Tag Archives: music

Music legend Charles Hayward brings sound is sound is sound to the Albany

We hear from Charles Hayward on sound is sound is sound, a showcase of unique musical acts from the South London area, followed by afternoon workshops, sound installations and interventions in and around the Albany. The event will be held on Saturday 24 October at 7.30pm. Click here for details and booking information. 

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There has been a long term South East London music underground that has fed into the mainstream since the days of Mark P’s fanzine Sniffin’ Glue, ATV and This Heat. There is also a committed audience for this, feeding back into the music. Lewisham Arthouse presents SOUND IS SOUND IS SOUND with the intention of building this audience and encouraging Active Listening, which is crucial.

On the night there will be attitudes and sound worlds stretching from the schismatic rock of the Balloons through to the site specific drone meditations of Aine O’Dwyer. Albert Newton will also be playing, the members of Albert Newton are Pat Thomas, John Edwards and me. John and Pat are more from the European improvised music scene, but I am basically about grooves, cubist and fractured, but still groove, so when those two worlds collide it opens up a whole new thing, half Albert, half Newton. We’ve had people hanging off the walls at gigs, so we always start itching to play about now.

The theatre is an intriguing shape, and we plan to use it extensively, moving focus across the space and giving ears a sonic sauna, from acoustic to full on electric. New project Cold As Ice will be making interventions throughout the evening.

In the afternoon we’ve got John Lunn, heavyweight soundtrack composer, in conversation with Frank Byng, who recently scored Channel 4’s The Mill and runs the Slowfoot label. The idea is to share how to work in the media; hopefully people working on their own thing will learn a lot from this and get useful information about commissions, proposals and endless reworking of material towards a finished soundtrack. I’ll be leading a workshop called The Bell Agency, it uses fire alarm bells with no more than 10 players, and there is no need to be able to play. The Bell Agency is about constant change as events unfold, building a musical shape over time, between all of us. Harmergeddon are putting together an installation in the studio, a sort of anti-chill-out room, like a fun fair side show.

After the live performance we’ve got DJ BPM, who plays Grime all over the world on tour with players like Newham Generals and has a regular radio show on Resonance FM. There will also be a techno-edge set from Vince, a young geezer with big ears.

Hope you can make it to SOUND IS SOUND IS SOUND. Active Listening!

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Project New Moon, a Chinese New Year Celebration

We’re celebrating Chinese New Year in style at the Albany with Chinese Arts Space’s, Project New Moon. To let us know more about these celebrations, Creative Director David Tse has interviewed some of the artists involved in the show. projectnewmoon Chinese Arts Space Director, David Tse, gathered some of the most cutting-edge Chinese and East Asian artists in the UK to create work based around their creative interpretation of the moon.  He wanted to reflect on the significance China’s historic Chang’e Mission lunar landing in December 2013. He commissioned British composers Ruth Chan and Andy Leung, as well as choreographers Julia Cheng and Quang Kien Van, to make 15 minutes of new work each as part of Project New Moon. Once David had left his four artists to create their work, he decided it was time to check in and see how it was all going.

First up, composer Ruth Chan:ruthchan ‘My new music piece, Moon’s Magmatism, allows me to collaborate with an exciting bunch of international musicians. I was keen to integrate Chinese and Western instruments together, so I am collaborating with a variety of musicians and we play against a video backdrop by Lavin Lee. My starting point was the relationship between the earth and moon, culminating in the crowning achievement of human exploration; landing on the moon. All this inspired me to compose my piece. My music is in three sections, representing a chronology of the moon: its birth and gravitational effects on earth; humanity’s evolving fascination and development of lunar mythologies; and technological advances leading to the Apollo and Chang’e landings.’

Next, David spoke with composer Andy Leung:andyleThe New Cola is loosely inspired by the moon because I wanted to explore modern society’s addiction to the internet and the effect that night-time has upon that. From the moon’s perspective, we can see humanity; the speed and information overload from mass media communication. My music is characterised with eclectic beats, pulsing rhythms and a stroke of jazz drumming as a foundation, decorated with experimental samples, ‘chiptune’ synthesizer and inspired by multiple electronic music sub-genres. Erhu is re-imagined for the 21st century. Armed with a foot-controller effects pedal, the traditional erhu is able to produce a growling bass-line, distorted tone and ‘out-of-this-world’ special effects. I am making this piece a pioneering collaboration, played alongside a punchy video backdrop.’ David then turned his attention to the choreographers.

