As part of the research process, Richy has been working with different groups across the city to explore what we think accents are and different ways we can use them as music.
Deaf Youth Theatre @ Scottish Youth Theatre – 16th May + 13th June 2018
The first session working with Jon and the rest of the team from DYT was a really pleasure. First we tried out a few of Pauline Oliveros’ scores, but instead of thinking about them through sound, we worked on them through sign.
It was really interesting to learn from everyone the different accents in BSL, there were some really glaring differences between Glasgow’s dialect and Edinburgh’s.
We then made the film above, which was all of the group telling a short story about themselves or their home. We layered these stories up on top of each other, much like the different voices in a choir, to make one image out of multiple images, to tell lots of stories at the same time in one story.
My second visit to DYT was a bit different.
The group were preparing for their summer show, so I led a workshop where we used our mobile phones and a few lego people to think differently about the world around us.
We took our lego people to some different locations around SYT, and tried to look at the world the way they might see it. So floor lights became swimming pools, air vents became escape tunnels, mixing boards became space ships. The group made new stories from each of the photos they made, making the mundane world around us into a new, exciting space for creating stories.
LGBT+ Youth Pride @ Tramway – 12th June 2018
Pride Lite 2018, held for the first time this year at Tramway, was an absolute blast, and I was delighted to have been invited this year to run some songwriting workshops with the participants.
Pride Lite was organised by LGBT+ pupils from different schools across Glasgow, for LGBT+ pupils from different schools across Glasgow.
We chose to start thinking about “the voice” in relation to our experience of our communities. The following three songs are the start of what came out of our sessions, and some of the groups took the songs away to finish them, change them, remix them and basically make them better!
The discussions were really useful for me in considering whose voice is loud in a community and whose is quiet, to think about how voices, or accents, can be used to put people down or build people up.
Here’s the demos for the three songs we wrote.
Time for Art @ Tramway – 20th June 2018
Time for Art is a group of artists over the age of 55 based at Tramway. With my interest in Pauline Oliveros’ scores, I worked with the group to explore instruction scores in relation to the members own arts practices.
Over the course of the workshop we tried out a few instruction scores, including
After this we had a really good discussion around how we can put what we are trying to say with our art into words. And how we might use this to write some instruction scores that ask our audience to pay attention in the way our art does.
Here’s a few examples of those instruction scores…
KIN @ Vox Liminis – 9th July 2018
KIN is a close-knit arts collective of 14-25 year olds who have all lived through having a parent or sibling in prison. Turning stigma into solidarity, they have developed a distinct artistic voice.
I’ve worked with KIN previously on projects, and have always been struck by how much attention they pay to the way the art they create is experienced by others.
We started our day with an amazing discussion on the different ways accents function in society.
We talked a lot about preconceptions and judgements, how and where we assign value in hearing accents, but also talked about the positives involved in this process. We came to the conclusion that everything about the way accents work lands somewhere on on a spectrum of negative to positive twice.
What I mean by that, is that something negative in the dynamic around accents to one person, actually makes a positive impact on someone else. Accents are fluid things and aren’t fixed, and our experience of them in terms of how they affect us socially is equally fluid.
Following this amazing discussion, I introduced another idea that had been percolating around the bigger Accents project. I’ve been thinking about Glasgow’s icons, the bell, the bird, the fish and the tree from the rhyme of St.Mungo, Glasgow’s patron saint:
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam
We talked about the stories around this rhyme, which you can find more about here.
Using both these stories, and our discussion about the flow of accents in society, we broke into two groups and wrote new verses that incorporated these ideas into the ideas that the KIN group specialise in, namely their experiences of familial imprisonment.
Both verses are as follows…
I was lost, but we were not
Alone I faced my darkest thoughts
Together we paved our own way
And found ourselves in the light of day
Sometimes I swim with the current
Sometimes we go against the grain
Sometimes you sound like a bird has not sung
Sometimes we sing like the bells have been rung
We then took our poems out to Glasgow Green to film ourselves performing them near to the river, the trees, the birds and the bells of Glasgow.
Sonic Meditations @ Kelvingrove Bandstand – 20th July 2018
Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations are a clear inspiration behind the Accents project, and as such I wanted to take the opportunity to perform them in Glasgow to better understand how people react to singing them and hearing them.
As part of the Kelvingrove Bandstand’s Family Festival, we held an open to all workshop at the Bandstand on a lovely clear Friday evening.
We worked our way through 5 different meditations, learning a lot about the works and they they change over time through their performance.
It was a really special evening, and was brilliant to try them out with a group of people who, for the most part, had never heard of or tried her music before.
If you’d like to take a look at some of Oliveros’ scores you can download them here.
Romanti-Crash @ Jupiter Artland – 28th July 2018
I was invited to facilitate a workshop at the Jupiter Artland campout, a yearly festival of art and music help in the sculpture gardens just outside Edinburgh.
As part of the final work I will be making new film works alongside new instruction scores, which the choirs will be singing to, creating their own soundtrack to films about their city, using the film as a kind of moving-graphic score.
This workshop was a way to experiment with how people read graphic scores.
We first came up with some words we would use to describe sounds, then used these words to draw pictures of these sounds. We pinned the pictures to a board and used them as a big graphic score that a conductor (or sometimes conductors) could guide us through to make music.
It was crazily windy that day, which only added to the kind of craziness of the music making. But it was defiantly fun and we made some seriously interesting music whilst doing it!