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Sonic Vistas rehearsals and performance / 6 September 2015

Sonic Vistas rehearsing at Drake Music then performing at Liberty Festival London 2015

Sonic Vistas rehearsing and performing ay Liberty Festival London 2015

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We did it. The Sonic Vistas project has been an illuminating and expansive experience. In an extremely short period of time, 7 of us disabled artists/ musicians have devised and recorded 5 songs, for which I made 5 film projections (now videos). We performed them live at the Liberty Festival London 2015, part of which was captured by Channel 4 and included in their National Paralympic Day programme, shown in the ist week of August.

This has been an amazing journey and a wonderful learning curve in our creative development. We were not quite prepared for the rigours of our extremely tight time constraints and associated pressures. This meant that we all had to be open and honest about our feelings and stress levels. Throughout, we learnt how to work together, new ways of working with new technologies and developing our respective creative skills and experiences. The support from our facilitators from Drake Music in setting up our AMT (Assistive Music Technology) instruments, extending our skills and knowledge of using them, recording and playing them live was invaluable.

The outcome of the Sonic Vistas project developed way beyond my initial concept. Entirely due the level of open creative sharing between us, 7 completely different artists working equitably together as a group. My initial idea was to make 5 films projections with text to inspire our music making. This was only partially working, so we developed a more open exchange between the music making and forming the visuals, achieved through group discussion, recording our music as we developed it and me taking those influences back into my filmmaking. From there on the project became much more organic. Mik Scarlet and MC Geezer contributed their own lyrics and Howard Jacques had some inspiring mobile phone film footage of his docklands light train journey, which I used. Rosie Vachat took the lead on developing our song about AMT, as she was our most experience AMT musician. MC Geezer, Howard Jacques and Kris Halpin (with his Mi.Mu gloves) developed the deep beats for deaf access to our songs. And Sophie Partridge provided us with some beautiful singing.  

After our final rehearsal (which was recorded) and our performance over the same weekend, we were all shattered but elated.  The response from our die-hard audience was well worth all the effort. The Liberty Festival London 2015 event was open air with nonstop rain. As a result attendance was low and most of those who came sheltered in the surrounding tents. Around 100 people situated themselves in earshot or in front the stage to watch us and the projections. I can’t say how many actually heard us overall. That was the only disappointment of the entire project, but the weather was beyond our magic. Fortunately we had our performance filmed by Simon Purins. We have had many requests from people who couldn't attend who want to see us. Also our recorded demo songs with videos will be online shortly. From here we want to raise the funds to make an EP from our 5 songs. So watch this space.

I leave you with final words fro MC Geezer (our deaf rapper) “Yo sonic vistas, I can't wait to continue this band and do more songs and music and tour. This is my future I love every thing about this. I am now looking at this video of what Simon did. Let’s all meet up soon for a coffee and chat. Mc