Next up, Julia Cheng: juliacheng ‘While researching Silver Moon, my female trio of dancers and I explored the areas between the dark and moonlight, between harmony and unrest, where shimmers of each reside and reflect waves of motion. I looked at the elements, the glistening of water rebounding moonlight, whilst exploring the constantly changing faces and phases of being an individual, and the effects and reactions to connections that we make in life.’

Finally, David spoke with Quang Kien Van: wuangv ‘My choreography for Lunar Orbits is a visual poem married to a fantastic piece of new music composed by Philip Feeney. It is a response to the resplendent beauty and deep mystery of the moon. Drawing from ancient myth and modern science, the work ponders notions of deep space and time and our ephemeral existence amongst the stars, amidst the ever-expanding abyss. Throughout my creative process, I have been inspired by a quote from physicist Richard Feynman, ‘Perhaps if more people were willing to live with doubt and uncertainty in their lives, there would be fewer conflicts in the world?’

If this has whet your appetite then don’t miss your opportunity to see exciting new work in Project New Moon on Saturday 21 February, 7.30pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Baba Israel on creating The Spinning Wheel in memory of his late father

The Spinning Wheel - Brochure imageTheatre and Hip Hop artist Baba Israel is celebrating the life of his late father Steve Ben Israel, a New York jazz musician, stand-up comic, counter-cultural activist and member of the iconic Living Theatre, with an exciting international collaboration with Unfinished Business Artistic Director, Leo Kay. Combining spoken word, live music by Yako 440 and video by AlbinoMosquito, their dynamic show The Spinning Wheel is here this Saturday 22 November, 7.30pm. Baba Israel  answers some questions ahead of its only London performance:

Why were you inspired to make this show for your father?

Losing my father was very difficult and early on I knew that creativity would be an important part of the healing process. I did a poem for my father 8 days after he passed at his favorite jazz club smalls in the village with Omer Avital’s band. This was the first moment I started to dream about this show. I also made a promise to my father hours before he passed that I would carry on his creative legacy. I did not want his work to be lost and wanted to share it with new audiences. I felt that it was relevant and that there were people who did not encounter him who would dig his material. Another key inspiration was when I was Artistic Director of Contact in Manchester and I presented my collaborator Leo Kay’s show it’s like he’s knocking which dealt with the loss of his father. It has been important to have a co-creator who has worked with such personal material but also brought an objective eye. Leo also really challenged me to find a honest an open space as a performer and writer that I think makes the show deeper, richer, and more present for the audience.

What is the influence your father has had on your work?

My father introduced me to jazz and to improvisation. He also nurtured my love of poetry, humor, and bringing politics into art. I started going to my father’s shows at the age of 4 and was raised in the theatre world. I also witnessed his artistic interventions in the everyday world of parks and subways and as part of protests. He was committed to art as a medium to inspire change and to find utopian moments in the midst of the injustices of our modern world.

What do you think your father would think of The Spinning Wheel?

I think he would have dug it.. His intention was for people to leave his shows laughing, thinking, uplifted, and connected to what makes us human. So far we have been getting feedback from audiences that they are having similar reactions to The Spinning Wheel.

Are you excited about performing at the Albany? And why?

I am very excited! I have a lot of respect for the Albany and its engagement  with community and its diverse and rich program. It is also the first place Yako and I ever performed in London so it is special for us.

What do you hope London, and even Deptford, audiences will get from this production?

I hope that they will enjoy a personal story and enjoy learning about my father’s work and journey. I also hope that it will connect with their own experience of family  and of the need to stay engaged with making the world a better place to be. Plus there is some great music from Yako 440 and stand out visual work from Richard Ramchurn of AlbinoMosquito. Hope to see you there!

Baba Israel, Contact Manchester

Baba Israel hits the stage this Saturday 22 November, 7.30pm in The Spinning Wheel as part of EFG London Jazz Festival. For more information and to book, click here.

