award?

I would like the project to be at the stage where I can approach gallery spaces and site specific festival spaces working in sound arts.

My initial thoughts were to house this project in a physical gallery space like Chisenhale Gallery or somewhere smaller (Gossamer Fog) with a similar type of curatorial catalogue.

I really think this work would be viewed and shaped well by a gallery like Chisenhale, as they have a research and process based approach to their curation, like Ghislaine Leung’s Partners.

I would also make a digital version, based on a web platform for open source, free access, hosted between a variety of social media platforms to make it accessible to all individuals as a game environment / virtual show and a physical one when it arises.

After this 6 month residency I should have the bones of a multidisciplinary art installation to present in spaces. Or near enough, so it will be a matter of getting it out into the world with more funding to realise a full space accompanying the sculptures, sound environments and VR game.

I would like to completely transform a space to become a tailored environment that this work sits in.

Visit Jordan Edge's website to find out more about their work. We look forward to sharing more information on their Sound Generator project as it develops.

To be the first to read our latest artist interviews, news and projects, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

08 Jul 21

20 Artists for 20 Years: Sarah Nicolls

Image of Sarah Nicolls - Inside Out Piano

We worked with acclaimed pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls’ in 2020 on 12 Years, her new Inside-Out Piano project, inspired by the 2018 IPCC Special report that said we had just 12 years to radically change our behaviour to save the planet.

Continuing our interview series, celebrating 20 Artists for 20 Years, Polly recently caught up with Sarah for a chat over the new café table that is Zoom.

Polly: Tell us about your experience of delivering ‘12 Years’ during the pandemic?

Sarah: So it was quite an unusual year last year, wasn't it? We were about to embark on our 12 Years 2020 tour and suddenly we’re dealing with the pandemic.

I think the tour was originally going to happen around the 18th March and it was around the 16th March that things started collapsing. And I remember we were having conversations like, will the gig happen tomorrow? Will the gig happen on Saturday? I think we basically jumped straight into it. And I made a film of the show and we got it out there. And you were great. You just went with me. We just sort of thought, right. The show must go on. We’ll do it.

And then I think in around May, we felt that it was just getting too hard for venues. Staff were going on furlough. It was really becoming very difficult for venues, as it still is. And we collectively had the courage to say, yeah, let's do a digital tour. Let's pull that together in a completely different form. And in the October, it was great. We had 12 dates coinciding with the second anniversary of the IPCC report.

The title of 12 Years comes from the IPCC report, which actually came out in 2018 telling us we had 12 years to halve emissions. I'd actually already revised the piece for 2020. So now it was not 12 years, but 10 years. But the interesting thing about having to revise it for the tour was, of course, once the tour dissolved into the pandemic, we then had to revise it again. But this time all the characters had to mention lockdown and COVID. And so there was actually three revisions that went on with the piece.

But the piece, I feel stood up to those. And what was brilliant was that Sound UK was able to go with me on the journey of quick - how do you make a digital tour?

Polly: How did you manage to feel a connection with your audience while delivering online?

Sarah: We had all the climate scientists on the Q&A's. And I feel like we kept hold of a sense of place so that even though the gigs were digital, what we were able to do was connect people. For example, with the Exeter audiences, we were talking about Exeter and how it is there, what are the local issues and the same in Bristol and all the different places that we were hosting talks in.

It was amazing. Watching Richard Betts, who's the Head of Climate Impact at the Met office, talking with an Extinction Rebellion protester from Exeter, an older lady who had actually gone out and sat on the road and been arrested. He’d been called as an expert witness in a similar court case, to comment on whether these protests were saving lives. And Richard Betts had to concur that actually she was saving lives because the situation is so serious. That was kind of extraordinary, just watching those people meet and talk from really different ends of the spectrum.

For a lot of protesters, there's a kind of intuitive response to the science, I mean, for me, 12 Years was a kind of personal emergency response. It’s like wow, we’ve really got to do something. And then somebody like Richard, who's been researching his whole life and has dedicated his entire work to learning more about it. It's fascinating to see those two things coming together in a Q&A after a show.

I think what the show did was to open up that space and to open up the kind of emotional journey for people to feel like they could be honest and ask questions. I mean, I felt in a lot of the Q&As, the audience were able to use those expert climate scientists to ask, what should we do? What's happening? And they became almost quite therapeutic spaces.

Certainly for me, I think what's important about doing digital work is to create that sense of connection live in the moment. So that after the show - and we did go for a film show, because I think we felt that sound and film wise, you could create something better than attempting a live stream - but that afterwards we come together with the Q&A and talk to each other in the moment and exist there together at that moment. So I think we did a good job and thank you very much for supporting me through that.
We had so many conversations, didn't we, about what to do. And I feel like by committing to our decision, we did the right thing.

Polly: Yes definitely. I think it was interesting, we were going out into a no man's land, how are we going to do this? But actually, by lots of discussion and shared ideas and thinking and then more discussions, I think we got to the very best possible point. And actually, a lot of really interesting things have happened that may not have happened. And people that may not have managed to get to gigs could attend. So that was another thing. The audience reach became far wider.

How did you feel about working with Sound UK for the first time?

Sarah: In terms of what sound UK was able to do, obviously, all of the production, but also the press, was outstanding. Maija got some astonishing press. I was really humbled and quite proud as well, if you can be those at the same time! To be one of the Guardian’s top pic selections. It was London Jazz Festival, the Royal Ballet Season, something else and Sarah Nicolls, 12 Years – for me, alongside all these enormous institutions. That was brilliant to feel that recognition for a piece that is challenging. I am positing a challenge to the audience with the piece.

Polly: In a way that works as a piece of art. It’s that wonderful thing that it’s fantastic music, it’s beautiful, it’s poignant and it’s a whole gamut of human emotion, which is what all artists are striving towards.

Sarah: And certainly what music can afford an issue like that where you can actually take an audience by the hand and go through those different emotional states. That’s what feels really powerful to me about making music shows about climate change and about the biodiversity loss and so on. That actually you can journey together through that. Rather than having to create a picture that says it all.

Polly: Did delivering the project during the extreme circumstances have any impact on your artistic practice? If so what / how? What might you take forward for the future?

Sarah: I think what has been amazing as well is how I’ve taken the learning from ’12 Years’ and straight away applied it instantly to the next show. ‘Ballad of a Changing World’ is my show with cellist Maja Bugge and we’re talking with two scientists, 1 in Newcastle (where I’m from) and 1 in the very north of Norway (where Maja’s from) and it’s about Kittiwakes (a seabird species) moving into cities.

Kittiwakes are an indicator of ocean warming and increased summer storms. They are moving into the cities because they can’t survive out at sea anymore. There is this very interesting problem where people think that there must be too many Kittiwakes because they’re in their city but actually it’s just because the species are moving in land from their natural habitats.

Through this story we managed to make a show while I stayed in Stroud and Maja stayed in Lancaster. We worked out how to do remote duo improvising, which was quite a feat in itself – through various different methods, recording and using live improv software. And then we’ve actually taken the things that I learnt from the Q&A of 12 Years, and we’ve brought that into the show.

So the scientists are in the show now and they’re talking with us. Hopefully we’ve done the same sort of weaving through a story and it’s a digital show – it’s a film. I edited it so that was a pretty massive learning curve – and now we have a beautiful film that has been played in Norway and was at Cheltenham Festival on 7th July. Again we were able to create a high quality film followed by a live Q&A.

Polly: And what else have you got coming up later on this year?

Sarah: Well I’ve also been creating an opera. I’m on stage with the singer. It’s small scale, but the inside out piano is the set, which will be quite fun. It’s about a lady in an asylum, who left her life story stitched into samplers that still exist today. The show is asking ‘why did this woman get locked up? Was she fairly treated?’ That is going to be at Tête à Tête in August to a tiny audience. You can find more details here.

And I’m going to be doing 12 Years at Dartington, so that will now be 9 years at Dartington and then hopefully a rerun of ‘Belonging Here’ – which is a big piece that I did while I was on the Oxford Contemporary Music scheme at the Ashmolean Museum. It’s a big interactive work – up to 3,000 people can answer questions while we play music and project their answers.

Gigs are coming back – it’s an interesting time – but I think we should hold on to what we’ve learnt really strongly and also think about people who can’t get to gigs and how do we support both. As creative people we can totally run with this and there’s many benefits – environmental benefits, changes to ways of touring. Somebody said recently to me that we’ve completely disrupted the model and it’s up to us to put it back together how we feel it should be put back together.

I feel like it’s a huge opportunity for us to think about all of the crises facing the world and to find solutions that cover everything. It’s exciting to me that we can do that. We’re in a place of privilege I suppose that in our creative jobs we can find new ways of doing stuff. I’m sure that in the next 20 years Sound UK will continue innovating in the same way it has been.

Polly: Well you’ll certainly be part of our story in rechanging our model.

Sarah: We were together during the trauma year of COVID-19! I felt very supported, so thank you! And it was great that we were able to change our course, as Sound UK were agile enough to say, let’s do this. Creative, agile and willing to take risks.

COVID and climate change - they’re both universal problems – and in a way it’s time for us as a society to grow up and to say, yes, we are one world, find the solutions, and say this is what we need to do. Hopefully there’s been a maturing in our basic approach to solving problems together.

I would encourage people to listen to my podcast with Richard Betts – it’s only about half an hour. At the end I ask him what he would do with a 1-minute prime time TV advert and I really like what he says. People can listen if they are interested here. And 12 Years is actually online now – if you’d like to watch it you can do so here.

Visit Sarah Nicolls' website to find out more about her work.

To be the first to read our latest artist interviews, news and projects, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

28 Jun 21

20 Artists for 20 Years: Martyn Ware

20 Artists for 20 Years - Martyn Ware Image

We worked with leading sound artist Martyn Ware (Heaven 17 / Illustrious / original Human League) in 2015 on our project ‘What Does the Sea Say?’.

As part of our 20th birthday year, celebrating 20 Artists for 20 Years, Majia recently caught up with Martyn for an interview over the new café table that is Zoom.

What’s been keeping you busy lately?

So many things. We’ve just submitted an application to do a huge soundscape at the Tower of London in 2022 – a celebration of the Queen’s 70th anniversary of succession to the throne. I won’t find out if I’ve got that for a couple of weeks yet, but I’m very excited about that.

I’m doing other soundscape work and I’m teaching in commercial music production, working with my students who are developing their careers and producing some of their stuff. I’ve sold my family home that I’ve been in for 30 years and I’m going to be buying a place in Venice. Everything’s changing which is good – I like change.

Hopefully we’ll be able to start performing live with Heaven 17 soon – that’s all coming up in the second half of this year, and the first half of next year. We’ve got loads of gigs lined up!

You’ve created some incredible projects with sound, from the Venice Biennale to the project we produced with you touring a beach hut around the UK. What do you think is so special about sound as an art form and its ability to engage people?

Sound appeals to a less mediated appreciation of art – it’s experiential. You don’t need any prior knowledge to respond to a piece of sound or music. And we’re doing it all the time. Whether we record it or not, our brain works at a very deep level to analyse the sound world around us.

We can beautify the world around us, particularly using immersive sound technologies, which trigger a sense of reality in people. We can create magic. I’ve now realised, my entire 40-year career in the music industry, in essence, boils down to creating magic. The less you know about the techniques involved, the more magical it appears.

You’ve been at the vanguard of pop music and sound art, what do you think they can learn from each other?

If you had asked me this question before I started Illustrious I would have said the two worlds are quite separate. But when I started taking stock of my career around 2000 when I formed Illustrious, I realised I was always interested in sound art but I’d just positioned it in a pop music framework. For example, when we started the Human League it was a mixture of esoteric and commercial influences, and that is what interests me. That space that appeals to people on a very popular level and how you can subvert that by doing things that are really imaginative and daring within that framework. Likewise, if you’re doing something that’s quite esoteric at its core, you can leverage the popular appreciation of music within that framework as well. That has guided my career to a large extent. Say for instance, I am producing a very popular artist like Tina Turner, there’s a limit to how much avantgarde you can get into that, but it can be used as a seasoning.

I work in that spectrum – between completely bonkers and really straightforward pop music. Although, saying that, I don’t think I’ve ever done anything that’s completely straight forward. I don’t see the sound art world being separate – if you see it as a couple of Venn diagrams I think they overlap by about 80% for me.

Do you have any special memories of ‘the beach hut’ project you did with Sound UK, What does the Sea Say?

Firstly, it was a really special project as a creator. I think it was special because it was aimed at everyone. It is to do with passers-by, dogs, kids, old people. I’m very much into sonic muralism. Muralism I’ve always loved because it’s art for the people, not art for galleries. And I’ve always felt that is where sound art works best – in the public realm.

