the politics of friendship

many hands make light work is a piece about sharing the load.

props to all musicians involved; loz, anton and james.
thanks to cheryl at grand union and the grubby mitts for asking me to be the support act.

for its first incarnation we did well in such a short space of time and yay we didn’t burn down minerva works!

thanks to photographer david rowan for some top photos!

 

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Tunes

Time to listen!! Enjoying a composition hiatus as I’ve been composing nonstop since the summer. Time for a well-deserved break.

Vibin’ off these tunes at the moment…

Cate Le Bon – Sisters

Art Farmer – Soul Sides:

The 8th Day – Cheeba:

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – Moorish Dance:

Eric Dolphy – Eclipse:

Aerial M – Dazed and Awake:

Sufjan Stevens – The BQE:



Tapeworm

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There was an opportunity to compose a one page score for top ensemble Noszferatu as part of Frontiers Festival. I was mad busy working/writing essays/finishing other pieces and had resigned myself to not being able to do so. However, when I spotted my name down on the list, I thought I’d rise to the challenge anyway.

I wanted to further explore my interest in parasitic relationships.
The relationship between a flatworm parasite and snails was intriguing, the fact it became almost like a zombie  was curious. I wanted to find a way to explore the imbalance. One idea starts with a lot and is stripped bear, the other multiplies and grows at the expense of the former. Non-mutual symbiotic relationships.

As a title I thought ‘Flatworm’ sounded a bit dry, so opted to entitle the piece ‘Tapeworm’, another parasite, sounds cooler, and it connected to a piano piece ‘Tick’ I had written earlier – which explored the same idea in a slightly different way.

You can have a listen here
Many thanks to top musicians Finn Peters, Joel Bell, Ivo de Greef and Percy Pursglove!



String Arrangements

I have been asked to compose string arrangements for Lizzie Emeh’s new LP. I thought I’d find this quite easy as my compositions tend to be quite melodic, oh how naive of me!
So as the stress levels have increased (writer’s block) – I decided to take a day off working on the tracks, start a 6000 word research essay due in 3 weeks (!!), and listened to great string arrangers. Whilst figuring out how to create arrangements for Lizzie’s tracks, I have enjoyed working on the texture/warmth/subtleties. What I have found challenging is being bold at the right moment. Thanks to Mark at Heart and Soul for being patient with me and giving me this opportunity. Time to step up now!

Listen and learn from great string arrangers:

Patrice Rushen:

Rod Temperton:

Will Malone:

Will Gregory:

Lalo Schifrin:

Glen Page:

David Van DePitte:

David Whitaker:


A nice interview with Mr. Whitaker.



for-wards

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I am pleased to announce that Sound and Music have agreed to fund a pilot music project based in Bham neighbourhoods called for-wards.

More details and website to come… Exciting and very busy times indeed!



Spring

Who needs words?
 

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Adrift

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Image by Ruby’s Treasures.

A piece I have written for string quartet and soprano is being performed at 9.15pm at Warwick Arts Centre, after their Nocturne performance.

The piece is called ‘Adrift’ and the words are written by Warwick Uni student/poet Miss Ella.
Here’s a wee snippet, I am still buzzing from how beautifully the Coull Quartet and Sophie Pullen performed in today’s rehearsal!

 

 



Chef Concertino

At the start of the year, I was fortunate to have an orchestral piece called “Chef Concertino” performed at Birmingham Conservatoire. The composition department has an annual competition where composition students can submit works to be performed; the best 6 are chosen.

My performance incorporated two passions: food and music. It featured my chef uncle and Graeme Rose from Stan’s Cafe. It was a good first attempt and a lot of work went into it. I would make more tweaks if I had time, such as more interaction between orchestra and chef, but there’s only so many hours in the day.

Have a listen:

 

Video:

 


 



X

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(Photographer Vanley Burke with curator Ian Sergeant)

‘X’ was revolution no. 20, under the Free School events curated by Ian Sergeant. It was inspired by an intriguing, enthralling and what John L. Williams calls a tragicomic story of black political activist Michael X.

Initially Ian Sergeant wanted a performance inspired by black British politics in the Midlands. Shamefully, knowing very little about black British politics I penned some ideas for an audio-visual performance, calling in artist and musician Matt Watkins to assist. Ian had just started reading the John L. Williams book and quite quickly his ideas changed…. Michael X became the focal point. I have to admit, I was resistant, having reservations because I was invested in the first idea, but once I read the biography it all made sense. I am glad Ian made that change! Read more



Friday 6th September – Free School

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Photo by Horace Ove
Performance happening in a few weeks! Come and support! 



Busy bee

 

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This summer I have four composition projects on the go, I have never composed so much in my life! It is great but I can’t wait to have some down time (which means only thinking about one piece at a time… ) It has been a busy summer.

 

Fun with Cancer Patients

I have just completed work on a project commissioned by Fierce Festival called ‘Fun with Cancer Patients’. Lead (performance) artist is Brian Lobel:

Brian Lobel has drawn on his own experience of cancer treatment as a young adult to facilitate a series of ‘actions’ by Birmingham teenage cancer patients. These actions are self-initiated and designed to be of value to the teenagers themselves in processing their experience of cancer. These actions took place following a workshop process over the summer of 2013. The exhibition documents these activities, alongside reflections from medical professionals. “

Read more



Summertime sum up

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What beautiful weather! A year ago, I met a Swedish lady in London (on the bus I think), who said the main reason she decided to stay in the UK was down to the summer of ’76. She told me she had been longing ever since for another glorious summer like that to return. Maybe her wait is over….

Anyway, I feel it is time to update you with the world of Bobalon.

Read more