Tag Archives: music

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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Uncover Music is all set for Amplify!

The Uncover Music Company of young music producers, promoters, DJs and musicians are all set to bring you another evening of eclectic new music with Amplify this Saturday 29 March with doors opening at 8pm.

Produced in collaboration with MC, DJ and producer Chunky, the line-up is sure to excite with Blue Daisy, Micall Parknsun and Planas being just a few of the headlining acts. Last week, the group sat down to record their first ever podcast featuring 90 minutes of everything from soul, reggae to hip hop with guest slots by Chunky and Illum Sphere, check it out:

 

 

Stay tuned this week for more behind-the-scenes coverage of the artists in Amplify.

To find out more about Amplify and to book tickets, click here. The first 50 bookers even win a free mystery vinyl from Deptford Market!

 

 

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