In 2017 I worked on the Tram Tracks project for the Bridgewater Hall.
This project was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Metrolink and the 21st of the Bridgewater Hall. There are 93 stops on the Metrolink network and a team of musicians lead by Creative Director Sarah Atter created a song or poem for each stop. Some were written in collaboration with community groups, others were commissioned pieces.
I worked on 11 stops - here are some examples, and for the full list of works, visit the BWH Tram Tracks site.
'Victoria' by Gemma Ashcroft, Sarah Atter, Eve Harrison and Aidan Jolly
The piece is designed to represent the quiet of the early morning before boarding the tram and travelling to the busy transport hub and interchange at Victoria station. The piece begins quietly with drone-like backing and interweaving lines by the performers. Rhythmic movement builds alongside distant siren calls on the trumpet. The guitar then introduces a riff based on the rhythm of ‘Eccles’. The other three performers move through a series of rhythmic cells devised from the names of each of the tram stops at the end of the line: Eccles, Manchester Airport, Altrincham, Bury, East Didsbury, Rochdale Town Centre and Ashton-under-Lyne. Based on Terry Riley’s minimalist piece ‘In C’ performers move through the rhythms at their own rate, but trying to stay within two phrases of each other. The music increases in dynamic and rhythmic drive towards the end as everyone reaches Victoria.
Clayton Hall - Commission by Aidan Jolly
'Welcome Comes Again' was created as a commissioned piece by Aidan Jolly. The Hall is a unique moated building dating back to the 13th Century. It’s hidden away in a busy part of East Manchester. Aidan spoke to Lynn, Dennis and Shirley of the Friends of Clayton Park, who told him its history and showed him round. The song imagines the lives of all the people who have lived and worked there, seen as ‘friendly ghosts’ as you move from room to room, and out into the garden. The hall is well worth a visit - more information is available on www.claytonhall.org
Oldham Mumps - Public songwriting session
‘Years Turn’ was created at one of BWH’s ‘public days’ by Karen Dyson, Steve and Liz Perryman, working with Aidan Jolly. It reflects on the history of Oldham, which is built on mills and migration, and how that history is hidden, in the same way that the streams that meet under the area now known as ‘Mumps’ have been built over. The origin of this wonderful and curious word is obscure, but appears to come from the saxon ‘Ga Mumpi’, meaning, where two streams meet. ?
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Wednesday, February 05, 2020
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