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South East Community Music Fireworks Project

Photo: Streatham BonfireThe aim of the project is to use fireworks as a sound source and a theme for drawing people together to make music.

We got started with the 5th November 2005 Guy Fawkes and Diwali events,
visiting several displays including the big shows at Blackheath, Clapham, Tooting and Crystal Palace - with adjacent fairground sounds as a bonus - as well as private parties for more close-up effects.

Photo: Chinese New Year Lion DanceThe Chinese New Year festivities
in February 2006 - the year of the dog! - provided some really intense sounds of firecrackers in Leicester Square. We also incorporated live recordings of the Lion Dance procession

In September 2006 we focussed on the riverside display at the Lord Mayor's Show. As well as the fireworks, we captured great sounds

Projects have taken place in various London Boroughs:

  • Lewisham, in association with Goldsmiths Community Centre, working with15 /16 year olds from the North Downham area,
  • Southwark, in association with the Drake Music Project, working with people with physical disabilities, and
  • Camden, in association with UpBeat. working with mental health system users

Music & Video Tracks

Videos on Youtube from AJ and Ash in Lewisham

Audio tracks from Upbeat in Camden

If you are interested in this type of project, and for information on other events, please e-mail us or phone 07866 139 692 .

What are the Fireworks projects about? - 3 main things:

  • Recording the fantastic sound of fireworks - big noise and lots of it - live recordings have an amazing ambience ranging from the intimate reactions of people in the crowd to huge, reverberant thunder.

  • Playing about with the sounds you've captured - selecting good bits, treating them with echo, distortion, phasing etc. Thinking about how they could be incorporated into music. Maybe you could use a long section and just superimpose music over it, or chop a series of explosions out then loop them to make a rhythm track. Or, use particular bangs or pops to make individual samples, then use them as drum sounds to make up beats, or play them as a scale.

  • Incorporating ideas about the history or meaning of fireworks to people from various cultures - what do they mean to you? How would you express your personal feelings and experiences of them? Perhaps you might want to write a song about it, or to make a personal 'audio diary', or aim to produce a documentary piece with interviews and comments.

What's the timescale? - one or two live recording sessions at displays, plus a number workshop sessions - for example, over 8 weeks:

  • Week 1 - live recording
  • Week 2 - assess and transfer live recordings to computer
  • Weeks 3 to 5 - editing and processing sounds, music composition, lyric writing
  • Weeks 6 and 7 - recording tracks
  • Week 8 - mixing and mastering MP3s and CD

Who can do it?

- Anyone over 12 years of age (though younger people may be considered if they are part of an institution such as a school).

Interested? Contact Chris on 07866 139 692 or e-mail us for more information.

Supported by Awards for All