Originally I was going to go around and record people but the fact that you’re thrusting a microphone into people’s faces changes the responses, so I thought why not take the artist out of it. Just leave it completely unmediated. Hence we had the automatic recording and no invigilation.

Honestly I think it’s one of the most interesting ideas I’ve worked on, whether or not it’s a beach hut, it could have been any form, but there’s something very magical about the beach hut.

As an iconic artist across sound and music and principal of Tileyard education, what advice would you give to sound artists starting out today?

Believe in yourself, believe in your art, be an artist. Think like an artist. Don’t think you’re failing all the time. Everybody fails, I fail on a weekly basis on various things and you have to ride disappointments.

I often say to students, the important thing is to have an interesting idea, and then you’re pretty likely to be able to find a methodology of making it real nowadays. We are in a phase where the means of production is in the hand of the artist. Most people have laptops and you can create amazing sound art works on a laptop.

Do you think the pandemic has changed our relationship with sound and music?

I think people probably appreciate it more because they’ve had more time to spend with their passions – anything that is delivered online - going down rabbit holes on YouTube or Spotify. A lot of people have got into audio books and podcasts. I think people are more willing to listen to a variety of different things. I think people have become even more eclectic in their tastes.

As part of our response to the pandemic we are creating a music map of the UK, commissioning artists to celebrate communities and asking the public to share tracks that have special meaning for this time. What track would you share on the music map and why?

I have always loved the idea of creating a soundtrack to your life as you walk around, so I wouldn’t link it necessarily to one location but what has accompanied me a lot during my lockdown walks – strangely enough - is Renaissance and Baroque music. Things like Thomas Tallis and John Dowland – I’ve been digging deeper into the DNA of why I like certain types of music and I’ve found I really like Baroque music so it must be somewhere down there in my ancestral memory somewhere.

If I had to choose one, I would say Henry Purcell When I am Laid in Earth. I defy anybody who has a soul not to have a tear in their eye by the end of that song. It is the most beautiful lyric and music – and I would attach that to my walks in Regents Park.

What are your hopes for music and its audiences in a post pandemic world?

That people take their large scale consumption of music during lockdown and go and see performances live. I’d also urge people who aren’t really familiar with classical music or chamber music to try that out because it personally gives me a huge amount of pleasure. Not to regard it as a class orientated thing and just go and appreciate the music. In terms of new music, I’d like to hope that new forms will emerge from the greater consumption of different types of music – more hybrids. I also urge people to support artists as they are really struggling at the moment.

To find out more about Martyn’s work, visit his Illustrious Company website and follow him on Twitter. And do check out Martyn's fantastic podcast series, Electronically Yours.

To be the first to read our latest artist interviews, news and projects, join Sound UK's mailing list and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

19 May 21

High Street Sound Walks this September



High Street Sounds Walks image

We are delighted to be working with Historic England and the National Trust to launch a series of self-guided, immersive sound walks to help people discover the magic of their local high streets.

We are producing new Sound Walks for six High Street Heritage Action Zones across England during Heritage Open Days, from 10-19 September 2021.

Each sound walk will be a distinctive, immersive soundscape to take listeners on a journey of discovery. They will bring hidden histories and stories to life, helping people to see their high street in a new light. Listeners will take a self-guided route, supported by an illustrated map created by artists for each place. The walks will encourage people to slow down, pause and reflect, and to experience their environment in a new way.

Sound artists will work with communities to collect stories so that each sound walk is informed by and represents authentic local voices and experiences. These works will connect listeners with the people, past and present, that have made their high street what it is today, transforming the everyday into something magical.

The six sound walks will be launched as part of Heritage Open Days and will be available online and in accessible formats.

Locations and Artists


Anna Maria Murphy, Sue Hill and Ciaran Clarke will explore layers of time to unlock the fascinating strata of sound, voice and story within the high street. Produced in association with Carn to Cove.

Aundre Goddard and Richard Bentley’s engaging sound walk combines music, audio drama and outdoor museum spaces. Produced in association with CultureMix, Readipop and Reading Borough Council.

Great Yarmouth
Great Yarmouth is a place of contrast and diversity, and nowhere is this more apparent than on its high street. Oliver Payne’s sound walk aims to capture the charm of this enigmatic place. Produced in association with originalprojects and Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Sandra Kazlauskaite
will incorporate a collage of aural histories, archives and local residents’ memories to tell a story about the histories of the high street. Produced in association with Emilie Nunn and South Kesteven District Council.

Dan Fox
will embrace the diversity of people in Barrow. Listeners will explore the landmarks of work and play on the high street including iconic shops, businesses and the clubs of Cornwallis Street, alongside civic events like cycle races, and the centenary of the town hall. Produced in association with Full of Noises.

Jez Riley French
’s sound walk explores the positive subculture and community histories of Whitefriargate within living memories, the rich trading and social history of the street, combined with it's fascinating but often hidden, overlooked or usually inaudible sounds. Produced in association with Absolutely Cultured.

We will share more details on each Sound Walk, the composers and the partners involved over the coming months.

For more details, visit:

High Street Sound Walks is a commission by Historic England, National Trust and Heritage Open Days with support from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and produced by Sound UK. It is part of the High Streets Heritage Action Zones Cultural Programme, led by Historic England.

30 Apr 21

20 Artists for 20 Years: Gavin Bryars

Gavin Bryars

Working with Gavin Bryars is something of a dream come true. His recording of The Sinking of The Titanic in a French water tower came out around the time I had my first job after Uni. It’s got to be one of my all-time favourite recordings and left a lasting impression on me about how music and its context can transport the listener. I spoke to Gavin recently about his work including his new Sound UK and Junction, Goole commission Above Water. - Maija

Where do the two Sound UK commissions The Stopping Train and Above Water sit amongst your incredible breadth of artistic work?

I think they’re quite special. It brought me back to my hometown. Working on The Stopping Train was a project that brought me back to a place that I love. I had been back occasionally to visit family and for the football, but not very much. That project gave me a reason to go back there and think about the place a little bit and what it means. I have very fond memories of my life in Goole. I lived there uninterrupted until I went to University in Sheffield aged 18.

There’s a strangeness to the place, it’s completely flat, but there’s a very powerful central image of the river which really everything in Goole relates to. It has this powerful physical location which I am very fond of. Working on The Stopping Train and Above Water were very important pieces for me. Two of the most personal. They have a very special place in my output.

You’ve talked about your inspiration behind Above Water being your home town Goole and the late Eric Lawton, is there anything else that inspired the piece?

Oh lots. There’s lots of things about Goole that inspired it. Eric died a year ago, so I wanted to remember him as he epitomises the goodness of the people of Goole. There are the places I knew as a child. We lived next to the river and my dad kept goats. It was very homely. The docks where we used to play. All those spaces are very evocative to me. In a way I always feel that when I come back to visit Goole Town everything comes together there because Goole Town just hasn’t changed at all. It has a wonderful name for the football ground. It’s called the Victoria Pleasure Ground. That has the real feeling of Goole. Just the whole feeling of the place. For me Goole is special as it has a deep personal history.

You’ve written the song for local groups, Reads Warblers and Armthorpe Elmfield Brass Band. How did that inform the song?

I was aware that they were amateur musicians. In fact, brass band players from South Yorkshire and East Yorkshire are as good as professional players. They are fantastic players. The brass band world has its social context in the mining communities. The mines are only about 10 miles from Goole. One of my first jobs was in a working men’s club which was run by miners. That culture is very strong.

I knew that the singers were amateurs and most don’t read music. The way in which they perform, and their background and the kind of music that they know and would be able to sing helped to informed me. It’s a communal thing where everyone is helping each other. Everything was done in in discussion with Reads Warblers and Armthorpe Elmfield Brass Band.

Any lasting memories or impact on your practice?

There were things I learnt about the kind of ways in which you work together with people, the collaborations and the network of people involved. There were a lot of special connections such as meeting Terrence Smith for the first time – the youngest mayor in the country - 19 years old. He’s someone who personifies the character of Goole. A positive wholehearted person devoted to working for people there.

We’ve just launched an artist R&D programme, how important is it to support artists through R&D and commissioning?

I think it’s vital. I came through the hard way where I didn’t have that. I developed music by being a player. I studied music by writing it, so I learned on the job. In those days, we had no support of any kind. I think my development would have been a lot faster if I’d had support earlier on. But if you keep your feet on the ground, an open mind and a warm spirit you’ll go a long way.

You have the most amazing career. Is there anything that stands out for you that you are particularly proud of?

I don’t really take a lot of pride in any of it really. I would never push myself forward and say this is great. In fact, I remember working with my ensemble and after a new piece I’d say ‘Ahh I don’t want to do this one again’ and they would encourage and say ‘no, we like it we want to do it again’ but I had to be persuaded.

There are some pieces like Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet which is a very early piece. I’ve grown to respect this piece more and more. To do it in different contexts and realise what it can mean to many people. I’ve done it hundreds of times, and every time I start playing it and that voice starts unaccompanied I’m still touched by it. It’s 50 years since I first heard that voice and it still touches me.

I think a recent piece Native Hill ultimately meant a lot more to me than any others. It was a very big piece, about an hour long, 24 voices, very complicated. And it the middle of writing the whole thing my daughter’s partner died suddenly in the middle of the night while my daughter was 5 months pregnant. The day I finished this piece was the day the baby was born. The recording came out April 9th 2021. It has a lot of resonance.

I see them all as pretty much equal though. Some are larger scale, some involve more work, more research sometimes. Some take me to areas where I’m unfamiliar like Above Water and The Stopping Train.

Apart from this new recording, what are your other plans for 2021?

I do have a concert in Cambridge in July and some things later in the autumn. I have projects and commissions to write and will have some more ballets next year. Things will go on. Oddly enough after more than a year at home I have two concerts in June on the other side of the world - when I conduct in Tasmania!!!

What are your hopes for music and its audiences in a post pandemic world?

I don’t think anything will be the same again. I think there’s a greater respect for human fragility and greater discretion and care in the things you do. I think travelling less will become more of the norm. I think I would feel slightly uncomfortable travelling too much, I think I would cut that down like a lot of other people will do.

A Song for East Riding, Above Water by Gavin Bryars is now live. Listen here

29 Mar 21

Meet the new Sound Generator artists

Sound Gen artists 2021 all 6

Sound UK's new artist development programme, Sound Generator, reveals its first artists.

Following an open call, a panel of judges, including leading figures across music, chose six artists at the forefront of sound and music.

Each artist is in the first 5-10 years of their career. Over the next six months, they will be supported by a range of professionals to develop an innovative idea ready for showcasing to the industry. These range from sonic sculptures to opera exploring racism against Chinese communities. DJ/turntablism to a multi-sensory installation inspired by our environment.

The aim? Exciting new work for you to discover in the future.


Natalie Sharp is at the forefront of what The Quietus described as ’New Weird Britain’: “a new wave of underground musicians, creating immersive worlds for their audiences to participate in.

Jordan Edge works at the intersection of experience design, sound art and fictional worlds.

Alex Ho is an award-winning British-Chinese composer and co-director of Tangram, an artist collective celebrating the vitality of Chinese cultures.

NikNak is devoted to developing her distinctive practice as a DJ & Turntablist, sound artist/composer.

Lori E Allen and Deborah Wale are inter-disciplinary artists working in soundscape, performance, spoken word, experimental composition, illustration and printing.

Chisara Agor is an inter-disciplinary artist whose work spans music, theatre, film and art.

Find out more

Sound Generator is funded by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation. Sound UK is delighted to announce it is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner supported by PPL.

22 Mar 21

First County Songs now live!

A Song for Us

A Song for South Yorkshire

A nationwide project marking this historic time, A Song for Us celebrates our communities and the power of music to bring us together. This Is The Kit & Bucky (Bristol), Seth Lakeman (Devon), Skinny Pelembe (South Yorkshire) and Gwenno (Cornwall) have written new songs inspired by the people of their county.

Performed by local choirs and musicians, the first four new songs are live now to watch at, marking the first anniversary of lockdown 1. Gavin Bryars’ song for East Riding will premiere in April, and thanks to funding from Arts Council England, a further ten new songs will premiere throughout the year until March 2022.



A Song for Cornwall - Meur ras dhia Gernow (Thank you from Kernow) by Gwenno. Performed by Kernow Bedroom Choir and singers from across Cornwall.

A Song for Devon - How We Remember by Seth Lakeman.
Performed by Seth and singers from across Devon, including Wren Music’s choirs and Barnstaple Community Choir

A Song for Bristol - Trousers Optional by This is The Kit & Bucky
Performed by This is The Kit, Bucky and The Fantasy Orchestra

A Song for South Yorkshire – Field Notes #2 by Skinny Pelembe
Performed by Rainbow Connection and The Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra

THANK YOU! We have had over 200 original songs and tracks added to the music map. It's really wonderful listening to your choices and discovering what these songs mean to you. Take some time out and listen to the uplifting and moving musical time capsule here.

