2020 has been a challenging year for the music industry due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but award-winning vocal ensemble SANSARA has responded with characteristic imagination and creativity by launching a new project that aims to get everyone involved in music making and to be creative with their voices. Funded by Arts Council England, re:create is a long-term digital co-creation project designed for people to be actively involved in the production of new music. SANSARA is building a vocal sound library consisting of crowdsourced material and recordings by the group’s professional singers. This resource will then be used by music creators to produce new music, including several specially commissioned pieces.
This cutting-edge project stands as a musical metaphor for collaborative regeneration that aims to inspire, engage, and connect with audiences in a new way, making innovative and positive steps forward in the current social climate and beyond.
SANSARA has commissioned composers from across genres including Jasmin Kent Rodgman and Chris Williams, to each write a piece using only the sounds from the library. These commissioned responses aim to inspire others to create their own new music when the library is made publicly available for voluntary responses in September 2020, as well as possible further commissions.
This month (August 2020), Jasmin Kent Rodgman will be the first composer to utilise the sonic library. Jasmin is known for her cross-arts work, fusing contemporary classical with electronics to explore otherness, memory and human connection. Her recent work includes a site-specific multidisciplinary concert-installation called TRIPTYCH with Chinese Arts Now. Jasmin is currently working on a digital ‘Instagram Opera’ about the rise of anti-East/Southeast Asian racism in Britain.
Australian composer, Chris Williams, is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and University Oxford. He will be taking up a composition PhD fellowship at Duke University in 2021 and has previously been commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Chris has also recently presented another digital project with SANSARA – a golden string. First performed in 2018 at the unveiling of a new tombstone for the poet and mystic William Blake in central London, this stunning piece by Williams has been revived to produce an interactive audio-visual experience. With its overlapping textures and hypnotic phrases, the work now features evocative visuals from videographer Alex McEwen. Using audio recorded by SANSARA’s singers during lockdown, four separate audio tracks have been created, each with their own accompanying video. The work invites audiences to create their own rendition of the piece by combining these four layers of video and exploring the possibilities of their infinite variation. https://www.sansarachoir.com/a-golden-string/about
Tom Herring, Artistic Director of SANSARA, said:
‘The main lesson from the last few months has been that times of immense change and uncertainty force shifts in perspective. Whether conscious or unconscious, the way people think and act is evolving. I wanted to reflect this change in SANSARA’s artistic responses to the crisis, taking the opportunity to experiment with the digital networks – on which we have all become so reliant – with positivity, ambition and inclusivity. Our mission to inspire, engage and connect people through choral music is central to this work and embodied in re:create; a virtual choir with a difference.’
Audiences can still contribute to the re:create library by going to the SANSARA website and submitting their vocal recording online. https://www.sansarachoir.com/recreate-submissions
Founded in December 2013, SANSARA is an award-winning vocal ensemble focused on the performance of a cappella choral music. As a collective body of voices, a choir is a living, breathing instrument with unparalleled expressive potential. SANSARA realises this through direct and honest music-making, always striving to conjure compelling atmospheres, communicating with clarity and integrity. SANSARA works as a chamber ensemble without a single director or conductor. The result is a highly engaged and versatile group of professional musicians, working together with a unified voice to express a shared artistic vision.