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 – bear in mind some London boroughs are larger than some cities! 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!
So, from January to December 2019, London’s inaugural Borough of Culture takes place, with events happening all year across the area. Addictive TV were asked to create an Orchestra of Samples installation for the opening event ‘Welcome to The Forest‘ (January 11-13), which saw over 70,000 people attend! For our piece we worked with the many talented local musicians based in the borough and the WF19 events team put out this open call and we soon found a whole host of incredible local talent!
A number of sessions took place in October and November 2018, in people’s houses, in parks, rehearsal spaces and all day sessions at the famous William Morris Gallery and the new WF19 hub space One Hoe Street. As well as the obvious, such as guitars and even more guitars, lesser known instruments we recorded included the Bass Viol (like a cello but deeper sounding), dhol drums (the double-headed drum widely used throughout the Indian subcontinent) and the celtic harp.
Musicians we recorded were Layil Barr on Viol, Mandu AK on bansuri flute, Anna Skodbo on harp, three different rappers Lemzi, Kitch and Fedzilla, the whole Rothoff family individually playing piano, violin and saxophone, Casey Pearl on bass guitar, Sol Downes on acoustic guitar, poet Eddie Brett, teenage rock guitarist Jaidon Josiah (who happens to be autistic), Krix Panx on vihuela (a Mexican guitar-like instrument), guitarist Simon Ward, talented teenage pianist David Mac (who also happens to be autistic) and dhol drum players Jasdeep Singh Bamrah, Inderpal Lolay and brothers Tanvir & Ranvir Juttla from The Dhol Academy.
Another all-day recording session, which took place at the new arts hub space One Hoe Street in Walthamstow, London, the local based London East Jazz Network helped us out with a number of musicians which included a lot of percussionists! Talent who brought their skills along were Khaled Hakim on daf (the Middle Eastern frame drum), Dia Gomis, Benjamin Racionzer and Sue Goode from London African Drumming on a variety of African drums (Benjamin also played trumpet for us and Dia also played kalimba), Daniel Louis who played a huge custom built steel pan drum, and then also on steel pans were Tulin Bayramoglu and Maui Lum Lopez from Walthamstow School for Girls who were both directed by their music teacher Richard Murphy, James Brady on flugelhorn (brass instrument similar to a trumpet), David Lance Callahan (from the band The Wolfhounds) on guitar and lastly Kat Richmond (from the band Arsenic Mines) on violin. It was a looong day!
The final session, a week later, was with drag queen extraordinaire Victoria Sponge who certainly brought some sparkle to proceedings!
During the opening weekend, ourselves and The Dhol Academy‘s Jasdeep Singh Bamrah were interviewed on BBC Radio London’s Sunny & Shay programme.
Here’s a re-formatted online version of the finished installation…
With huge thanks to Sam Hunt, Niccy Halifax, Ellie Barnatt and the WF19 team, Mark Kass from London East Jazz Network, Sam Jones from Soundthread, Hassan Vawda from the Muslim Cultural Forum, Gary Dickson from Lover’s Rock and Adam Taylor.