#ASongForUs #LetsCreate

Image credit: A Song for South Yorkshire, Rainbow Connection and Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra

24 Feb 21

20 Artists for 20 Years: Arve Henriksen

Arve Henriksen 2

Places of Worship - Anastasia Isachsen

Arve Henriksen, was one of the first artists Sound UK worked with and I think we’ve done at least 11 projects with him. We caught up over the new café table that is Zoom…

Polly: I can remember my first encounter with the Norwegian scene, you were the first Norwegian artist I encountered, well you and Thomas Stronen, Mats Eilertsen in Iain Ballamy’s Food. Your sound completely blew me away, and the way you, Thomas and Mats interacted was just so different to any of the jazz I’d heard. I know so many of your peers came out of Trondheim.

Arve: I was in Trondheim for four years. I’d trained to be a teacher and I was teaching, leading projects. But in Trondheim I found all these band projects which I could slot into. Collaborations with Ståle Storløkken, Jarle Vespestad, Trygve Seim etc, but also meeting people from outside the conservatory like Iain Ballamy who wrote these amazing compositions which I could come in, we’d improvise, then a tune would come in. A fantastic collaboration between composition and improvisation skills.

Polly: The tour with Food and Farmers Market was a massive jumping off point for me. After that tour, the Norwegian Embassy sent me to Molde Jazz Festival where you were playing with Supersilent. I couldn’t believe what I heard there. It was so exciting I remember hardly sleeping I was buzzing so much. You were an artist I really wanted to work with. And not only you, but there were so many exciting artists and bands, I realised we’d have to put on several tours, and even a festival to do any kind of justice to the scene.

Arve: I really remember that «Midnight Sun» tour with Supersilent in 2003 on a triple bill with singer Sidsel Endresen and electronics / DJ Strangefruit. It was such an intense tour. I remember playing in Belfast where the audience were pretty raucous. We were playing really loudly, trying to play over them. Then I just thought ok, I can’t handle this, I have to take a risk here. So I got up on a bar stool, and incredibly quietly, started to sing acoustically. Slowly but surely, the crowd were settled down.

Then there was the Supersilent gig at 93 Feet East, as part of Fertilizer (Good Sh*t from Norway). We were really going for it, coming to the end. We’re really building up, Jarle Vespestad’s double kick drum powering us, and it’s incredibly intense and as we hit the first beat of a bar, the security guard has decided we’ve hit curfew and pulled the mains from the whole PA! At least he had good timing...

Anyway, a very inspiring tour and fantastic to be able to perform together with creative searching artists meeting an audience hungry for this type of music. 

What has it meant to have Sound UK’s support?

Arve: I didn’t know much about the British scene when I first came over. Loved the album Django Bates and Sidsel Endresen ‘So I write’, and I knew Bill Bruford’s ‘Earth Works’. Looking back on it now, every time I came over - organised by you – we just had such a fantastic response. If you google my name, the reviews that come up, so many are from the UK. I have never achieved such a response as I got in the UK. It has to be the number one country. And that has to do with the music and the scene, but because of Sound UK, for the tours and festivals you organised.

How important do you think supporting artists, commissioning is etc?

It’s so important, now, it’s the only way for me to make new projects happen. The movement over to streaming has decimated artists’ income. I have 100’s of thousands of listeners on Spotify. But my income compared to royalties from CDs, is about 10% of what it was before streaming. If each of my listeners just paid 1 NOK to me, I could just work on so many projects. Instead, I have to now spend the time applying for funding to try and make these projects happen.

What have you been up to these last few years?

Well actually something not music based...I’m working with a writer on a book project, about a painter Rolv Muri who was born 100 years ago this year, in my home village Stryn. Even some of the locals don’t know about him. I remember seeing him cycling around the village, a little worse for wear on the beer. He was just known as this weird character. I think this is part of the danger of staying in a small-town environment and at the same time be an artist working with some kind of abstract art. I really like working on something local, whilst still connecting internationally.

But musically, as you know, I’ve worked a lot with Trio Mediaeval for several years, still playing with Supersilent, collaborations with Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset and Erik Honoré in the Punkt concept, being a member of Sinikka Langeland ́s Star Flowers, collaborations with different artists such as Fennesz, David Kollar, Harmen Fraanje, Peter Schwalm, Jakob Bro, Janne Mark, Jan Heinke and Demian Kappenstein among others. And this last year in lockdown I’ve been really busy with loads of recording projects on, about 7 or 8 different albums for other people.

At the moment I’m working now and then at the Music Academy in Gothenburg, tutoring trumpet players and others with focus on improvisation.

What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?

I have a few albums due out in 2021. The latest album «Walhalla Hotel» was released on my own label Arve Music and is now available on the Bandcamp platform. Concerts with Tord Gustavsen, festival collaborations coming up with Karin Nakagawa, Eirik Raude, some concerts with Jakob Bro and Jorge Rossy commission music together with Sigurd Hole and The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Pekka Kuusisto, concerts and releases with Supersilent and more. I definitely hope to be back in the UK before too long.

Image credit: Places of Worship, Arve Henriksen

01 Feb 21

Help create a music map of the country

A Song for Us

Help create a music map of the country

A Song for Us is a national music project that celebrates our communities during the pandemic. Can you help create a music map of the country to mark this time?

Share a track that has special meaning and add it to the music map online at

Everyone can be creative. Budding songwriters, this is an opportunity to share your creativity by making your own song about this period. Add it to the music map online at

From 23 March, new songs celebrating our communities by leading songwriters and composers will also premiere online at These include Gavin Bryars, Skinny Pelembe, Seth Lakeman, This Is The Kit & Bucky and Gwenno.

A Song for Us was picked as one of Daily Telegraph’s Hot 100 to look forward to in 2021.

#ASongForUs #LetsCreate

Submit your track or song

18 Jan 21

20 Artists for 20 Years: Elaine Mitchener

Elaine Mitchener

graphic scores

Project image Irma

Elaine Mitchener is an experimental vocalist, movement artist and composer. Her work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art. She has worked and performed with a truly mind-blowing range of leading musicians, composers, directors and visual artists. From Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa), Mark Padmore, Tansy Davies, to Christian Marclay and Apartment House.

We were privileged to work with Elaine on two projects that explored the fascinating world of music as art. Graphic Scores toured in 2013 and Tom Phillips RA’s sell-out Irma at South London Gallery, 2017.

Maija and Elaine caught up over zoom just before the end of 2020 to both look back and forward…

MH – lets start by looking back at Graphic Scores and Irma.

EM – Graphic Scores was a really wonderful project for me to be involved in. To work with people who I hadn’t worked with before but whose work I knew and respected.

The Graphic Scores tour presented me in front of different audiences as I’d been known primarily on the free-improv circuit (an excellent training ground for me). This project, along with performing Christian Marclay’s Manga Scroll and David Toop’s Star-Shaped Biscuit for Aldeburgh Festival, provided a platform into UK contemporary new music.

Irma was an incredibly quick turnaround and a roller-coaster ride (thanks Anton / Netia!!) with an incredible creative team and ensemble. Somehow we pulled it off (because we’re Pros!) and it was a really lovely project to participate in. I enjoyed working with the vocal quartet from EXAUDI also Josephine Stephenson who was great. We were all challenged in a good way.

I can’t quite believe it happened with three sold out performances and a waiting list for returns. Incredible!

MH – have either of these projects had any impact on your artistic practice?

EM - Being a team player. I love that. They also steered me to further develop my interests as a vocalist. For example, the experience of Graphic Scores helped with my interpretation of the score for Irma. I like to view performance experiences as building blocks.

The Graphic Scores tour, was very important in terms of physically managing on the road with a bunch of guys (who were delightful).

Because of my experience of promoting artists I do appreciate what you and Polly do in order to make things happen. You do it with such good humour and professionalism. I also appreciate a good tour manager – shout out to Tim Hand!

I want to say that Sound UK sounds bigger than it is. What I mean is I know that you don’t have a huge work force. So for your output, which is considerable and always of such a high standard, it’s fantastic what you’ve achieved and the opportunities you’ve provided for artists over the last 20 years.

MH - In between Irma and Graphic Scores, you’ve achieved amazing things, your own projects and others like Tansy Davies’ London Sinfonietta commission Cave which was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

EM - Thank you. Tansy was really interested in my work as an improvisor. She wanted to explore that as a composer and Mark Padmore wanted to do something contemporary. Cave was such fun to do and I loved working with Mark, Lucy Bailey, Nick Drake (librettist) and the London Sinfonietta conducted by Geoffrey Patterson.

Tansy’s music is complex and absorbing and inhabits a strange wonderful harmonic palette that’s familiar/unfamiliar coupkedd with tricky rhythms. She makes you work hard but luckily she understands my voice and writes beautifully for it. It was great to work with her again as one of the composer’s I commissioned for the Donaueschinger Musiktage project, On Being Human as Praxis, premiered in Oct 2020.

This was a project I conceived that commissioned five composers (Afro-diasporic and European) to write a piece for me, ensemble and two dancers. It was choreographed by Vietnamese-American choreographer Dam Van Huynh who I’ve worked with for 15 years. Due to corona they cancelled the project on the first day of rehearsals which was really tough. Not having been able to meet much before this, and for that to happen, summed up the experience of the pandemic for me. That said, we performed in camera and the work was broadcast on SWR and filmed.

My project Sweet Tooth (2017) is an important break out piece for me. It premiered in Liverpool (with a Radio 3 broadcast), with performances in London, Southampton, SPILL Festival Ipswich, and Museum of London Docklands, (where the statue was finally removed), it has gone to Borealis Festival, Bergen (March 2020) and hopefully in 2021 to Copenhagen. The video of the London premiere has been viewed quite a lot so the investment and support from visual arts commissioners has really paid off.
I’ve recently presented work for Marina Abramovic’s SkyArts takeover and it was bit surreal having a ‘normal’ conversation with her following an intense performance. I also compiled two programmes for BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show pre-and post Xmas specials (though the music’s not seasonal at all!) and created a short film for LCMF x Whitechapel Gallery’s online festival. It meant Oct-Dec was more active than I expected it to be given the situation for artists right now. I am thankful for the opportunities afforded me.

MH - You’re one of the judges on Sound UK’s new R&D programme Sound Generator, how important is it for artists to be able to test and try out new creative ideas?

EM - I think it’s vital. That’s the thing that’s been cut back even more. It was a pivotal part of realising Sweet Tooth. I think for any artist they need R&D time so you know what to sift, gives you breathing space and a time to think. Sharings are also really important. Without the pressure. You may only have 5 – 10 minutes of work to show but Q&A’s and conversations can be useful for processing. Just make GOOD and HONEST work!

MH - Finally, what does 2021 have in store for you?

EM - A lot will depend on Covid-19 and travel restrictions so I’m reluctant to say too much right now. If all goes well I should have a creative and productive 2021. I can mention that I’m showing work as part of British Art Show 9 and as a musician the idea of presenting work within this visual arts context is very exciting!

Photo credit Dimitri Djuric

06 Jan 21

WE ARE 20!

We Are 20 - 20 Years of Extraordinary Music

We hope the New Year finds you and your family well.

2021 is special for Sound UK as we celebrate 20 years of bringing you extraordinary music. We’re marking this milestone throughout the year. This includes 20 Artists for 20 Years, which shines a spotlight on key artists in Sound UK’s life. First up is the incredible Elaine Mitchener later this month…

To kick off our 20th birthday celebrations, we hope you enjoy this 60 second film about our work. 

Keep well,
Polly, Maija and Chloe

16 Dec 20

A new programme to support artists

Sound Generator

Sound UK launch new programme to support artists

Sound Generator is a new R&D programme that develops UK artists and the work they present.

Each year, it will enable 6 early-career artists to test and develop bold new ideas, supported by a national network of industry experts.

The programme is aimed at artists pushing the boundaries of contemporary music. Those working within, but not exclusively, jazz, sound, folk, classical, and electronic music, plus all points in between.

Sound Generator offers a space for artists to develop and test ambitious ideas for you to enjoy in the future.

Guidelines, information and how to apply here. Deadline for applications 5th Feb 2021.

Sound Generator is supported by Arts Council England and PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund.

16 Nov 20

Blog: Producer thoughts

A Song for Us

Find out more about the ideas and thoughts behind A Song For Us from producer, Polly Eldridge. 

During the first lockdown, and news of so many people being affected by the pandemic, I started to imagine their favourite music. How if a track represented them, it would create this incredible collage of songs capturing the different ages, cultures, tastes.

