Friday, 20 September 2013

Barby Asante: Noise Summit

Artist Barby Asante facilitated workshops on Wyndham & Comber estate at the end of August. Called 'Noise Summit' these sessions were designed to allow children and young people to use music and sound to explore how they feel about their right to make noise in the places they live.

Barby brought along three musicians (FLOetic Lara, Donna Thompson & John Atterbury), instruments and a PA system to encourage an improvised style of performance and sound making. The equipment was set up in a public area just outside of the estates tenants hall, which is overlooked by a number of blocks of flats. This meant the children could be both seen and heard very clearly.

The children and young people wrote songs and poems, performed them, danced and sometimes played the instruments. The songs and performances came out of conversations about what they play on the estate, where they play, where they can make noise, where they can't and how others react to them when they are being noisy. Some really interesting things came out of the improvisations including a girls against the boys 'cops and robbers' inspired song.

Brainstorming... what noises do you hear? what noises do you make?



The children came and went throughout the three days, participating, creating then drifting off and returning a bit later. They shaped the music by asking for it to be 'faster' or 'slower' or more like 'this' or 'that' really taking ownership over what they wanted to say and how they wanted it to be said.
On the final day the space was set up like a stage, with a place for audience to sit and watch. Youth Futures, the young people's group who meet at Wyndham & Comber, cooked food for everyone who was there. The children performed their songs in front of the audience which also included residents watching out of their windows or from their balconies in the surrounding blocks. The workshops and performance were all captured on film by filmmaker Gordon Beswick and we will post a link when this is available to view online.

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