People, partnerships and access to places

An integral part of SoundsCreative’s social mission is to ensure that the musical experiences we run and co-create are as accessible to as many people as possible from all walks of life and musical or ‘non’ musical backgrounds. 

With the vision to gather people together through quality arts activities both, collaborative and experiential, we strive to find ways to make sure the doors are open and classes, gigs, workshops are welcoming to all.  Of course this is inevitably difficult to counter-balance with sustaining a financially functioning enterprise.  Our business model is set up so that part of the enterprise is funded by participant payments to the Neighbourhood Projects and part by the commissioned Conjure your Own Projects. 

With the Conjure your Own commissions we aim to work with a range of arts organisations and local authorities who share our vision in bringing arts activities to varied audiences and target groups.  With our Neighbourhood Projects we are well aware that as soon as you have to charge for workshops it deceases access for many groups in the community.  This is why we are working hard to set up funding links and referral partners for each of our 5 Neighbourhood Projects (Tots Tunes, Tea + a gig, SoundsCreative Ensemble, Vox Voices and Big&small).

Over the last 2 years we have been working in partnership with Islington based charity Music First.  Music First has provided funding for 25% of places on our SoundsCreative Ensemble.

We are really pleased to be developing a new partnership with Vortex Foundation, the charity branch of the Vortex jazz club, with whom SoundsCreative has a long-term relationship.  Working with Cameron Reynolds on his ‘In the Changes’ project, the initial part of this partnership has funded a series of Tots Tunes ‘On the Move’ sessions, reaching new audiences by running classes in the local Mapeldene Children’s Centre. These have been run in the weeks leading up to the Dalston Children’s Festival when we will run an open Tots Tunes session in Gillett Square which we hope will bring new and old Tots Tunes goers together

In a conversation with Cameron Reynolds he relayed:

“The Vortex Jazz Club is embarking on an exciting new programme called IN THE CHANGES (ITC) that will increase the chances for Hackney communities to take part in some of the incredible art London has to offer.   

It is fantastic to be building on our existing partnership with Tara and SoundsCreative as part of ITC. As well as giving both Tara and the Vortex the opportunity to share her exceptional creative activities with a wider audience, it gives us the chance to grow and develop a whole new range of amazing experiences. 

 Tara's ethos of inclusiveness - bringing people together through fun, creative music making fits the Vortex vision perfectly and is exactly what we need to help us face the growing challenges our community faces in these difficult and divisive times”

This is just the start of this exciting partnership as we work together with Cameron and the foundation to support some of our other Neighbourhood Projects too.  Watch this space!

We are on the search for and in conversation with other local organisations so that in 2018 all our Neighbourhood Projects will have 25% of their participant places subsidised. Most importantly we will be working closely with these referral partners to reach those who would most benefit from these creative, social activities.

Tea + a chat with Breakfast Club Duo

Cellist Natasha Zielazinski and Recorder player Rhia Parker and from Breakfast Club talk to us about; riffling through manuscripts, the birth of their quartet, the beauty of the recorder (s) and how collaborations with young musicians of all musical stages impact on their own creativity and compositional process.

They will perform at Tea + a gig on 6th June.  Book here.

Where did the name Breakfast Club Duo come from?

A year or so ago, along with our wonderful colleagues Detta Danford and Evi Nakou, we were inspired to form a quartet. Our first rehearsal was spent rifling though the scores and sheet music in the library of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, trying to find repertoire for our slightly odd ensemble (recorder, cello and two flutes). The situation reminded us of the film The Breakfast Club, in which a group of teenagers have to spend their weekend in the library for detention, and we semi-jokingly bestowed the name upon ourselves.  As these things tend to go, however, the name stuck! This gig represents a more miniature sized version of Breakfast Club with just recorder and cello - hence the 'Duo"!

 

The recorder is a much-maligned instrument – invoking thoughts of rounds of ‘London’s Burning’ or general atonal screeching. Rhia, do you take pleasure in changing people’s perspectives of your instrument?

Absolutely! I've played the recorder since I was about 3 and have always been surrounded by incredibly supportive family and friends. However, I encounter negative connotations about the recorder constantly, even when talking to professional musicians. It saddens me that so many people's first, and perhaps only experience of the recorder is that of a toy or (at best) a stepping-stone to learning a "real instrument". On the flip side, it does mean that the reactions from people after hearing myself or any of my talented recorder friends play, is so exciting - to be able to reveal the true beauty of my instrument to people is a real joy.