It also struck me how we associate certain music with certain events. Songs that brought people together during world wars, movements or just at special times of the year like Christmas. Music can encompass complicated feelings of sorrow, joy, hope, solidarity.

We wanted to help keep artists working. To continue showing them that they were valued and needed, despite not being able to perform. We hope A Song for Us does all these things. That artists reconnect with people through creating a new work for them. That people come together to share in performing, writing, and hearing their community’s favourite music.

11 Nov 20

New playlist tracks added


Sound News

New playlist pic 2

We've added a few new tracks to our home working playlist for you listen to. Ft. This Is The Kit, Donald Byrd, Duval Timothy + more.

Listen Here

11 Nov 20

Sonic Journeys autumn 2020


Sound News

Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison

What are Sonic Journeys?
Sonic Journeys are soundtracks created for a specific journey. If there's a journey you love this autumn, why not create a piece of music inspired by it? All you need is your phone and access to GarageBand or voice recording apps. Once recorded you can then upload it to our Sonic Journeys website for others to experience.

Check out workshop leader and artist Tania Holland Williams’ Sonic Journey creating tips below.

1. Release yourself from worrying about how far along the line you are as a sound artist or composer. There is no right or wrong version of the journey you want to capture. The only thing you really need is a desire to communicate your journey through sound and technology that is found on most phones.

2. Consider a journey that you do everyday…
There is something about the accumulative weight of repeating the same journey that might be worth exploring in sound.

3. Some people start a creative sound piece with words, others with sound capture, some with a graphic design, others with a concept for what they are trying to build. It’s worth knowing your preference and trying out a number of different starting points - so that if you do get stuck in the creative process, you will have some other skills to draw on.

4. If you tend to create in a certain style - for example slow moving, calm pieces - set yourself a challenge of going on a journey that is more edgy and trying to capture that discomfort. The more you know about your preferred writing style the more challenges you can give yourself and the more you will grow as a creative.

5. Identify a journey where you have time to listen rather than one where you are with people you like to chat to or where you generally listen to music. We very rarely take time to listen to our world.

6. Listen in different directions - our ears help us by giving us a sense of the perspective and landscape of the world. See how much distance, depth you can hear when you listen up/down; left/right; in front/behind.

7. Set yourself the challenge of using a sound you’ve never used before when you are creating. Even if it ultimately is not the right sound for your piece - you will have added another sound colour to your palette.

For those that would like to create and share their own Sonic Journey, we are inviting online submissions of music, or music and video, to local journeys that you find personally inspiring.


28 Sep 20

Interview with Sarah Nicolls


Sound News

Ice 12 Years

Powerful new musical story 12 Years, named after climate warnings from the IPCC, tours online with 12 streams from 8 – 25 October 2020.The innovative composition is inspired by activist Greta Thunberg, wild fires, melting ice and how differently people are responding to the increasingly regular news. Sarah Nicolls combines music played on her vertical Inside-Out piano with recorded speech, tracing the emotional journey of two sisters, exploring their perceptions of global warming through fact and fiction.

Tell us about the inspiration behind 12 Years.

12 Years was written in 2018 following the IPCC special report about the impact of 1.5°c global warming on the planet. Climate scientists projected that annual emissions needed to be halved by 2030 stay within this level. In the same year Greta Thunberg initiated her school strike in Sweden and subsequently publicised her call to action as a TED talk.

What effect did scientific warnings about global warming have on you?

Giving the human race 12 years to halve emissions seemed like a pretty stark deadline to me, especially as my son would turn 18 in 2030, and I felt compelled to bring this information into my work. I felt an urgent response to the IPCC report and as a pianist this resulted in writing a new recital. I wanted to put the piano and the environment together to see what would happen.

Can you explain the narrative of 12 Years?

This show is a journey for both the audience and my fictional characters. It begins with the deadline – what does 12 (now 10) years feel like? I weave news headlines and interviews about environmental changes into a story about Lara, an Extinction Rebellion activist and her much less political sister Fran. We listen into their phone conversations and their different responses to climate change. As the story unfolds, we go on the journey with Fran as her perceptions towards global warming begin to alter. I wanted to discuss environmental themes (both climate-related and ecological) in a recital without being preachy.

How is 12 Years structured?

There are 12 tracks in the piece, which reflect the idea of a countdown to 2030. Each track has a different theme, and these include the Camp Fire, which blazed across California in 2018, destroying the town of Paradise. We hear the voices of survivors from this fire as they escape, which killed 85 people. One track focuses on the sound of a melting glacier and the penultimate track features Greta Thunberg. I was interested in how her voice and the urgency of her speech has changed since her first TED talk, with speeches at the DAVOS World Economic Forum and the UN. Finally, we’re urged to consider how we feel, striving for hope and action. My intention is to bring the climate and ecological emergency into an emotional space.

Describe your Inside-Out piano.

It is like a grand piano tipped up, so the strings are vertical. I play the strings, strum and pluck them like a guitar or harp. I also hit the strings percussively, using a glass ball to make amazing sliding sounds or a rubber ball to get the sound of a whale underwater. I’m always thinking in pictures and 12 Years is a multi-sensory experience: I considered how to make sounds so that you would feel like you’re near a wildfire or a glacier. Fortunately, the piano is so expressive and resonant that it can do all of these things!

There are some amazing people joining you for post-show Zoom chats. Tell us more about them.

I am so thrilled with the guest speakers and their input is extremely valuable. Following an hour of listening and thinking, my audiences will be able to have an open conversation with the experts. Speakers include Prof. Richard Betts MBE, leader of Climate Impacts at the MET Office, Prof Richard Pancost, Director of the Cabot Institute, Craig Hutton, Professor of Sustainability Science, University of Southampton, Dr Liz Bagshaw, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University and Dr Sarah Mander from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

‘Sounds of hope’ emerge towards the end of the performance. How hopeful are you that the global climate crisis can be averted?

I feel that it is my job as a parent of two children to be hopeful and I believe in our capacity to be empathetic and caring. If people understand what scientists are telling us, and what our options are, along with what trajectories look like, then we can change our impact on the earth. I believe that what is good for the planet is good for us: walking or cycling more, sharing more, being community-minded, thinking local in terms of food production. I do think a fairer society is possible and necessary.

Tell us about your Future Piano.

This is an amazing lightweight piano that will be built this year. It will be the same shape as the ‘Inside-Out Piano’ but an entirely new piano constructed from lightweight composite materials with the help of extraordinary engineering. It will still be able to be played as a normal piano and give the sound of a grand piano, but in the space of an upright piano. What is revolutionary about Future Piano is that it will weigh less than 100kg and it will be possible to split it in half and easily reassemble it. I will be able to carry it upstairs with a friend!

What affect will Future Piano have for you personally?

It will make touring so much easier but also means the amount of venues where live piano can be played suddenly opens up. It also means people can choose to move a piano to different rooms in their home. My fantasy is that I will be able to put it in the guard’s van of a train someday: so touring has a much lower carbon footprint. I see my role as trying to make the piano less cumbersome and less historic. To keep this amazing instrument alive and acoustic – with strings – is my dream


Artwork: Kate Dressekie

17 Sep 20

The Power of Music


Sound News

ACIGC news size

Whilst we’ve been quiet over the past few months, we’ve been busy working out how best to bring extraordinary musical encounters to you and others across the country. Like many, the majority of our 2020 programme has had to be postponed - with exciting plans now afoot for 2021. However, this October we are delighted to bring Inside-Out pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls’ original 12 Years to you via a digital ‘tour’ announced last week. 

As a direct response to the world we now inhabit, we will soon be launching a new project that celebrates our communities through music. A Song for Us aims to capture the solidarity that emerged during the clap for carers, the extraordinary response to the NHS volunteer army and the small acts of kindness between neighbours. It will recognise the nationwide losses we have experienced, whether at a distance or personally. Above all it celebrates the power of music to bring us all together.

You can sign up to our mailing list for updates. Sign up on our homepage. 

More soon,
Polly, Maija, Chloe

Photo credit: Paul@framedog, A Change is Gonna Come 2019 - Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Lady Sanity, Camilla George, Renell Shaw, Rod Youngs

07 Sep 20

Blog: Sarah Nicolls


Sound News

sarah trailer

Words by Sarah Nicolls 

What a lively time to be re-launching the tour of my #12yearspiano piece about the climate and ecological emergency! As XR fill the streets with protests on so many different issues relating to global heating, pollution and corruption, people are again talking about the planet in a way which for months we haven’t – hiding in lockdown bubbles or simply trying to survive the months of pandemic paralysis and personal traumas.

We are deliberately doing the rest of this tour online because none of us know how the next weeks will go. A doubling of Covid-19 cases in the last 2 days only highlights this but it is so important that we do get back to talking about the climate crisis and the ecological breakdown that’s happening.

I’ve seen over this summer many eminent scientists and activists arguing over just how severe the situation is. Will we reach 3 degrees or 5 by the end of the century? Will our children face food shortages, or will we? Are people already dying from human-caused climate change or not? The fact is, surely whoever is most accurate, these are troubling things to have to even discuss. We should surely want to stop any temperature rise for our entire planet, as it creates conditions which have never been seen in the times inhabited by humans. Isn’t that reason enough to cry for change? Shouldn’t we get on with doing everything we can to cut emissions? Just in case?

I have aimed in my piece to raise these kinds of questions. It is a piece which aims to involve you emotionally. It’s a piece of music and text which aims to get you actively thinking about where you stand, which asks you to consider the facts and what we should be doing about it. It’s a piece which listens in on different opinions and which seeks both to alert you but also to fill you with hopeful energy.

I would be honoured if you would listen in, watch online – see my incredible #insideoutpiano and hear the amazing sounds it makes. Listen to the words of experts and of two sisters talking on the phone. Audiences so far have found the piece challenging and provoking but also inspiring and uplifting. Book now to stream in October and thank you for the support – we are all facing massive uncertainty right now in terms of future careers, so your commitment to being an audience member is hugely valued!

Share with your friends and also come along to one of the discussion nights. I am thrilled to have expert scientists to help us unravel the truth and what to do about it. You can listen to Richard Betts on my podcast here to get started.

Thanks to SOUND UK, my producers and to all the venues for keeping the faith and supporting the tour.


30 Mar 20

New Playlist


Sound News

New playlist pic 2

A new 'Home Working' playlist from us bringing together some of our favourite artists to help us through these times. Ft. Arve Henriksen, KOKOROKO, Dorothy Ashby and much more... 

Listen here

18 Mar 20

Coronavirus Sound UK update


Sound News

sound uk funding news

In response to the current evolving COVID-19 situation, we are working with Sarah Nicolls and venues and hope to offer a digital alternative to 12 Years ticket bookers in Gateshead and London. Unfortunately, Spiro & Synergy Vocals tour dates in London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Oxford are postponed. For any of our events affected by COVID-19, ticket bookers will be contacted by the venue box office.

We look forward to updating you on rescheduled dates and future projects when we can. For now, keep an eye on our social channels and where we hope to inspire, educate and entertain by sharing content from artists, labels, DJs we love and offer moments to escape in these uncertain times.

Keep well and take care,
Polly, Maija and Chloe

02 Mar 20

12 Years trailer


Sound News

‘Nicolls is a genuinely “edgy Brit”, and what she does should be happening every week of the year.’ The Guardian

12 Years 
Sarah Nicolls

Touring 21 March - 24 October 


Acclaimed pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls' new Inside-Out Piano project 12 Years was inspired by the 2018 IPCC Special Report that said we had just 12 years to radically change our behaviour to save the planet.

With her striking vertical grand piano, Nicolls combines original music and recorded speech in a compelling performance. Piano melodies and textures interweave with phone calls between three fictional characters challenging each other to either worry less or do more. We hear from environmental experts, survivors escaping from a wildfire and a glacier melting, eloquent speeches from Greta Thunberg and finally the sound of hope emerging.

Sarah and leading climate scientists/activists local to each venue invite audiences to share thoughts and possible actions in a post show chat.

“This should be prescribed viewing/watching/listening for anyone even remotely concerned with the welfare of our planet.” Ciaran Ryan, Galway Jazz Festival


01 Mar 20

BLOG: Pee Wee Ellis


Sound News

Funk project image

PW Bambooka

Renowned saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis tells us more about Funk: A Music Revolution and working with James Brown...

Can you tell us a bit more about the project Funk: A Music Revolution who’s involved and the inspiration behind it?

Well the project is curated by myself and China Moses, and I am leading a fantastic band and guests, Omar, China of course, Daru Jones on drums, Dan Moore on keys, the ubiquitous Tony Remy on guitar, MBE Dennis Rollins playing trombone and bright young star of the London jazz scene Camilla George on alto sax, plus dancers and all kinds of funky stuff.