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My First Time was with an Orange Dog

Mixing a variety of genres and artforms, 154 Collective‘s innovative Dancing with the Orange Dog stretches the boundaries of storytelling. Formed of an art exhibit, theatre performance and a music gig with The Housekeeping Society, Dancing with the Orange Dog is not your typical show; it asks you to absorb what you see and hear to reflect on the stories told in different artforms, and runs here on Friday 10 October. One of their collaborative artists, Benjamin Rabe, wanted to let us know about his experience performing in the show.

We all remember our first time, right? It’s usually not great, or smooth, or exciting, but always special. Well, mine was great, smooth, exciting and special! And that even though it was lasting just for 6 mins and 32 secs!

I am talking about my first live performance during Dancing with the Orange Dog.

Dancing with the Orange Dog: is it a play? No wait, is it a collaborative art exhibit? Hold on, it really is a big music-show, no?

You guessed right, it is all of the above. Initiated by the 154 Collective (lead by Fabric Lenny and Dan Mallaghan). I got involved early on by contributing artwork I created using different apps on my iPad. It was at this time that I took my first steps in collaborative live drawing and animation projection using an iPad based app called Tagtool. I was already happy having had the chance to contribute some artwork to the show, but when I was invited to perform live projections during the play, things got really interesting.

I remember coming into the venue in Manchester for the first time, entering the immersive space Dancing with the Orange Dog created. It was a world of its own, filled with artwork, part gallery, part living room where you could connect to elements of the play before you even knew it. That was one thing. But then what followed was a tour de force 2-person play, a thick layered stack of different stories that would magically connect in the end……

Only the end wasn’t the end, there was still my 6 mins 32 secs to come! Together with Fabric Lenny and Matthew Watkins, I got my first time as a live performer during the gig from The Housekeeping Society (part 3 of the show) – did I mention it was great, smooth, exciting and special? And it **was** great, smooth, exciting and special for one reason: only because Dancing with the Orange Dog was. A great mix, an exciting mix of different facets of the arts: poetry, play, exhibition, music and live visuals.

If you have the chance to see it: do it. It’s a first time you won’t forget.

 

Benjamin Rabe for 154 Collective 

Benjamin is an Artist and Web Developer based in Hamburg. 154 Collective are pleased to collaborate with him on a regular basis.

 

Dancing with the Orange Dog runs here one night only on Friday 10 October, 7.30pm. For more information, to watch the trailer and to book, click here.

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Mapping Deptford

BringTheHappyMap.Image4.MarkNewtonInvisible Flock along with band Hope & Social are asking anyone who has experienced happy moments in South East London to come along to Deptford Lounge and map their stories until this Friday 5 September. The stories will inspire the live performance of Bring the Happy next week from Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 September, 7.30pm. Catherine Baxendale of Invisible Flock shares the happy memories she has experienced in Deptford and why mapping here is so special:

Deptford is personal to me, for many reasons and a mountain of memories. It is also the last date on an epic tour of the project punctuating thousands of people and memories from across the UK. Although there a number of things I can talk about as we start the final week of collecting memories I am going to describe how the project related to me today.

I lived in the area on the Deptford maps from 2004 to 2011.

Residing in a total of 6 homes.

Completing 1 degree.

Meeting and marrying 1 man.

Giving birth to 2 children.

All equating to many, many days filled with amazing times, hard times, frustrating times, joyful times, delirious times and so on.

The maps at Deptford Lounge could be filled with a thousand memories from my little world alone, experienced in this place over 7 years of making it my home.

For the first time I can understand the depth of feeling that is achieved when you see a landscape you have inhabited in this way laid out in front of you with the invitation to talk about what made you happy there and why.

It is something that you can’t quite grasp fully when you look at the landscape on the digital map, the virtual barrier viewing a space through the screen dilutes the intensity. Much like the surreal feeling you get when you hop along a road on street view. You see the pavements you walk across each day but it isn’t the same pavement, it is one captured in time a few years before, a moment dictated by a camera clicking photos as it drives along the street. You see the pavement represented through the eyes of a lens, a lens that removes you and gives you anonymity.

Anonymity and distance is a useful feeling when you submit a memory onto the digital map, it reduces self conscious conflict that might prevent you from revealing something personal that although it is likely you have shared before you might not have done so publicly.

