An Orchestra of Samples recording session with a difference! We spent a long and facinating day recording 80’s icons Wang Chung and their musical inventor friend and Bjork collaborator Henry Dagg and his Sharpsichord! It was the 1980’s and UK band Wang Chung had their massive hit Dance Hall Days, but outside the UK the band had even greater success in the USA with a string of Top 40 hits. Interestingly, their name means “yellow bell” in Chinese and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale.
The Beatbox Collective – are a group of top UK beatbox talent, many of them award winners in their respective styles, who all came together to form one high impact and energetic collective! Originally formed in 2011 when they were commissioned by the Shambala Festival to create an exclusive main stage performance, they’ve since gained members, doing the rounds at UK festivals, including Glastonbury, Bestival and Lovebox to name a few. With the group, never are two shows the same and often the line-up of beatboxers is different. For this recording session we had to pleasure of filming four of them…
After filming musicians in more than 25 countries, we’re now recording sessions on home turf! So headed to Islington in London to spend the day with some of the amazing Inner Vision Orchestra, whose members are all blind! The brain child of blind Indian maestro Baluji Shrivastav, he’s brought together musicians from around the world, with the aim of proving that music really does have the power to transform lives – especially for people without sight, as sound is their way of interacting with the world. The orchestra play everything from Western classical to Indian and world music, some members even played at the London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony.
We’re always looking for artists playing unusual instruments to be part of the project, and recently met up with London based Italian artist Bruno Zamborlin, who’s invented a device called Mogees which turns everyday objects into unique musical instruments!
Orchestra of Samples is about music without borders, and in early 2014 the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival commissioned us to record Northumbrian and Scottish musicians for a performance of the project at their September ‘border crossing’ themed festival, tying in with the vote on Scottish independence.
June 2014, and while performing Orchestra of Samples at the Timitar music festival in Agadir, Morocco, the festival organised a recording session for us at the local Jazzawiya studios, where many international artists have rehearsed – including, at one time, the legend Bob Marley himself! Guitarist Oussama Belmamoune, from the band Mehdi Nassouli, who were headlining that night at the festival, introduced us to a number of his amazing musician friends who we recorded for the project – including himself, who we recorded first.
May 2014 and we were in St Petersburg, Russia, performing ‘Orchestra of Samples’ at the Erarta Contemporary Art Museum for the Cross Art Festival. While there we hooked up with our old friend, the brilliant electronic artist Ilya Baramia (Илья Барамия) who we first worked with…
Le Hangar, the excellent venue in the Ivry suburbs of Paris, recently began their first ever artists-in-residence programme and we had the wonderful pleasure of being their very first, with Orchestra of Samples. The residency allowed us to work with young musicians from both Le Hangar’s music school and the Music Conservatoire of Ivry.
November 2013 and while on a project in Epinal, France, we took the chance to head up the snowy roads of the Vosges Mountains to find Christophe Toussaint, a musician who builds and plays a rather unusual traditional French instrument called the Epinette de Vosges. A beautiful sounding kind of harp, he’s built more than 3000 of them…
During our recent trip to Almaty in Kazakhstan for a gig, we had the opportunity to record local musicians playing the dombyra! The dombyra is Kazakhstan’s nationally recognised instrument and is a long-necked, 2-stringed, acoustic lute but Kazakh band Aldaspan were the first to…
It’s not often you get the chance to meet admired and long-time highly-regarded actual inventors of musical instruments, but this was one of those rare occasions! So we headed off to France to visit the Baschet studio, just south of Paris. The famous Baschet Brothers, François and Bernard, both in their 90s, pioneered a completely new way of combining sculpture and sound in the early 1950s. François was the musician and sculptor while Bernard was an engineer, and together they worked on creating both original installations and inventing new musical instruments.
We’ve known guitarist Alejandro de Valera since the late 90’s, after we first met when he attended an early performance of ours in Paris. Specialising in fretless guitar, unique guitars without fret boards, which he custom builds as they are quite rare and not easy to buy, he became part of the team back in the early 2000’s, performing on a number of our projects.
We first worked with Marcellus way back in 2003 when, as a promoter, he brought us to Japan for an event he was organising. A truly mega-talented chap, it really is fantastic to have him as part of Orchestra of Samples. He sings on the track Sundown (That’s a Fact) for which he also wrote the lyrics.
Whilst in Istanbul this month performing our other film remix and mashup set at Ghetto Club we also gave talks about our work at both Istanbul’s School of Audio Engineering and at Bahçeşehir University. The university also arranged for us to film on their roof terrace with the amazing tanbur player Korkutalp Bilgin. The tanbur is the very long necked stringed instrument usually found in Turkey, the Middle East and Southern & Central Asia.
March 2013 and we headed back to the French capital for another series of recording sessions at Canal 93, the venue in the Paris suburbs of Bobigny who are supporting Orchestra of Samples as part of their artist-in-residence programme.
From performing with Shakira to working on Bend it Like Beckham, virtuoso tabla player Kuljit Bhamra is one of the most influential musicians, composers and producers on the British Asian music scene. A pioneer of the worldwide…
As well as playing at the launch of her 2012 UK tour, joining Mixmaster Morris and Plaid, we also took the opportunity to hook up and record old friend Coppé, the delightfully sweet and eccentric Japanese electronic music producer/singer-songwriter, while she was in the UK.
November 2012 saw us play at the Agora Festival in Bordeaux, France – an amazing festival. The very next day we hooked up with a few local musicians for a day of recording, including with the wonderful cellist and singer-songwriter Agathe Issartier. Despite studying classical music for over 10 years in a conservatoire, she has such a rock attitude and usually plays the cello standing up!
Arranged via being artist-in-residence at Paris venue Canal93, we were ultra pleased that renowned French drummer Cyril Atef wanted to be involved with Orchestra of Samples, we took up the invitation to his studio and headed over to record a session while we were in Paris.
In early 2012 French venue and recording studios Canal 93 came on board the project, helping to part-fund Orchestra of Samples, offering us a place on their artist-in-residence programme. In June 2012 we headed over to the French capital for a few days of recording in their studios in the Paris suburbs of Bobigny, working with over a dozen amazingly talented musicians, some from as far afield as Algeria and Togo.
During a trip to the small Indian Ocean island of Reunion, where we played at the Sakifo Festival 2012, we got to taste real creole music and culture and had the chance to meet a couple of young artists from Reunion Island and the even smaller next door Mayotte Island, both of which are French overseas territories.
February 2012 and we’re in freezing snowy Paris! Chris invited us over to his studio for a recording session, where we spent a great evening together recording samples on a number of different instruments – from piano to a Bouzouki previously owned by Vangelis.
December 2011 and with the Arab Spring still in motion across the Middle-East and North Africa, we headed to Egypt to perform at the Disco Cairo 2011 event at Scharazad in the West El Balad area of the capital. Only just this year, the country has been through the Egyptian revolution but is still in it’s transitionary period and while we were there, there were still mass demonstrations in the streets and particularly in the famous Tahrir Square.
We just got back from playing at Electroblog, a fantastic little festival in Trieste in Northern Italy, where the organisers arranged for us to record an artist friend of theirs called Lorenzo Mos. Mos, as he’s simply known, is very much part of the local music scene there and also performs under the name Circo Bazooko.