We feel it’s really important that a wider audience understands the fundamental influence of funk music in the history and development of popular music - and what more fun way to show that than with a show chronicling the great music that tells its own story.

Tell us about your time working with James Brown and co-writing Say it loud! I'm black and I'm proud

It was a very exciting time, a real pleasure and watching Mr. Brown work every night was a constant lesson in the art of live entertainment. It was hard work and a gruelling schedule, criss crossing the USA on a tour bus, recording, rehearsing every day, playing constantly, even travelling overseas. I had my own seat at the back of the bus where I wrote a lot of music and arrangements. I would rehearse the band on the way to the next gig so they had the next tune ready for Mr Brown when we got to the venue. A lot of iconic songs came out of those times, notably Say It Loud ......

In your opinion in what way has funk influenced popular music over the past 60 years?

From a technical perspective, you can follow it through the use of rhythmic horn lines, repetitive phrases and bass led focal points. For most listeners, it’s a feel, an energy, the way the that bass bounce makes you feel like moving. There are the obvious heirs - George Clinton and Parliament, Average White Band, The Ohio Players, Fred Wesley and the New JB’s to name a few – but then its influence has permeated way beyond that. We hear it in Prince, Kool and the Gang, Salt n Pepa, Tribe Called Quest, Arrested Development, Digable Planets along with so many other hip hop artists of the 80s and 90s. Sampling of funk riffs became such an intrinsic part of the sound of early hip hop and even pop, and we still hear and feel its presence now with songs like Uptown Funk. But alongside those musical structures that create an identifiable funky feel, it was a music that heralded a new attitude; a new and distinctive black culture, of street culture finding confidence and popularity outside and alongside the establishment. Sweeping into mainstream consciousness during the Civil Rights movement was unlike anything people had heard and its positive energy united a new generation making them proud of their musical, fashion and political tastes

At the shows the audience should expect to be reminded of some of their favourite music and will be surprised how present it still is in the music they love today.

Funk: A Music Revolution toured 29 Feb - 4 March 2020.  

29 Feb 20

Re-working 12 Years for 2020


Sound News

Sarah Nicolls 12 Years

A re-post from Sarah Nicolls website

Sun 5th January: When I wrote this work, climate news was not part of our daily language or narrative. Currently, Australia is experiencing its worst ever bushfire season – most hectares burnt – and it is only the beginning of that season. It is thought 500 million animals may already have died. Massive floods have killed tens and displaced thousands in Indonesia. Flash floods in Israel have killed people. Fishlake in the UK experienced traumatic flooding before Christmas. The Amazon has seen a catastrophic increase in fires. The Thwaites glacier is retreating much faster than predicted. The planetary situation has already changed beyond recognition since we were first alarmed at the IPCC report, the one where they said we only had 12 years left to halve emissions, to stay within the possibility of 1.5 degrees of warming. 1.5 would now be a good news story. The climate scientists seem now to be saying 3-4 degrees is likely by the end of the century if we carry on as normal. And are our leaders doing anything about it? Trump is doing his own political assassinations. Boris Johnson is on holiday in the Caribbean. #scottyfrommarketing really seems to be doing almost everything he can to look the opposite to an empathetic human being, let alone leader.

So, what of my characters? What of my story? Last year, I was experiencing shock and discovery. I was going through utter surprise, disbelief and then, quite quickly, grief. Now I don’t feel surprised at all but I do still feel anxious as the numbers seem to rise against us. 4 degrees by the end of this century would seem to confirm my personal darkest fears that our kids shouldn’t have her own children. The world would just not be safe enough. So, no time to give up, then!

If the aim of my show is to move people along a notch, help them think, give them time, educate a little but also inspire, then how best to do that? In the first rendition, Fran goes on her own journey. She is quirky, funny, a bit ridiculous but ultimately just a normal woman, living as best she can and enjoying the current luxuries which seemed, until about 18 months ago, fair enough (if you could afford them) and spoken about without concern: flying to exotic locations, eating meat, buying luxury without questioning the provenance of it. Some of this almost seems old hat – but is that only to me? I read an unusual amount of environmental news. What is a ‘normal’ level of perception? Most people have surely now heard of Greta (apart from the actress who answered “Sharon” in the BBC quiz show!): when I first began writing her track, she was not the icon she is now, with her little book at every Waterstones’ Christmas till. Many in the UK probably saw David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts and most will also have seen the Extinction Rebellion protestor being pulled from the roof of the tube train (how one man wrecks a movement.. but that’s another story).

So, don’t my characters need also to have moved on, then? Can Fran still exclaim that Extinction Rebellion sounds like a heavy metal band if even my mum has heard of them? And in a horrible parallel, even the Camp Fire in Paradise has found a new update as the Australian fires approach Eden.

So, how will I update the phone calls between Fran and Lara? How will their different levels of involvement in the climate crisis still ring true but in the newer context of 2020, not 2018? And will the new headlines that I insert sound even worse than the last ones, or more of the same slide into apocalypse?

One thing is sure. I now have a lot more experience of what happens after people decide to engage. Although many will have only seen the disastrous XR tube protest, I took days out to witness a lot of very thoughtful and passionately delivered protests in London, where people not only put their bodies on the line but also collected in groups meaningful to them: professionals for XR, scientists for XR, even nursing mothers for XR who blocked the Google offices. I’ve also experienced first-hand the very direct and personal connections which are springing from a new shared purpose. Like a crowd appearing from nowhere, the amount of people globally who are calling out the climate crisis and their demand that we face up to it and do radical things right now are all seeing and finding each other and this is creating an incredible connectedness. I have a lot of new friends, despite actually being a very reticent protestor myself (I prefer to interview people, make music and attempt to talk to strangers about it all, rather than directly face off to the police).

I hope I’ll do Fran, Lara and Aidan justice, then. But part of me just really isn’t ready to change Aidan yet. I don’t think he’s actually ready yet, either.


03 Feb 20

Funk Foundations Playlist


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Funk project image

Listen to Pee Wee's and China's Funk Foundations playlist ft. James Brown, Parliament, Teena Marie...

Listen now

Find out more about Funk: A Music Revolution here

12 Dec 19

JUST ANNOUNCED! FUNK: A Music Revolution


Sound News

China Moses

Curated by James Brown’s MD, renowned saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and singer China Moses, FUNK: A Music Revolution celebrates funk’s influence from its early days to latest sounds.

“From 1967 when Mr. Brown and I wrote "Cold Sweat" until today, Funk has been woven into the DNA of popular music. We want to tell that story.” - Pee Wee Ellis

Originating in the mid ‘60s, funk was a natural permutation of the exhilarating jazz and soul scenes that had flourished over the previous decades. It drew on soul, jazz and R & B, but added bold syncopations and prominent bass lines that were to send the dance floors wild. In James Brown these tantalising musical developments found their perfect manifestation, and with his unique voice, charisma and unapologetic racial pride Brown signified a pivotal point in music. The mantel was taken up by the inimitable George Clinton whose doo wop band the Parliaments morphed into Parliament, adding gospel, rock n roll to the intoxicating mix and solidifying funk as a genre in itself. Through the ‘70s the movement continued via Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Le Chic, and many others, a soundtrack to the social evolution of black civil rights and a bridge between music and society. Whilst some – Prince amongst others – continued to progress the music, the earworms of the 70s also became the samples of the late 80s and 90s hip hop artists – think Eminem’s sample of Labi Siffre’s I Got The...



Image credit: China Moses

03 Dec 19

Reflect Project Film now live


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In October 2019, two specially curated weekends of sound, light, music and art brought local communities, regional and international artists together to explore the connection between coastal living and wellbeing.

Through a series of briefings, talks and workshops running since early spring, REFLECT brought people together to discuss their own lived experiences and connections to the coast. These experiences informed an outdoor sound and light event, featuring new commissions and works by international and local sound and visual artists, plus community groups. REFLECT aimed to compare the impact of coastal living on resident’s mental health in two vastly contrasting coastal communities; Bude, North Cornwall and Gravesham, Kent.

This video was filmed at Reflect Bude. This event featured the following artists:
Sea Pool projection - Karma Seas by Ulf Pedersen
What Does the Sea Say? by Martyn Ware
Swirl by Timothy Crowley and Kate Ogley
Sonic Journeys by Bude Beats and James Dixon
Beach Hut singers - Bencoolen Wreckers
Bench - Neo by Granite & Glitter
Bench - Esedha by Ruth Purdy
Bench - Intertidal Blue by Josie Purcell
Bench - Worry Bench by Blend Community Group
Sea Song Walks with Seamas Carey
Flag artworks by Budehaven School Art Students

REFLECT is produced by Sound UK in association with the University of Exeter and LV21.
Funded by the University of Exeter, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust.

Film credit: Steve Haywood, filmed at REFLECT Bude, Bude Sea Pool 2019. Music - Bencoolen Wreckers - Cornwall My Home

Find out more:

21 Nov 19

Reflect Bude in pictures


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Worry bench

Chloe What Does The Sea Say

Ruth Purdy

Ulf Ali

Sea calms me

Tim and Kate Swirl

I find the sea really fun

Bencoolen Wreckers

Credits: 1- 3, 5 - 8 Steve Haywood, 4 Ruth Purdy
1) Neo by Granite & Glitter
2) Worry Bench by Blend 
3) What Does The Sea Say? By Martyn Ware
4) Esedha by Ruth Purdy
5, 6) Karma Seas by Ulf Pedersen
7) Timothy Crowley and Kate Ogley, Swirl artists
8) Karma Seas by Ulf Pedersen
9) Bencoolen Wreckers

08 Oct 19

‘Let’s take a Moment’ with Thread and Word.


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Artist Billie Penfold tells you a little more about her artist walk and bench artwork for Reflect Gravesham. 

Those of you who have visited my studio looking out at the sea over Tankerton slopes near Whitstable know that there are many benches along the slopes above the beach huts looking out to the sea. These give people the opportunity to create memorials for loved ones and also a place to take time to sit and stare at the sea. I have always been fascinated by these benches placed at regular intervals along the slope. So, when the call out came to take part in Reflect:Arts and Minds in Gravesend I jumped at the chance to be able to create a temporary installation on a bench as a shrine or memorial in response to this event. 

We invite you to walk with us on Saturday October 12th and Sunday October 13th at 3 pm. to celebrate coastal living and what the sea means to you through Reflect: arts and minds in Gravesham.

I will be delivering this walk through the arts group Thread and Word which I set up in 2014 . This group invites artists to collaborate in walking performative events. These walks also give participants the opportunity to record their feelings as they walk through a meditative knotting of ropes which are attached to a pole called a Vara at the end of the walk, to record the event.

We will be walking, with Thread and Word to celebrate all thing coastal in Gravesend, reflecting on what the sea means to us.

The artists joining this walk and offering poetry, performance and their own response to Let's Take a Moment are:

A. Bowman, L. Claire, V. Fitch J. Mckay, S. McClymont, C. Lovey, O. Lowery, S. Overall, E. Penfold, J. Riddiough, L. Shawyer.

Anna Bowman is sharing a personal anecdote of trips to the seaside as a child. She is also a talented film maker and photographer and will be photographing the event.

Lucy Claire is a composer and musician who works with soundscapes and will be collaborating with the group to create a soundscape of the walk. This will be available to download . The piece will commemorate our walk through a plaque on the bench in Promenade Gardenswith a qr code linking it to the soundscape.

"Soundscapes can transport the listener from one environment to another. Listening to a soundscape can calm the mind and encourage time for reflection. Let’s Take A Moment is a sound world reflection of a collection of poetry by Owen Lowery that focuses specifically on the coast and shoreline from With the fisherwomen of Nairn to the Mediterranean horizon of Pathos Sunset. I worked with sounds from the shore, the harbour, the hissing and sucking of the shore, the heady buzz of insects and the rhythmical sploshes of oars moving in and out of the water to bring another dimension to Owen’s words and help transport the listener from one place to another. "

Virginia Fitch will be reading a well know poem by Shelley to help us on our way.

Julia Riddiough is sharing two pieces, 'Windmills of my Mind' connecting with the story of the area with links to Don Quixote and his own inner daemons . Laura Shawyer will be enacting her second piece 'A Gesture of Harmony' a ritual devised by Julia using Palo Santo oil connected with well being, meditation and enacted through the holding of the knotted ropes as we end our walk.

James McKay has created three interventions using poetry, place and string. It might even involve some costume changes. Looking forward to a few surprises.

Susan McClymont will share her poem "Pocahontas and me" She has also created a fab mosaic for our bench. The design of the mosaic that accompanies the poem, is of an oak leaf overlaid by fern koru floating on the river. (Reflecting the oak trees of Pocahontas's Jamestown in America and the fern that emblematic of her native New Zealand).

Christina Lovey is offering a personal reading of the knots in the ropes through tap dancing. Looking forward to some Flamenco rhythms .