But in the swift transaction between a memory number being allocated to you and this identification transferring onto a physical rod glued onto a physical map something very quickly changes. I am now represented by the rod on the map, I have left a mark on a place that I now retain additional ownership over. This is the place where I once was, where something happened that meant something to me.

Landscapes so quickly change, buildings, shapes and surfaces disappear and new ones replace them, I cannot lay stake to any corner of the world, not really, no matter how much I emotionally invest in it but I am reminded that my memories of my footsteps can remain, echoing silently down the streets.

I am left in awe of all the people represented by glass rods on the Deptford maps – how interesting they are, how human and how complex, filling landscapes with everything they do in the days, weeks and years that came before and will come after. I think what I am describing is a sense of place in history and time, something that the act of sharing through contributing a memory makes you acutely aware of.

Experiencing the live show in two weeks time I expect another shift in this perspective on time and place. I think that hearing your memory adjacent to another, pulled off the maps and presented in a celebratory space, will broaden out this ownership over place into a wider context, one that is shared with everyone in the room but also disseminates onto a national and soon to be international scale.

Either way I know I will be in floods of tears watching the show – it always makes me cry, cry in a good way, especially the happy bits – but this time it won’t just be tears of empathy as I relate the memories from other peoples lives to my own experiences, it will be because Deptford is real for me, it is a place where my life has happened and I will be crying for all of the moments and people that inhabit these memories, memories made real because I shared them and gave them back to the landscape.

Catherine Baxendale, Company Director, Invisible Flock

Bring the Happy mapping takes place at Deptford Lounge until Friday 5 September and is free. For the opening times, click here. If you cannot attend the mapping on-site, then please contribute your stories online here.

The live performances of Bring the Happy take place at the Albany on Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 September, to find out more and to book, click here.

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Beatboxing champion Grace Savage on working with The Paper Birds for Blind

6f1e26c61dd4f688d97b21522217cd9aLeeds-based theatre company The Paper Birds previews new production Blind here as part of Hatched, our artists’ development programme, this Friday 18 July at 7pm. Devised with and performed by two-time UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage, Blind explores what young people are hearing today and how that affects who they will become, complete with flour and glitter. Grace fills us in ahead of the show’s Edinburgh Fringe première next month:

How did you get involved with The Paper Birds?

I went to Leeds University and during the summer breaks I would flyer for them in Edinburgh. I got to know the company and their work during this time and we have kept in touch ever since. Jemma caught me beatboxing whilst doing the washing up in our Edinburgh flat and that’s how she found out that I was a beatboxer! She came to see me do a singing/beatboxing gig in London a few years later and then asked if I was interested in making a solo show with them. We started applying for funding, received some support and before I knew it we were making a show together.

What are young people hearing about these days and how was this brought into Blind?

Although the show does focus on what we are hearing in the world, this is largely explored through my own personal experiences and it’s very specific to me as a young woman growing up in the 90’s and early 00’s in Devon, including how I came to be a professional beatboxer. Hopefully within these stories we can highlight similarities to that of the audience’s lives and therefore echo what people may be hearing in the wider world too. The show includes things such as advice from my mum, news reports that were big at the time, lyrics in the music I listened to, advertising slogans, violence in the media…etc.

When you’re growing up you are discovering who you are or want to be: what are your beliefs? How do you want others to view you? These things are really important to you and because as a teenager you are so unsure of who you are inside, you naturally start to gather information from the outside world; start to form opinions, to shape yourself (sometimes consciously sometimes not) and Blind kind of documents how I started to build an identity for myself from these external sources.

Have these things changed since you were that age?

I guess things are always changing and evolving it just takes time to recognise the impact these changes are having. Parents’ advice will change over time based on the experiences of their own generation, music and role models in music are always evolving: Hip Hop is hugely influential now, there has been a change in government, a recession and of course the rise of the internet has been a massive change. I bridged the gap of the internet/smart phone generation so I remember what it was like to not have those things but I also remember how quickly it entered and consumed my life. The internet and social media is a constant presence for young people now and it has changed the way in which we can access the wider world. There is SO much available to listen to now, kids are more easily exposed to things than when I was younger…

What is it like working with a theatre company? Was it a strange dynamic from what you may be used to as a beatboxer?