 

How well do the recorder and the cello work together?
The exciting thing about the recorder is that there are so many of them! This means that we can experiment with how different types and sizes of recorder sound with the timbres and qualities of the cello. We make conscience decisions about whether we want to blend our sound as much as possible (the cello sounding more 'breathy; the recorder having more of a bowed feeling) or explore the exciting individual qualities of each instrument. What really brings us together as a duo is a love of playing and reinterpreting interesting music, and finding a unique quality of sound in the gap between strings and woodwind.

Natasha – you co-run the Future Band ensemble project at the Barbican working with 8-18 year olds on composition and performance projects? What difference do you think projects like this can make to the development of young musicians?

Yep, I set up Future Band nearly 9 years ago with flutist Detta Danford (also of Breakfast Club quartet). The project is really exciting as it involves a mix of young people, Guildhall students and guest artists sitting down together to make something new. At the moment we are working with an amazing guest called Anne Harild, who will work with us to build a House for Listening to the Clouds for the Waltham Forest Garden Party this July. The hope is that every project we do we are all (meaning everyone, including Detta and I) learning something new, trying something different or being asked to make, think about or understand our music making in a different way. We're experimenting, making and performing, and repeating the process again, but each time different. It has a massive impact on my own composing and performing, and hopefully does the same for all of the young people involved too. If you want to check out more about the band you can here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_avI3_v7I0.

How did you come to know about SoundsCreative Projects?

Through our friend, the wonderful Tara Franks!

What do you think of the Tea + a Gig concept?

Love the idea!

At SCP we believe in connections. Can you connect us to 3 great artists we should know about?

Kadialy Kouyate - kadialykouyate.com

Aris Daryono (gamelan player) -  www.sea-arts.net/aris-daryono

Ranjana Ghatak - www.ranjanaghatak.co.uk

 

The Power of the Lullaby

As many of our Tots Tunes and Tea + a Gig parents will already know, music can be a powerful way to engage with your child, particularly during their non-verbal development stage.  A recent piece of research from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music suggests an even more striking benefit: that singing lullabies can help mothers beat post-natal depression.

Photos by Zoe Maxwell. Taken at a Tots Tunes class

The research suggests this works by benefitting both the child and the mother and increasing communication. Although a mother with post-natal depression may lack emotional expression in their singing, the babies receive personalised stimulation as the mother intuitively regulates tempo and pitch to in line with the infant’s response. At the same time, the mother is distracted from negative thoughts and feels empowered as a parent.

Professor of Music Therapy Shannon de l’Etoile who developed the research says “Infants may be drawn to the personalised tempo and pitch of their mother, which encourages them to direct their gaze toward and ultimately communicate through this gaze”.

 

Here are some of our favourite lullabies from around the world.

Yo no ni Kau -  a new Tots Tunes favourite. A gorgeous Traditional lullaby originating from Nigeria, learnt from vocal group Voice (Look out for it on the next Tots Tunes album!)

Written and arranged by creative director of SoundsCreative and Tots Tunes leader, have a listen to The Wind song - totstunes.bandcamp.com/track/the-windgarden.  The Words were taken from a children's book.

Hush Little Baby – A classic that many of us still probably sing and have had sung to us. While the author and origin of Hush Little Baby are unknown, it is thought to have been written in the Southern states. Essentially a list of bribes and false promises, the repetitive pattern and simplicity of the song makes it ripe for improvisation and extension. The song has been recorded many, many times, including by Joan Baez, Nina Simone and more recently Regina Spektor.

Hushabye Mountain - A classic and beautiful song -  You may remember it?  this ballad was written by songwriting team Robert and Richard Sherman and appears in Albert R. Broccoli film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain

Softly blows o'er lullaby bay.

It fills the sails of boats that are waiting--

Waiting to sail your worries away.

It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain

And your boat waits down by the key.

The winds of night so softly are sighing--

Soon they will fly your troubles to sea.

So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain.

Wave good-bye to cares of the day.

And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain

Sail far away from lullaby bay.

 

Tea + a Chat with The Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern, aka Jamie Doe, talks to us about creative osmosis, supporting CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and working with a full band for the first time in years. He also introduces us to three more artists to add to our playlist. Jamie plays at Tea + a Gig on Tuesday 2nd May – get advance tickets here.
 

Tell us about yourself

My name is Jamie Doe and I'm a singer, songwriter and musician living in London. I've been performing my songs under the name The Magic Lantern for 10 years now and standing up and singing for people is one of the great joys of my life. 

