A group of New York-based musicians have composed a new performance inspired by the landscape and communities of East Durham.
From Out a Darker Sea, created by Sō Percussion,will be performed at a special one-off live event at St John’s Church in Seaham on Thursday 18 August from7 to 9pm.
Nikki Locke, Head of East Durham Creates, which commissioned the work, said: “It will be an art installation, live music and social event all combined into one evening which I hope people will remember for a long time.
“This really will be a rare chance to see these world-class performers in Seaham, presenting work that includes personal stories from the people here in East Durham.”
Sō Percussion is a four-piece ensemble – Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting–based in Brooklyn, New York, who have gained international recognition for their original compositions, percussion performances and education projects.
The group have visited locations in East Durham during several trips to the area since 2015, including East Durham College, Dene Community School, Dawdon Community Centre, Peterlee and Horden Youth and Community Centres, East Durham Artists Network in Seaham and the Caterpillar site in Peterlee. They have developed relationships with people from the region which have resulted in this very special performance inspired by the past, present and future of the area and its coastal landscape.
The evening will combine live music, visual art and film and will include personal stories and memories contributed by local residents including students from East Durham College who have worked with Sō Percussion to create video portraits of their friends and family members.
When people arrive at St John’s Church they will be greeted by an immersive audio-visual installationshaped by the people of East Durham and made to fit within the surroundings of the church.
This will be followed by a 45 minute performance by Sō Percussion, featuring a new live score collaboration with Amber Films, ‘Song for Billy’, which has grown out of Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s The Coal Coastphotographs.
The evening will finish with a relaxed social event including drinks and nibbles, a chance to meet the creators and find out more about the project.
Debbi Landerfrom Forma Arts, the London-based creative production agency which commissioned and produced the event, said: “Sō Percussion are a world class act who have welcomed this opportunity to innovate and develop their practice within the context of the history and future of East Durham, considering the global and personal connections that exist and exploring ideas around time, place and change with local people and through their first time collaboration with Amber Films.”
“We’ve fallen in love with East Durham and have been welcomed so warmly by the local people. Listening to these real stories and spending time in this striking landscape has shaped our own artistic journey,” said Adam Sliwinski fromSō Percussion.
The evening will include music inspired by the area’s coal-mining heritage and coastal location. This will be presented alongside performances inspired by what the group has learnt about East Durham today and people’s everyday experiences of living and working here.
People are encouraged to participate increating the artwork by submitting their own memories, stories and aspirations to feature aspart of the audio-visual installation by visiting www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk/sopercussionbefore Friday 12 August.
Sō Percussion have been described as an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker) and they combine original music, theatrical production values and visual art to produce unique and powerful performances.
From Out a Darker Sea is the latest in a series of performances of new, livemusic projects presented in East Durham, commissioned by East Durham Creates, which have included Ed Carter’s FL10: False Lights, and Stolen Voices, a musical composition made using overheard conversations in Seaham.
Tickets for From Out a Darker Sea cost £7 (£3 East Durham residents and concessions) and are available from www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk/sopercussionor by calling 0191 569 3511. Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday 22 July.
Notes to editors
07799 568 361
Kate Earnshaw, Marketing Manager, East Durham Creates
07867 317 972
From Out a Darker Sea
Thursday 18 August, 7 – 9pm
An evening of live music, visual art and film created for and inspired by East Durham.
A special one-off live performance of From Out a Darker Sea, created by Sō Percussion, at St John’s Church, Seaham on Thursday 18 August, 7 – 9pm.
Sō Percussion is a four-piece ensemble based in Brooklyn, New York, who have gained international recognition for their original compositions, percussion performances and education projects.
The group have spent time with local people, worked with students from East Durham College and collaborated with Amber Films on a new work, Song for Billy, which has grown out of Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s The Coal Coast photographs. This unique event, inspired by the area, will combine live music, visual art and film featuring personal memories of the past and hopes for the future.
Audiences will be greeted by an audio-visual installation shaped by the people of East Durham, followed by a 45 minute live performance by Sō Percussion. The evening will finish with a relaxed social event including drinks and nibbles, a chance to meet the artists and find out more about the project.
Tickets: £7 (£3 East Durham residents/concs)
Includes a drink and nibbles following the performance.
For more information on how to book tickets please visit www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk/sopercussion or contact0191 569 3511.
Participating in creating the artwork by submitting your own memories, stories and aspirations to feature as part of the audio-visual installation by visiting the web address above, before Friday 12 August.
Commissioned as part of East Durham Creates, produced by Forma Arts and Media.
www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk / 0191 518 5073.
Sō Percussion – photo ©2012 Janette Beckman
Sō Percussion – photo ©2014 Claudia Hansen
Chemical Beach, Seaham (c)2015 Claire Willans_Alamy Stock photo
The following people are available for interview:
Nikki Locke, Head of East Durham Creates
Debbi Lander, Interim Artistic Director and CEO at Forma Arts
East Durham Creates is an Arts Council England-supported project, working across the East Durham area and aiming to get more people involved in arts and creative activity. We are working with residents to deliver an ambitious arts programme – every element of which will be community-led in some way, and totally distinctive to the area – inspired by East Durham the place and by the people who live there.
East Durham Creates will offer new experiences to inspire and delight. It will build on and support the vibrant existing arts activity in the area, and develop skills through the arts, helping to bring about long-term, lasting change.
The East Durham Creates team are collaborating with groups and residents to explore what the arts and creativity can offer local communities, testing out lots of different approaches to see what works (and what doesn’t) – and doing all we can to help sustain activity beyond our Arts Council England grant.
East Durham Creates is one of 21 Creative People and Places projects nationally, funded by Arts Council England. It is managed by Beamish, Forma Arts, and East Durham Trust working in partnership and supported by Durham County Council via East Durham Area Action Partnership and Culture and Sport Services. www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk
East Durham Creates is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England. Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live. There are 21 independent projects, each located in an area where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts. www.creativepeopleplaces.org.uk
Forma Arts and Media is one of Europe’s leading creative producing agencies, working with British and international artists to develop and deliver new projects across the world. Established in 2002 in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now based in London, the company is widely acclaimed for its high quality, contemporary, cross art form productions. www.forma.org.uk
Amber film & photography collective came together in 1968 and has been documenting working class and marginalised lives and landscapes in North East England ever since. The unique AmberSide Collection continues to grow out of the work it produces and which it commissions and collects through Side Gallery, the documentary photography venue it opened in 1977. In 2011 its films and collective member Sirkka-LiisaKonttinen’s photographs were inscribed in UNESCO UK’s Memory of the World register. The group has created films, videos and exhibitions in East Durham since the early 1980s, including the feature film coalfield trilogy, The Scar (1997), Like Father (2001) and Shooting Magpies (2005). Konttinen’s Coal Coast landscapes, which provided the genesis for Song for Billy, were toured in East Durham before being developed for a major exhibition at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2003.
Sō Percussion is a percussion-based music organization that creates and presents new collaborative works to adventurous and curious audiences and educational initiatives to engaged students, while providing meaningful service to its communities, in order to exemplify the power of music to unite people and forge deep social bonds.