In 2017, Shapeshifter Productions devised a cultural exchange project, East Winds, in collaboration with Shetland Arts, Waltham Forest Music Services and Rich Mix. This is an exciting and unique opportunity for 6 young violinists from North East & East London to be part of a cultural exchange programme with 6 young fiddlers from The Shetland Islands, exploring Indian and contemporary classical and traditional musics, supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and The Leche Trust.
Over the space of 10 months, two groups, each of 6 young musicians, aged 12-14 years, from extremely different social backgrounds and environments swapped roles, spent time in each other’s habitats, shared experiences, musics, lifestyles. Guided by professional musicians and project leaders, it culminated in developing a short repertoire and devising a piece of original music inspired through this experience, performed North East & South East of the U.K. two concerts being on Shetland and three in London. The lucky participants were encouraged to keep in regular contact with each other throughout, via webcast, blog, Instagram, Skype, Facebook and other social media. This was then documented through film and photography.
The first residency took place in Shetland, in April, and was a huge success. The six London students were hosted by the Shetland youngsters and their families, sharing experiences, music and lifestyles, with the common bond of the violin or fiddle. The young musicians engaged in workshops, rehearsals and concerts exploring Indian, classical, improvisation and traditional musics, guided by Artistic Director, Alison Jones, with tutors: - Paul Anderson, NE Scots fiddle tradition, Aberdeen (Aly Bain unavailable). - Kriss Moulder, Hjaltibonhoga, Shetland. - Balu Raguraman, Carnatic music, Bhavan Centre, London (Jyotsna Srikanth, unavailable). - Geraldine McEwan, tutor support/Bronze Arts Award adviser, Waltham Forest Music Services. The Shetland residency culminated in newly developed repertoire, intertwined with film and stories about their experiences, first performed at Mareel, Lerwick and Cullivoe Hall, Yell.-
They continued to communicate from afar in the lead up to the second residency, in Walthamstow, East London, in July, which continued to provide an exciting, engaging and innovative experience for the 12 young musicians in Walthamstow, where they spent three days of intensive rehearsals, workshops and Master Classes. They had the same team as in Shetland, joined by guest tutors: - Calina De La Mare, classical improvisation workshop with silent movie, London. This workshop was an addition from the original project. - Gary Crosby (Jazz workshop with Tomorrow's Warriors, Rich MIx, London). This opportunity arose from our partnership with Rich Mix. - Kirsten Hendry (pastoral care/violin tutor, jaltibonhoga, Shetland). The week culminated in performances at Cross Rail Roof Garden, Canary Wharf, The Bhavan Centre, Kensington and Rich Mix, Shoreditch, in a festival programme curated by Tomorrow's Warriors and Serious. The students' Bronze Arts Award portfolio is assessed in September.-