Owen Lowery has shared several of his poems read in his own voice for the soundscape. He has also helped with selecting the sounds he associates with the poems and the coast. We are delighted to take Owen's voice on this walk with us.

You can be transported to Owen's reading with a soundscape by Lucy Claire Listen here

Sonia Overall is joining us with pause/play
What is the quality of a moment? What do different pauses feel like? We will carry a bag of pauses with us as we walk, select one at random and enact it. Pause, play, repeat.

Elspeth (Billie) Penfold is inviting you to knot ropes to record the experience as we walk. These ropes have been made by hand by Elspeth for this event in her studio.The ropes will be attached to a Vara or pole at the end of the walk to create a document of the walk.

I am always amazed by the creativity and generosity of all artists who collaborate with me in these walks with Thread and Word. I hope you are able to join us on the day and do feel free to share any readings/ memories or rituals with us as we walk.

16 Sep 19

How does living by the sea make you feel?


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Swirl v2

At REFLECT BUDE, step inside the Swirl beach hut to hear new interactive and generative sound installation by Cornish artists Timothy Crowley and Kate Ogley, created in response to the location and recorded experiences of those living in Bude and North Cornwall. Here Kate tells us about their experience interviewing and recording people for the project.

It has been a privilege for us to meet everyone and discover what it means for each person to live close to the sea and the coastline. We have interviewed people from many walks of life. The relationship with the sea for some participants spans an entire lifetime, for others it is one they returned to later in life or in some cases it’s a relationship that has been formed for the first time more recently.

Beautiful and powerful images of the sea have emerged from the interviews. For one interviewee the sea was likened to an ‘open door’; an invitation or perhaps a portal to another place or dimension. For another participant the sea was felt as an unbroken link between far away places bringing consolation and a feeling of connection with loved ones when overseas.

The sea was also experienced as a darker place of potential danger; large waves that might snatch young children away without warning, and a place where one might simply vanish and not come back. And yet for several people the sea’s uncaring and impervious nature offers them a great sense of freedom; the sea being an entity with no expectations or judgement. Reflecting on the interviews it became apparent that for many the sea embodied great contradictions.

For several participants the sounds of the surf heard at night, had almost imperceptively infiltrated into their consciousness over the years; becoming part of who they are. Some spoke of the comfort and reassurance this gave them. A sound that in some cases was ‘felt’ most keenly in its absence when they moved away from the sea.

Several people spoke of the sound of the chaffing pebbles in the undertow when walking on the beach as one that they associated most strongly with the sea. One participant used alot of ’s’ sounding words , swimming, sloshing, surfing……. sounding a little like the sea itself.

Encounters with the sea are woven into the participants daily lives and in all cases these encounters give them something vital. The sea and coastline was revealed as a place that inspires inner reflection, as well as offering individuals solace, sanctuary or respite from other aspects of life.

Perhaps more surprisingly we discovered that the sea also provides some of the same inteviewees with a strong sense of community, and the chance to be involved with a variety of clubs and groups often offering immersive and exhilarating encounters with the ocean. Or a place to simply gather and have fun with family or friends. We were very struck by the powerful sense of belonging that many of the interviewees felt towards the sea as well as a sense of great pride in their surroundings.

Find out more and BOOK TICKETS

12 Sep 19

Notes from an artist


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Ulf v4

Ulf v3

Bude school

Reflect artist Ulf Pedersen took a trip to Bude in the summer in preparation for his new artwork Karma Seas at Bude Sea Pool.  Through a series of briefings, talks and workshops running since early spring, REFLECT has brought people together to discuss their experiences of living near the coast and their connections to their environment. These experiences will all feed into an exciting outdoor sound and light event, featuring Ulf Pedersen’s new work, as well as intimate pop up folk gigs, plus new artworks from local sound artists and community groups.


Arrived on site to the issue of getting near the site to offload the kit. Council not picking up phones. 

A short drive across the Downs felt like a funfair ride. All went well in the dry weather - could be a different story in Autumn!

Offload. Met Emily on the cliff top trying hard to compose a shot against a very unpicturesque chain link fence! Quick manoeuvre down to sea level - the cliffs and beach huts offering a far better backdrop.

Bring on the school group - plenty of commotion as we compose ourselves into an orderly group. Ahem. Students artwork in hand - so far so good.

Into the hub to meet Ethan & Issie - 2 fabulous collaborators assisting me with content for the project having been through many issues themselves.

A very inspiring, revealing meeting. Thank you both for your participation in this very exciting project.

REFLECT is happening in Bude and Gravesham this October.

Photographs by Emily Whitfield-Wicks REFLECT BUDE. International artist Ulf Pedersen (who's work will be projected onto the cliff by Bude Sea Pool).

Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks REFLECT BUDE. International artist Ulf Pedersen (who's work will be projected onto the cliff by Bude Sea Pool). L-R Isabella Morgan (one of the collaborators for the Reflect Project), Ulf Pedersen, Lucy Storry and Fern Paton from Budehaven School.

07 Sep 19

What's your favourite song about the sea?


Sound News

With help from the REFLECT team and artists we've put together a playlist. How Does the sea make you feel? playlist now live! Listen here

Some of the REFLECT artists tell us about their favourite songs about the sea below.

What’s your favourite song about the sea and why?
Ruth (REFLECT BUDE) - Lonely Drfiter by the O'jays came to mind straight away, love a bit of drama

Kate (REFLECT BUDE) - Blue by Joni Mitchell. I like this song because it expresses the elemental nature of love.

Tim (REFLECT BUDE) Don’t know the title of this folk song but it starts “Old Man Adams built a mansion where the ocean rose and fell, he said he’d spend his days there, and be buried there as well”. I like the words and melody, and that it is sung in a deep voice.

Billie (REFLECT GRAVESHAM) Surfin' USA - The Beach Boys one is a blast from the past, from the 60’s when I lived in Peru ( a lot of surfing there ) and I was 18 years old. I love the sea and spend as much time as I can by the sea walking and love swimming.

05 Aug 19



Sound News

Sonic Journey: Gavin Bryars + Blake Morrison

What are Sonic Journeys?
Sonic Journeys are soundtracks created for a specific journey. If there's a journey you love this summer, why not create a piece of music inspired by it? All you need is your phone and access to GarageBand or voice recording apps. Once recorded you can then upload it to our Sonic Journeys website for others to experience.

As part of REFLECT project we’ve been running Sonic Journey workshops in Bude and Gravesend this summer. Check out workshop leader and artist Tania Holland Williams’ Sonic Journey creating tips below.

1. Release yourself from worrying about how far along the line you are as a sound artist or composer. There is no right or wrong version of the journey you want to capture. The only thing you really need is a desire to communicate your journey through sound and technology that is found on most phones.

2. Consider a journey that you do everyday…
There is something about the accumulative weight of repeating the same journey that might be worth exploring in sound.

3. Some people start a creative sound piece with words, others with sound capture, some with a graphic design, others with a concept for what they are trying to build. It’s worth knowing your preference and trying out a number of different starting points - so that if you do get stuck in the creative process, you will have some other skills to draw on.

4. If you tend to create in a certain style - for example slow moving, calm pieces - set yourself a challenge of going on a journey that is more edgy and trying to capture that discomfort. The more you know about your preferred writing style the more challenges you can give yourself and the more you will grow as a creative.

5. Identify a journey where you have time to listen rather than one where you are with people you like to chat to or where you generally listen to music. We very rarely take time to listen to our world.

6. Listen in different directions - our ears help us by giving us a sense of the perspective and landscape of the world. See how much distance, depth you can hear when you listen up/down; left/right; in front/behind.

7. Set yourself the challenge of using a sound you’ve never used before when you are creating. Even if it ultimately is not the right sound for your piece - you will have added another sound colour to your palette.

For those that would like to create and share their own Sonic Journey, we are inviting online submissions of music, or music and video, to journeys that you find personally inspiring here. Previous Your Sonic Journeys have included music to journeys in Kew Gardens in London, Bregenz in Austria, South Western Transylvania and more.


05 Aug 19

A Change is Gonna Come news


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A change is gonna come v2

A Change is Gonna Come is part of FROM THE SOURCE festival produced by Serious at Warwick Arts Centre in November. We enjoyed touring this project in July to Walthamstow Garden Party, Bristol Old Vic, Reading Fringe Festival and WOMAD - check out our Instagram for the pics Can't wait to hear Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Camilla George, Lady Sanity, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs play live again!

Find out more about FROM THE SOURCE here

03 Jul 19

BLOG: Mental health and the coast


Sound News

From antidepressant effects of outdoor swimming, to the capacity of virtual sea-walks to reduce pain felt from dental surgery; the evidence is growing of the curative power of the sea. Valuing the ocean and the coast is also important for the future of humanity, and protecting it will benefit all of us.

But there are also downsides of living by the sea, that are less widely reported. Many people living in coastal communities report feeling forgotten and cut off next to their urban counterparts. Mental health services are hard to access and isolation and deprivation are rife. Cornwall has the third highest suicide rate in the UK and yet the longest coastline.

We urgently need to understand both the challenges and the benefits that living by the sea has in order to come up with solutions to build healthier communities by the sea. The REFLECT project aims to gather people’s experiences of living by the sea and its impact on their mental well-being in a variety of ways.

The REFLECT project team want to interview people, have people submit stories, art, film, poetry. They will look at these sources of evidence and explore themes – contact: if you are interested in being a contributor.

They would like people to use the Urban Mind app (download from App Store or Google Play) Click HERE for further info. This is an anonymous record of the impact of nature, environment and social interaction and on your mental wellbeing. Find out more here:

Art and science unite to explore how Cornwall's and Kent's coastlines impact our mental health

4 - 6 October 2019
Find out more

11 - 13 October 2019
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Blog first posted by the REFLECT team at

13 May 19

REFLECT in Bude and Gravesham


Sound News

Just announced! REFLECT Bude and REFLECT GRAVESHAM.

The project launch on 13 May, during the national Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, kick-starts the build-up to REFLECT, a two-location project in October featuring international and local artists adorning the coast around Bude and Gravesend with art installations and innovative soundscapes, working alongside local communities. Interactive experiences, artworks plus walking and singing activities open to all accompany the event.

Running in Bude in Cornwall, and Gravesend, Kent, REFLECT is produced by Sound UK in association with the University of Exeter and LV21, a former service vessel in Kent that is now a performance arts venue. The project is funded by the University of Exeter, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust.

4 - 6 October 2019
Find out more

11 - 13 October 2019
Find out more

Image credit:
Top image - Lee Robertson
Bottom image - view from LV21

21 Mar 19



Sound News

"Dark, mesmeric, uplifting and danceable; you won’t hear anything else like it." ★★★★ Evening Standard

We're excited to announce Ariwo's UK tour. Their sets are arresting affairs, holding audience’s hostage to their hypnotic grooves as they invite them into a new sound world.

In Yoruba the word Ariwo means “noise”, which captures the band’s desire to combine traditional rhythms into a live electronic performance, challenging perceptions of ancestral music, and connecting diverse cultures from around the world.

Ariwo bring together Iranian electronic composer Pouya Ehsaei; 'percussion virtuoso' (Time Out) Hammadi Valdes; figurehead of London's Cuban music scene, Oreste Noda; award-winning Jazz trumpeter Jay Phelps and special guest saxophonist Camilla George.

New album Quasi out 15 April 2019 on MANANA Records


22 May BRIGHTON, Brighton Festival
24 May NORWICH, Norwich & Norfolk Festival
25 May LONDON, Giant Steps
30 May, COVENTRY, The Tin
31 May, NEWCASTLE, Cobalt Studios
2 June, BRISTOL, Fleece, co-promoted with Worm Disco Club


11 Mar 19

Change in line up


Sound News

tippet Bourne lower gallery

In a change to the advertised line up, Keith Tippett will no longer be performing in Leeds and Bristol due to injury.

Matthew and Keith are delighted that Laura Cole will instead perform alongside Matthew Bourne at Sounds Like This Festival in Leeds (12 March) and Kit Downes at Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival (23 March).

Leeds-based pianist, composer Laura Cole joins Matthew fresh from her acclaimed solo double album 'Enough' (Discus) last year. “Cole succeeds in exploring divergent avenues of expression... revealing a quietly emphatic sense of space” – The Wire.