The Magic Lantern has its origins in the Bristol music scene that included artists such as This is the Kit, Rozi Plain and Rachel Dadd. How does being part of a likeminded network of artists support and influence the creative process?

It can only help. More than anything, being part of group of like minded people, can give you the confidence to carry on when things are tough and cheer you on when things are great. The influences of my friends have crept into my own work by osmosis until sometimes I can't hear it until I listen back to a recording. I'm extremely lucky to be surrounded by so much love, and that gives me the confidence to keep hurling myself at the world’s indifference. 

On your ‘Love of too Much Living – Remakes’ album you asked artists in your circle to reinterpret and record your songs. How much did have to relinquish your control over the songs to reach the final result?

I had no control at all over how each artist made their own interpretation. It was wonderfully liberating. More than anything else, I was curious to see what they would do, given that the original recordings were so stripped back. The songs were very personal though, so listening to some of the remakes was quite emotional as I had never heard them sung to me, only by me. It was also very important to me that all the proceeds of the record went to the male suicide prevention charity CALM - the Campaign Against Living Miserably - who's work I very, very strongly support. Check them out:

 https://www.thecalmzone.net/

Your forthcoming album ‘To the Islands’ sees you working with a full band for the first time in years. What is proving most rewarding about this experience?

It's been great to work with a full band again. I've been very lucky to be able to ask some of my favourite musicians to play my music with me this time. Working with them and being inspired by their musicianship has been a great experience. Together we are making something very beautiful and I think it is going the best thing i've ever done. 

How much effort do you need to put in to make your voice sound so effortless?

If only the voice worked on an effort and reward system. I find how I'm feeling makes more of a difference to how I sing than how hard I try. When I'm feeling confident and relaxed it just pours out, when I'm stressed it's like pushing water up hill. I've been singing long enough now though to realise that the difference is more noticeable to me than to the audience. 

How did you come to know about SoundsCreative Projects?

I met Tara Franks through a great recorder player called Rhia Parker. They've done some work together and we met at a house gig that Rhia organised. We hit it off straight away, and here we are!

What do you think of the Tea + a Gig concept?

I love it! I think it's great to provide an opportunity for people to hear live music during the daytime who might not otherwise be able to see gigs, which of course, normally happen at night. More please!

At SCP we believe in connections. Can you connect us to 3 great artists we should know about?

Sam Brookes - one of the best singers I’ve ever heard and a marvellous human being to boot.

http://www.sambrookes.com/

Alabaster Deplume - a poet, composer and saxophonist from Manchester. There is no-one quite like him. His monthly night 'Peach' at the Total Refreshment Centre in Dalston is a unique and special thing to experience. 

http://www.alabasterdeplume.com/

Samantha Whates - a Scottish singer-songwriter I've done a lot of touring with, Samantha's songs are as deep and true as they come. 

http://www.samanthawhates.com/ 

 

 

Widening access to musical education...why it's more than important than ever

The Guardian recently published a comment piece, ‘Music education is now only for the white and the wealthy’ about the increasing lack of access to music education in the UK. Sadly this is something that we at SoundsCreative Projects have witnessed first hand. As priorities and budgets have dwindled, music education is being pushed further into the private sector – which in turn narrows access for all but the most privileged.

Tara Franks, Founder and Creative Director of SoundsCreative Projects has worked from many years with organisations including Music First and CIC Arts First Islington, and recently on a Conjure Your Own project with National Orchestra for All, all of which place an emphasis on widening access to musical opportunities and experiences more traditionally associated with privilege.

Tara’s work history has helped shape SoundsCreative Projects and how we operate. SoundsCreative Projects is a social enterprise – a not for profit organisation with a social mission – to connect people through creative musical experiences. We are currently developing our referral partner scheme – working with partner organisations to provide subsidised places on certain Neighbourhood Projects. For the past two years Music First has funded 25% of places on our SoundsCreative Ensemble workshops.

SC Ensemble.jpg

We are also pleased to announce that our partner the Vortex Foundation has been awarded Paul Hamlyn Foundation funding and will be working with SoundsCreative Projects to fund Tots Tunes ‘on the move’ sessions, reaching new audiences by running classes in local Children’s Centres in the weeks leading up to the Dalston Children’s Festival.

We are always open to new conversations, and would love to hear from you if you work for an organisation that might want to become a referral partner for a Neighbourhood Project, or if you can get involved and support in any other way.