Grandmaster Gareth, Xhosa Cole, Annie Mahtani, Scott Johannsson, David Duggal.jpeg





‘Truly a unique project for the city of Birmingham’ Professor Julian Lloyd Webber,Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Details of twenty-four community groups participating in Birmingham’s major city-wide music project for-Wards have been announced today (6 March 2018).
The project, which recently launched its second and final year at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, is now underway working with hundreds of residents in community groups and schools across the city including Erdington, Sutton Four Oaks, Acocks Green, Nechells, South Yardley, Moseley, Kingstanding and Sheldon. From schools with music at their heart to history and conservation groups. There are rock choirs, fitness groups, adults with learning difficulties to older people living on their own – the project doesn’t omit any age or ability.
Participants are collaborating with their selected composer to write music about their local area through a series of interactive workshops. Each community group and composer will record sounds and stories reflecting what it means to live, work, socialise or create in their local environment.
The stories and sounds become the compositional starting point for 6 brand-new music compositions of differing music genres steered by a team of professional composers all with strong connections to Birmingham city. Each of these compositions will receive their world premiere in live public performances in June this year. The music will be recorded on limited edition vinyl and will form a unique online interactive sound archive for future generations.
Birmingham-born project founder, and composer in her own right, Bobbie Jane-Gardner said “Music is a great platform to help promote well-being. Who doesn’t love music or the chance to sing! Residents are collaborating with our incredible professional composers going out onto the streets to record the sounds of their own community creating a cultural sound map of the UK’s great second city. In an age where people are becoming more isolated this is a great-way of bringing people together to feel proud of where they live.”
Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said “for-Wards truly is a unique project for the city of Birmingham. Its scale and ambition in creating a musical ode to the city is staggering and we look forward to hearing the stories, found sounds and live performances later this year.”
for-Wards Year 2 is in partnership with Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Hare and Hounds, Access to Music, Flatpack Projects, Wassifa CIC, Kalaboration and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group who each selected the 6 composers
The 6 composers, all with Birmingham connections are:
Electroacoustic composer, sound artist, performer and music lecturer Annie Mahtani, songwriter and composer Grandmaster Gareth who runs an 8-piece band Misty’s Big Adventure, as well as releasing solo-albums; Dubstep guru Pøgman who is cementing his place in Dubstep with tours in Canada, USA and Australia; Handsworth-born Jazz saxophonist Xhosa Cole, part of the established legacy of Birmingham Jazz saxophonists founded by Andy Hamilton; Scott Johannsson a Birmingham-based visual artist and musician and member of the group LARVA; producer and writer Simon Duggall who has written in a variety of genres for artists including Shania Twain, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and The Beat.
Birmingham is a hot-bed for music and boasts an envious list of musicians and groups including Duran Duran, UB40, Laura Mvula, Joan Armatrading, Black Sabbath, Andy Hamilton, The Twang, Ruby Turner, Steele Pulse, ELO, Ocean Colour Scene, Birmingham Opera Company, The Move, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
for-Wards is kindly funded by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, PRSF, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), Hare and Hounds, Access to Music, Flatpack Projects, Wassifa CIC, Kalaboration, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, The Feeney Trust, Birmingham City Council, Arts Council England and PledgeMusic supporters.
The participating groups announced today are:

Composer: Scott Johannsson
*Electronica, Experimental, Cinematic (Flatpack Projects *
Erdington Polish Expats Association
Kingstanding Kingstanding Community Food Project
Stockland Green Stockland Green Historical Society
Tyburn Chivenor Primary School

Composer: Grandmaster Gareth
*Jazz/Lounge/Psychedelia/2-Tone/Pop/Punk (Midlands Arts Centre (MAC)/Birmingham and Hare and Hounds) *
Hall Green Robin Hood Academy
Moseley & Kings Heath All Saints Youth Project
Sparkbrook Ashiana Community Project Group
Springfield The Springfield Project

Composer: Xhosa Cole
Jazz/Electronic (Wassifa CIC)
South Aston and Nechells Sth Aston United Reformed Church Ramblers & Local History Group
Ladywood Deaf Cultural Centre Youth Group
Nechells Via Nova Choir
Soho James Watt Primary School

Composer: Pøgman
Dubstep (Access to Music)
Sutton New Hall Sutton Rock Choir
Sutton Trinity Whitehouse Common Primary School
Sutton Vesey Shaggy Dogs Golf Club Boldmere
Sutton Four Oaks Greville House Care Home

Composer: Annie Mahtani
Electroacoustic (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group)
Acocks Green Kimichi School
Sheldon Sheldon Tai Chi Group
South Yardley South Yardley Craft Group
Stetchford & North Yardley Beavers Group

Composer: Simon Duggal
Reggae/Dancehall/Hip Hop/Bhangra (Wassifa/Kalaboration)
Perry Barr Yew Tree Community School
Lozells and East Handsworth Handsworth Park Fitness Group
Handsworth Wood DISC – Dementia Information and Support for Carers
Oscott Maryvale Community Project

The performance dates and locations of each of the world premieres will be announced later this year.

Tuesday 6th March 2018

MEDIA ENQUIRIES (Interviews, site visits, photocalls, audio/visual recordings)
Mandy Rose, M Seven Public Relations
M: 07454 365421 E:

Useful websites:

Notes to Editors

• In 2017 for-Wards commissioned 10 leading composers with a strong Brummie connection including alternative pop legends Pram, Afrofuturist Hip Hop artist Juice Aleem and Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick, to work in one of the city’s 10 districts and all of its 40 Wards, to produce a distinctive sonic response, inspired by a bank of community generated field recordings collected in each district and shared stories. The 10 new works were performed back in the districts in which the sounds were found.

• The project is now in its second and final year with a specially selected group of 6 professional composers with Birmingham connections working in brand new wards for 2018. The project culminates with the world premiere of 6 new works in public spaces in summer 2018 leaving a unique online archive for future generations.

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