Kit Downes is critically regarded as one of the UK’s outstanding jazz talents and his ECM album Obsidian could have only been made by an improviser of subtle sensibilities. “A lightning musical intelligence” –The Daily Telegraph

If you have any questions regarding your ticket booking please contact:
Sounds Like This festival - Leeds 
Bristol Jazz Fest contact


06 Mar 19

Artist call out! 10 new commissions


Sound News

bude sea pool


As part of a major public event in Bude and Gravesend this October, we are offering no less than 10 new commissions to local Cornish and Kent artists to include:

• A new sound commission by a Cornish artist for a beach hut at Bude Sea Pool
• A new sound commission by a Kent artist for LV21, a unique ship arts venue in Gravesend
• 4 local Cornish artists to decorate benches in Bude
• 4 local Kent artists to decorate benches in Gravesend

The project will be announced as part of Mental Health Awareness Week w/c 13 May. WIth the commissions being presented in October 2019.

For artist briefs and full details please contact

Commissions are offered on a paid, freelance basis.


Timeline summary:
3 April 2019 - Proposal deadline
13 May 2019 - REFLECT project announcement 
October 2019 - REFLECT commissions go live

REFLECT is produced by Sound UK in association with Exeter University and LV21. Funded by Exeter University, Arts Council England and Wellcome Trust.

28 Feb 19

A Change Is Gonna Come 2019 news


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camilla george top slider

lady sanity top slider

A Change is Gonna Come is heading to WOMAD Festival this July. We're thrilled to introduce Camilla George on saxophone and Birmingham based rapper Lady Sanity to the line up along side Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs. 

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

Read More

18 Feb 19

Tippett & Bourne trailer now live!


Sound News

Inspired by Keith Tippett’s suggestion to ‘do some playing together’ in late 2016, this new and exciting musical partnership between Tippett and Matthew Bourne, two maverick pianists, a generation apart, is a meeting of like-minded but distinct individuals: both are mesmerising live performers, famous for their idiosyncrasy, virtuosity, and non-conformity.


Tue 12 Mar LEEDS
Sat 23 Mar BRISTOL
Sun 28 Apr LONDON


09 Jan 19

New trailer from The Paper Cinema


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By The Paper Cinema

A wintry show for long, dark nights of ghostly tales brought to life through hand-drawn illustrations, masterful puppetry, cinematic projection and live music.

On tour 25 Jan - 2 Feb.

19 Dec 18

Watch Letters I Haven't Written project film


Sound News

In the autumn we had the privilege of producing Gwyneth Herbert's life affirming Letters I Haven’t Written delivered by an exceptional creative team working across music, theatre and design. Watch the short film to find out more about this special project exploring how we communicate and connect.

Gwyneth Herbert – voice, french horn, ukulele
Tom Gibbs – piano, voice
Sam Burgess – bass, voice
Rob Luft – guitar, voice
Corrie Dick – drums, voice

Will Duke - Video Artist
Susannah Tresilian – Director
Tom Rogers - Designer

Co-commissioned by Snape Maltings and OCM

Produced by Sound UK

Funded by Arts Council England National Lottery, Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex Arts Partnership. Gwyneth Herbert is supported by PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music.

12 Dec 18

A Change is Gonna Come project film now live!


Sound News

In May we had the privilege of commissioning A Change Is Gonna Come  – check out the project film to get a taste of this incredible line up. On stage together for the first time, Carleen Anderson, Nikki Yeoh, Nubya Garcia, Speech Debelle, Renell Shaw and Rod Youngs performed unique interpretations of iconic songs from the time of the civil rights through to today. 

31 Oct 18

Incredible audience comments for Letters I Haven't Written


Sound News

gwyneth herbert live

Wow, what a truly wonderful, powerful and moving project by Gwyneth Herbert. A big THANK YOU to all who joined us on the Letters I Haven't Written tour. Gwyneth and her band were incredible! This was an ambitious new music theatre project with songs from her acclaimed new album at its heart. THANK YOU to the extraordinary creative team, video designer Will Duke, director Susannah Tresilian and designer Tom Rogers. And THANK YOU to all the community groups who took part in Gwyn's songwriting workshops and the performance. 

Gwyneth Herbert's new album Letters I Haven't Written is OUT NOW

We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

The most extraordinarily moving show I’ve seen in years! @gwynethherbert is masterful songweaver and the duet with @KrystleWarren was beyond words. Thank you

Huge thanks to @gwynethherbert for massively cathartic, moving, big-hearted, content rich experience watching and singing along to Letters I Haven't Written #inspiring Go and see it!

#lettersnotwritten what an experience! thanks to every young woman who was involved in thIs project and those who made it last night to share the stage with @gwynethherbert this has been a beautiful journey for all over the past 5 weeks!

The splendid Gwyneth Herbert and her show 'Letters I haven't written'. Backdrop of screens with constantly changing stills and moving images reinforcing songs about suicide, Windrush, addiction and domestic abuse which ultimately cheered you up. So much going on. A real feast.

Back with @Scandiandy from the launch of @gwynethherbert 's "Letters I Haven't Written" @snapemaltings - her best work yet: a concept album that resonates absolutely with our times. The performance ended in a collaboration with women from the Hope Centre - moving beyond words

23 Oct 18

The Planets 2018 audio now online


Sound News


“Holst orbits into the modern age… each piece fizzes with textural detail, the musical analogue of the sulphuric swamps, ice storms and metallic hydrogen clouds that characterise our solar system”
**** John Lewis, The Guardian

Following the sell out and critically acclaimed success of its recent live tour of planetariums, The Planets 2018 is now available to enjoy as an audio stream for one year.


100 years ago, Holst’s The Planets was premiered. Shaped by an astrological understanding of the planets, this ground-breaking piece became a mainstream classic. Live Music Sculpture and Sound UK mark its centenary by asking: what would music inspired by current planetary science sound like in the hands of today’s composers?

Reflecting developments in astronomy and music, The Planets 2018 commissioned 8 leading composers, spanning contemporary classical, electronica and jazz, to create new works inspired by our solar system, performed in planetariums and available online. 

Composers Ayanna Witter-Johnson (Earth), Deborah Pritchard (Mars), Laurence Crane (Neptune), Mira Calix (Mercury), Richard Bullen (Jupiter), Shiva Feshareki (Venus), Samuel Bordoli (Uranus) and Yazz Ahmed (Saturn) each created a new 5 minute piece for string quartet that responds to both their chosen planet and the unique design of the live venues.

To inform and inspire them, each composer was mentored by one of the UK’s leading scientists, working at the forefront of astronomy and passionate about widening its audience. These included experts from Imperial College, Queen Mary College, Royal Astronomical Society and Open University who gave composers deeper insights into their planets and opportunities to visit their labs, handle artefacts and experience NASA’s Curiosity Rover’s adventures in Gale Crater on Mars.

The result is 8 distinct sound worlds with each new piece of music introduced by the recorded voice of comedian Jon Culshaw (Dead Ringers, Newzoids and Spitting Image), a lifelong astronomy enthusiast and part of The Sky at Night team.

Internationally renowned for pushing the possibilities of the string quartet, the Ligeti Quartet premiered The Planets 2018 in quadraphonic sound, alongside live visuals, in full dome planetariums including sell out shows at Royal Observatory Greenwich, Thinktank Birmingham, Winchester Science Centre and We The Curious in Bristol. The Planets 2018 audio is now available to experience online streamed from Sound UK and partner websites for a year.

The Planets 2018 is the latest in the Live Music Sculpture series, founded by Samuel Bordoli in 2011 with the intention of producing site-specific work for live musicians in unusual spaces. Since then, Live Music Sculptures have been produced in some of the UK’s most iconic buildings, including The Monument, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge, which have been nominated for awards and admired by audiences and critics. The Planets 2018 expands the concept bringing in a range of other composers and working in collaboration with new music producer Sound UK. Once created the legacy for the commission is hugely exciting with potential to be presented in other UK and international planetariums, in mobile domes in schools and more.

10 Oct 18

Read Gwyneth Herbert's Guardian article


Sound News

gwyn news pic

Everyone has a letter they wish they’d written, says Gwyneth Herbert, who found that in the simple act of putting pen to paper she re-learnt how to communicate and connect

Read the full article here:

03 Oct 18



Sound News

planets live

We're back from flying around the solar system with Samuel Bordoli / Live Music Sculpture and the Ligeti Quartet and want to say a big THANK YOU to all who joined us on this planetary journey.

Cosmic Composers:
Richard Bullen - Jupiter
Deborah Pritchard - Mars
Mira Calix - Mercury
Ayanna Witter-Johnson - Earth
Samuel Bordoli - Uranus
Laurence Crane – Neptune
Yazz Ahmed – Saturn
Shiva Feshareki – Venus

With thanks to: Prof Sanjeev Gupta, Prof David Rothery, Dr Phillipa Mason, Dr Leigh Fletcher, Prof Carl Murray, Dr Sheila Kanani, Catherine McEvoy, Brendan Owens & Dr Greg Brown at Greenwich Royal Observatory, Mark Watson at Winchester Science Centre, Colin Hutcheson at Thinktank, Lee Pullen and Anna Henley at We The Curious. Zee Dinally at Immersive Experiences. Arts Council England and RVW Trust

BIG THANKS ALSO TO the amazing Ligeti Quartet, Samuel Bordoli and Tim Hand.

The Planets 2018 will be available to listen to online at soon.

Listen again to The Planets 2018 on BBC Radio 3 Music Matters and BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Composers - What planet are they on?

Samuel Bordoli on BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Read The Guardian feature and four-star review

Cosmic composers: how scientists helped reinvent Holst's Planets suite

The Planets 2018/Ligeti Quartet review – Holst orbits into the modern age

We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

#imaginative #stimulating #thoughtprovoking musical evening thanks to @wethecurious_ and @LigetiQuartet #planets2018

Swept away by #Planets2018 new music at @WinSciCentre planetarium (new favourite place). Loved hearing from Prof Carl Murray @QMUL on composer mentoring and the extraordinary qualities of Saturn. Congrats @soundukarts & all involved. A treat for the ears. Mind truly boggled.

Mindblown - just back from #Planets2018 at @WinSciCentre. Sitting in the middle of a string quartet whilst whizzing around the Solar System. And being a total fanboi hearing from a Cassini imaging scientist about that amazing mission


Image credit: Lee Pullen, We The Curious

03 Oct 18

Gwyneth Herbert's manifesto for connection


Sound News

This is Gwyneth Herbert's manifesto for connection.

At a time when we seem to be communicating constantly, we seem to somehow be connecting less.

Gwyn invites you to her ambitious new project Letters I Haven’t Written. With songs from her acclaimed new album at its heart, Gwyn and her band collaborate with an extraordinary creative team, video designer Will Duke, director Susannah Tresilian and designer Tom Rogers, to explore how we communicate, and find more meaningful connections with ourselves and the world.

UK TOUR 12 - 18 October 
Letters I Haven't Written 

Sat 13 Oct OXFORD North Wall Arts Centre, promoted by OCM
Sun 14 Oct LONDON The Albany
Tues 16 Oct, MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Weds 17 Oct, CARDIFF Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thurs 18 Oct, HASTINGS Opus Theatre


01 Oct 18

LETTERS I HAVEN'T WRITTEN trailer now live!


Sound News

Sat 13 Oct OXFORD North Wall Arts Centre, promoted by OCM
Sun 14 Oct LONDON The Albany
Tues 16 Oct, MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Weds 17 Oct, CARDIFF Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thurs 18 Oct, HASTINGS Opus Theatre


24 Sep 18

Uranus // Samuel Bordoli


Sound News

SB lower gallery

Composer // Samuel Bordoli
Scientist // Professor David Rothery
Planet // Uranus

It turns out Uranus is a fascinating planet because its rotation around the axis is tilted on its side creating an extraordinary effect 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 Sam has tried to communicate in his new piece. Converting 84 years into 5 minutes is quite a challenge.

Samuel Bordoli is establishing a reputation as one of the foremost composers of his generation. His varied output continues to explore relationships between music, architecture, literature and theatre. He was appointed Composer-in-Residence at Scottish Opera in 2017. He has written chamber operas, instrumental and choral music as well as site-specific works for some the UK's most iconic landmarks including Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and City Hall, where he collaborated with Foster + Partners. He studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music, where he held the Mendelssohn Scholarship, and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Professor David Rothery is mentoring Sam on Uranus. Professor of Planetary Geosciences, Open University. 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).

Uranus Facts

1. Uranus is about 4 times as wide as the Earth. It has 27 moons all named after the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

2. Uranus has its own set of rings! It has 13 in total that are narrow and dark close to the planet and brightly coloured further out

3. Uranus is a bit like Venus, in that it also rotates East to West, but it is unique as it rotates lying on its side.

4. One Uranian day is about 17 hours and one Uranian year is about 84 Earth years!

5. Uranus is an Ice giant made up of water, methane and ammonia. Its atmosphere is mostly hydrogen, helium and a small amount of methane. Hydrogen sulphide has also been detected high in the clouds of Uranus which would make it smell a lot like rotten eggs.