My background from a very early age has been in theatre and I studied it at University so I am used to working in a theatre environment so I wouldn’t say it was strange but to be combining the two worlds of beatboxing and contemporary theatre has been really exciting and refreshing for me as a performer who loves both art forms.

What was the most challenging thing about this collaboration?

As it is quite a personal piece and a lot of the material is close to home I found that every line and every theme or point we were making suddenly became more heavily weighted as I realised it would be seen as my opinion and that was quite frightening; there is no character for me to hide behind on stage. There was a point in rehearsals that I was analysing every line and sentiment and going “do I really feel that? Does that really represent me? Will the audience think this or that of me, is what I’m saying entirely truthful to me?” but I had to remind myself that a) there is always room for artistic licence in theatre and b) the show is about discovery and uncertainty so all the more reason to embrace my doubts!

Another challenge was trying to find creative and interesting ways to incorporate beatboxing into the piece. We did a lot of playing around with this and really tried to make sure that every time the audience see me beatboxing or I refer to beatboxing, that it is represented/used in a different way.

After this production, would you like to continue collaborating with theatre?

I was recently in a production called Home (directed by Nadia Fall) at The National Theatre as a young pregnant mum who communicated via beatboxing and loved every second of the process. I hope to find a new acting agent and continue a career in both music and acting.

Is there anything you think you’ll take away from this experience and bring back into your music?

There are always transferrable skills between theatre and music, both are essentially story telling art forms and so I hope by continuing with both, they will strengthen each other equally.

How did you start beatboxing?

There were a few older guys who were into beatboxing in the little town I grew up in Devon, one of my best friends Belle (aka Bellatrix) started to learn from them and I was inspired to learn too. I learnt a lot on Youtube and a lot from Belle, we are now pretty much the only two professional beatboxers in the country..and it all started in Crediton!

Can you offer any advice for aspiring beatboxers?

Practice. Practice. Practice. Be original and have no fear. When you feel confident, start out doing some open mic nights and working with other musicians to get better timing and work on your stage presence.

And most importantly, are glitters tasty?

They certainly tasted better than the flour!

Grace Savage performs in Blind this Friday 18 July at 7pm, to find out more and to book, click here. Blind is previewing here as part of Hatched, our artists development programme, for more information on other productions that are part of it, click here.

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Drag up for Eurovision!

Mrs JonjoThe highly-anticipated Grand Finale of the Eurovision Song Contest is upon us.  Since 1956, Eurovision has taken the continent by storm as the annual song contest held between European countries to find one stand-out song among the doozies. We’re particularly excited to be hosting our own live Eurovision Party screening complete with drag compere extraordinaire, Mrs Jonjo, this Saturday 10 May from 7:30pm. To prepare ourselves for this wild night of patriotism, camp and songs you are likely to forget the next morning, we bring you some random Eurovision Trivia:

Did you know that a drag queen is competing this year? That’s right, this year Austria’s contestant is the bearded queen Conchita Wurst, who is creating quite a stir with this song:

While this contestant may be unexpected to some, past acts have included some pretty zany things. Check out the Top Ten Weirdest Song Contest Entries Ever, including a Hard Rock Hallelujah and Estonian rock featuring a front man resembling Chewbacca from Star Wars:

While some songs are never heard of again, there are quite a few that have gone on to critical-acclaim and lasting success. Most notably, ABBA won for Sweden in 1974 with their smash hit ‘Waterloo’:

Oddly enough, Canadian singer Céline Dion competed for Switzerland back in 1988 and won with the song ‘Ne partez pas sans moi’.

Celine Dion 1988

 

Lastly, to be fully prepared for Eurovision, it’d be best to have a listen to last year’s winner – Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest singing ‘Only Teardrops’:

 

We certainly hope this get you revved up to see who comes out on top this year! Remember to keep your fingers crossed for the UK and maybe those less fortunate countries that have yet to win (Portugal, Malta, Romania, Iceland, Hungary and Cyprus). Come out in your most fabulous drag or in your most patriotic colours for our Eurovision Party on Saturday 10 May at 7:30pm. For information and to book tickets (which include a drink voucher), please click here.

Allison Gold, Marketing Assistant, The Albany

 

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