We’ve been commissioned by cultural arts organisation ArtReach, who were inspired by our creative process of working on Orchestra of Samples, to create a performative installation for their Journeys Festival with Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri, sampling a number of musician sanctuary seekers and refugees now settled in the UK and Europe.
June 2020 and we were to perform Orchestra of Samples at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris for the launch of their new magazine Humanities Arts and Society, the event was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic.
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.
Selected to join hundreds of artists from across mainly Africa and the Middle East and some from Europe and Latin America, we headed to Morocco’s capital Rabat to perform at music industry showcase event Visa For Music – the largest of its kind on the African continent.
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!
Our final date at Musicport festival 2017 ends our UK tour! We took Orchestra of Samples up and down the United Kingdom, from Wiltshire to Whitby, via London, Sheffield, Hull, Norwich and many other towns and cities.
We were joined on our performances by both guest and regular musicians, including fretless guitar virtuoso Alejandro de Valera…
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.
Orchestra of Samples tee-shirts are ready! We’ve teamed up with our pals at THTC – The Hemp Trading Company – who’ve printed some fantastic organic cotton tees with Anna Alcock’s beautiful Orchestra of Samples album artwork! Get your’s here direct from THTC, different sizes are available.
Yes, it’s no secret we’re finally releasing an album of Orchestra of Samples! In the last six months we’ve let out little snippets of news bit by bit, but now we can tell everyone that the release date is 2nd June 2017 for CD, vinyl and digital.
Releasing Orchestra of Samples meant the selection of chosen tracks from the project needed mixing / engineering differently from the live show. The !K7 label introduced us to French producer Jérôme Caron (aka Blackjoy), who’s produced artists including singer and actress
We first saw South African artist Anna Alcock’s beautiful artwork in 2014 in an art exhibition at her Inky Cuttlefish Studios in East London. We immediately thought her style of artwork would be great for an Orchestra of Samples album cover.
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.