24 Sep 18

Mars // Deborah Pritchard


Sound News

mars curiosity rover

Composer // Deborah Pritchard
Scientist // Professor Sanjeev Gupta
Planet // Mars

Having experienced the landscape of Mars through NASA’s Curiosity Rover, Deborah aims to capture our sense of the magnificence of Mars, our closeness to it, as well as the barren and cold reality at its surface.

Deborah Pritchard received a British Composer Award in 2017. Her work has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, commercially released by NMC, Signum and Nimbus and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta and Philharmonia Orchestra. She is a synaesthetic composer and her violin concerto Wall of Water, after the paintings by Maggi Hambling, was held to critical acclaim by Gramophone as a 'work that will take ones breath away'. She studied composition with Simon Bainbridge for her MMus Degree at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded her DPhil from Worcester College, Oxford where she studied with Robert Saxton.

Professor Sanjeev Gupta mentored Deborah on Mars. He 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.

Mars Facts 

1. Mars days are only a little longer than a day on Earth but a year on Mars in almost twice as long as a year on Earth – 687 Earth days!

2. Mars has 2 moons called Phobos and Deimos.

3. Mars is known as the Red Planet because there are iron minerals in the Martian soil that have oxidized, or become rusty, and caused the soil and atmosphere to look red.

4. Mars is a rocky planet, like Earth, but its surfaces has been changed by volcanoes, and impacts, rushing winds and chemical reactions

5. Mars is much smaller than the Earth, about half the radius, but only a tenth of the mass.


Image credit: Mars Curiosity Rover

24 Sep 18

Neptune // Laurence Crane


Sound News

LC news

Composer // Laurence Crane
Scientist // Dr Sheila Kanani
Planet // Neptune

Fascinated - and also quite overwhelmed - by the facts and statistics illustrating the immense distance of Neptune in the solar system. Neptune is 4 billion kilometres from Earth. Laurence continued to think about the mystery…the enigma, of Neptune to create an overall idea about the sounds, structure and sonic character of his new composition.

Laurence Crane studied composition with Peter Nelson and Nigel Osborne at Nottingham University. His music is mainly written for the concert hall, although his output includes pieces initially composed for film, radio, theatre, dance and installation. His list of works predominantly consists of instrumental chamber and ensemble music. He has worked with many ensembles in the UK and abroad, including Apartment House (UK), Plus-Minus Ensemble (UK/Belgium), Ixion (UK), London Sinfonietta (UK), Ives Ensemble (Netherlands), Orkest de Volharding (Netherlands), Cikada Ensemble (Norway), asamisimasa (Norway), Ensemble Kore (Canada) and 175 East (New Zealand).

Dr Sheila Kanani mentored Laurence on Neptune. She is a planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary school physics teacher and space comedian, with a background in astrophysics and astronomy research from UK universities. Her experience includes acting as an ambassador of science, public speaking, events organisation, science journalism and school visits. Sheila is currently the Education, Outreach and Diversity officer for the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

Neptune Facts

1. Neptune is about 4 times the diameter of Earth, but is the only planet in the solar system not visible with the naked eye.

2. In 2011 Neptune completed its first 165-year orbit of the sun (1 Neptunian year) since its discovery in 1846. However, a Neptunian day only takes about 16 hours.

3. Neptune has 13 confirmed moons and one awaiting confirmation. They are all named after sea gods and nymphs in Greek mythology.

4. Neptune has a dark vortex in its atmosphere, that causes some gases to freeze into methane ice crystals.

5. Neptune has 6 rings of its own


20 Sep 18

Saturn // Yazz Ahmed


Sound News

Composer // Yazz Ahmed
Scientist // Professor Carl Murray
Planet // Saturn

Yazz has been inspired by sound recordings and images from the Cassini spacecraft mission, from lightening storms to plasma waves. Yazz wrote the piece in 6/4 time signature to represent the hexagon at the top of Saturn. 

Yazz Ahmed is a British Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player. Her music, through which she seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her mixed heritage, has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. In recent years she has led her ensembles in concerts in the UK and internationally. Yazz has also recorded and performed with Radiohead, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, amongst others. Her 2017 critically acclaimed album, La Saboteuse (Naim), has brought her to the attention of a global audience. Yazz is supported by PRS For Music Foundation.

Professor Carl Murray is a Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. He is a planetary scientist interested in the motion of all objects in the solar system, from dust to planets, and has co-authored the standard textbook on the subject, “Solar System Dynamics”. In 1990 he was selected as a member of the camera team for the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and worked on the project until the demise of the spacecraft in September 2017. Carl is particularly interested in the dynamics of Saturn’s rings and their gravitational interaction with small moons.

Saturn facts:

1. Saturn is not the only planet with rings, but has the most spectacular ring system in the solar system. It has 7 rings and several gaps and divisions between them.

2. Without including Saturn’s rings, it would take 9 Earths to span its diameter.

3. Saturn’s days are about 10.7 hrs long, similar in length to Jupiter’s, however it has much longer years, taking 29 Earth years to orbit the Sun.

4. Saturn has 53 confirmed moon and 9 provisional moons that are awaiting confirmation

5. About two tons of Saturn’s mass has come from Earth. The Cassini spacecraft was intentionally vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere in 2017.


19 Sep 18

Read the story behind Letters I Haven't Written


Sound News

Gwyn Album art news

Since award-winning singer, composer, lyricist, record producer and multi-instrumentalist Gwyneth Herbert’s last project The Sea Cabinet in 2013, she's been on all sorts of creative adventures in all sorts of places, collaborating with artists, orchestras, brass bands, amazing young people and… puppets. After all that, when she finally sat down to create her new project she didn’t know where to start. "The world was full of so many stories”, she says, “and my voice suddenly felt so small on its own.” Then a close friend said: “if you were to sit down at your piano right now and write a song that no one else would hear, what would it be?” Terrified by the idea, she thought she should probably do it.

“My beautiful friend Sophie had just taken her life,” Gwyn continues, “so I decided I would write to her. And this was my first letter song.”

After that the songs came thick and fast: a thank you to her inspirational 6th form music teacher, Martin Read; a duet of friendship with her best pal Krystle Warren; a letter of love and separation inspired by time in the refugee camp in Calais; one to our government campaigning for a revolution in education and more.

Gwyn brought together her fantastic band and special guests to record the Letters I Haven’t Written album (her 7th) at Rockfield studio, Monmouth this summer, with engineer Sean Genockey.

Alongside the album Gwyn has also developed an ambitious new live show with her letter songs at its heart, collaborating with an extraordinary creative team including her band, video designer Will Duke, director Susannah Tresilian and designer Tom Rogers, “exploring how we communicate, and trying to find a more meaningful way of connecting with ourselves and the world.”

As part of the UK tour in October Gwyn is running Letters workshops with different groups from each community – in schools, vulnerable women and BAME elders – listening, learning and making together. The workshops will enable them to devise their own letter songs and Gwyn will compose a new song in response to her time with each group, to be performed with participants as an encore at some of the tour dates.

The single You’re Welcome will be available to download and stream on 28th September

The album Letters I Haven't Written will be available to download and stream on 12th October

Sat 13 Oct OXFORD North Wall Arts Centre, promoted by OCM
Sun 14 Oct LONDON The Albany
Tues 16 Oct, MILTON KEYNES The Stables
Weds 17 Oct, CARDIFF Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thurs 18 Oct, HASTINGS Opus Theatre


17 Sep 18

JUPITER // Richard Bullen


Sound News


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.

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.

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.


Image credit: Dr. Leigh Fletcher

17 Sep 18

EARTH // Ayanna Witter-Johnson


Sound News

AWJ lower gallery

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.

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.

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. 


12 Sep 18



Sound News

gwyn news pic

****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


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


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


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.


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:

Image credit: Ian Wallman

12 Sep 18

VENUS // Shiva Feshareki


Sound News

SF lower gallery

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. 

Shiva Feshareki is an internationally acclaimed experimental composer, NTS radio DJ and turntablist. Her diverse output explores acoustics, perspective and the sound of electricity through wide ranging practises that incorporate classical methodology. In 2017, she was honoured with the British Composer Award for Innovation from BASCA. Upcoming major works include a commission from the BBC Concert Orchestra: a brand new composition for solo turntables and orchestra to be premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall during The EFG London Jazz Festival (late 2018). She will also be the Featured Composer at London’s Spitalfields Festival in December 2018, where she will be showcasing another new score, revisions of ‘GABA-analogue’ and ‘O’ and a new interdisciplinary collaboration with artist Haroon Mirza. 2018 will also see the exciting release of her debut album on ‘RESIST’ as well as a special release on Ash Koosha’s new record label ‘Realms’.

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.

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!


Image credit: Ben Ealovega

05 Sep 18

Gwyneth Herbert's Letters Playlist


Sound News

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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


Sound News


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.

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).

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.

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.


29 Sept - 2 Oct
The Planets 2018
London, Winchester, Bristol, (Birmingham SOLD OUT)

Image credit: Bill Bankes-Jones

15 Aug 18

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


Sound News

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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:

Find out more about the project here:

15 Aug 18

Meet the string quartet playing new music in planetariums


Sound News

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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.

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

The Planets 2018 is touring 29 Sept - 02 October 

14 Aug 18

Planetary Playlist


Sound News

The Ligeti Quartet choose some of their favourite planetary tracks ahead of The Planets 2018 UK tour this autumn. Listen here: 

06 Jun 18

A Change is Gonna Come art print


Sound News

Screen printed posters of A Change Is Gonna Come illustration by the amazing Annette Becker Design are now available to buy here:…/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!


Sound News

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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.

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

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

We’ve loved reading your Twitter comments. Here are a few we’ve picked out:

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

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.

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

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


Sound News

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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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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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.

10 May 18

A Change is Gonna Come trailer now live!


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02 May 18

Inspiration playlist by Rod Youngs


Sound News

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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


Sound News

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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 these amazing musicians 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.

14 Feb 18

New project announcement! A Change Is Gonna Come


Sound News

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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 


07 Feb 18

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


Sound News

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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

In association with Sound UK

24 Jan 18

Sound and light magically transforms Prior Park


Sound News

15 Jan 18

Alight! delights visitors in Bath


Sound News

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apparition alight


piano migrations alight

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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!


Sound News

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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


Sound News

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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

Image credit: Droplets, Ulf Pedersen

22 Nov 17

Keld: Freshwater Songs project film now live!


Sound News

20 Nov 17

Meet audio-visual artist Wayne Binitie


Sound News

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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.


Image credit: Wayne Binitie 

13 Nov 17

Discover more about our extraordinary Alight! artists


Sound News

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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 / @birdtwitchr

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

06 Nov 17

Sound UK Emerging Artist Award 2017 announced!


Sound News

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:

Book tickets for Alight! here

Image credit: Wayne Binitie

30 Oct 17

Public acclaim for KELD


Sound News

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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!


Sound News

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

27 Sep 17

KELD picture gallery


Sound News

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Cornish tortoise

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25 Sep 17

Blog by Kerry Andrew


Sound News

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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.

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

Tom Phillips in his studio

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

Listen again:

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


Sound News

wire preview

01 Sep 17

Irma performances: Sold Out


Sound News

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 

30 Aug 17

Discover more about Tom Phillips RA


Sound News

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...

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

29 Aug 17

Irma: Creative Team


Sound News

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.

"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.

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


16 Aug 17

Irma: full cast announced!


Sound News

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!


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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:

07 Aug 17

The Making of Irma


Sound News

Irma mouth

Delve more deeply into this unique artwork: 

07 Aug 17

Tongue Drums


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

piano migrations kathy hinde

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, 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 ( 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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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:

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


Sound News

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 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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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!

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!


Sound News

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:

18 May 17

New project announcement



Project image Irma

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



Sound News

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

20 Apr 17

Sound UK Live


Sound News

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

Photo credit: Ian Wallman

20 Apr 17

Review: Quercus at Turner Sims


Sound News

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

Read in full:

Hear Quercus live in Oxford with OCM at SJE Arts and in London at Kings Place next month!

12 Apr 17

The Height of the Reeds


Sound News

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


Sound News

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

Listen again:

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

Check it out:

20 Feb 17

Discover more about broadsides


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


07 Dec 16

Broadside Ballads special guests announced!


Sound News

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?


Sound News

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.

29 Nov 16

Tyondai Braxton | Dawn of Midi on UK tour


Sound News

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!


Sound News

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


05 Oct 16

Ghost Stories trailer now live!


Sound News

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


Sound News

Ghost Stories by The Paper Cinema


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
More information about Ghost Stories at

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!


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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!


Sound News

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


Sound News

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


Sound News

• 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?

• 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:

*** 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


Sound News

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


Sound News

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!


Sound News

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


Sound News

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?


Sound News

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


Sound News

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 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



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



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!



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., 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


Sound News

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



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.

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



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).