For over a year, working with East London community music project Stow-lab, we’ve been co-organising a series of music events and workshops called Plugged, with the ethos of connecting people through music. We were also successful in receiving funding from Arts Council England to organise a whole programme of events.

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Inspired by the thirty year old concept of the European Capital of Culture and the more recent UK City of Culture programmes, London Mayor Sadiq Khan in early 2017 announced the brand new initiative of London Borough of Culture. And with London being the size it is, what a great idea! 22 out of London’s 32 boroughs entered their bids and in February 2018 it was announced that Waltham Forest was the winner to become London’s first ever Borough of Culture. And this just happens to be where we’re based!

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It’s October 2017 and we’re working on an amazing project with blind sitar master Baluji Shrivastav, funded by Unlimited – the arts body who support projects by disabled artists. Baluji also heads the UK’s only blind ensemble of musicians, the Inner Vision Orchestra, some members of which who’ve also taken part in our Orchestra of Samples project, including Baluji himself. We’ve worked with Baluji a number of times and he’s always been fascinated by what we do, and earlier this year he asked if we could be involved in his new project Antardrishti, a project on the subject of ‘inner vision’.

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Prior to creating this project but in many ways helping plant the seed for the whole idea of Orchestra of Samples, we had many hours of footage and field recordings we’d filmed in the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan in 2007, when we’d been invited as part of an artists expedition by London’s October Gallery aiming to record and preserve aspects of the country’s ancient ritual dance culture.

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