I’m looking forward to beginning a new project in Sheffield next term.
I will be working with staff and students from Fir Vale and Parkwood schools on preparing a set of songs from different cultures for celebration performances before Easter.
The songs we are working on make connections with Asia and Muslim culture in various ways. We are including two songs by Sheila Chandra. One is her imaginative reworking of a 50 year old Beatles song Tomorrow Never Knows, which lends itself well to arrangement for traditional Indian instruments. The other is a more obscure song – Chandra’s O.U.R which uses Indian rhythm words to provide a ‘beatbox’ style accompaniment.
Both these Sheffield schools have a significant percentage of Roma students, so we’ll welcome and acknowledge their culture by including two really catchy Slovak songs O Postaris Avel, and Andros Verdan. By way of contrast we are also working on a version of the Outlandish song A Donkey Named Cheetah. Outlandish are a Danish hip hop band whose musicians come from Cuba, Pakistan and Morocco.
But the highlight will be working with local celebrity musician Ahmad Hussain who has built up a large international following with his original nasheeds – written in a contemporary musical style. We are delighted that Ahmad will be joining us for some of the sessions and the performances. We also welcome virtuoso tabla player John Ball who will be helping out with some of the percussion strands to the musical accompaniments.