The aims of this project include developing partnerships with creative or cultural organisations/practitioners such as Ebonit Sax Quartet, and creating new relationships with XR and its ally ActionNetwork. The project also seeks to extend their reach to Leeds through their university’s concert hall manager, and to anti-pollution groups through the founder of Bolton Against Fracking. Through these partners, the project will engage directly with citizens through music-making outside concert halls. 

The project further aims to explore/promote approaches to environmental sustainability and social justice through arts. For example, Ebonit’s five-day visit to Manchester and environs will be focused on music about environmental sustainability. Furthermore, XR, Bolton Against Fracking and Maple Farm Nursery will beneft from the free concerts Ebonit will provide to their communities who work tirelessly toward social justice and action for clean water, air, climate control and rights of communities to self-govern.

Finally, the project aims to strengthen teaching and research relationships within SALC. Project leads Whalley and Malone have a sustained record of social-awareness music within their research, and make this available in SALC course units (MASTERS: Collaborative Practice, Composition Project; also when Malone contributes to UG: Making Art Public, Participatory Music, Enquiring Minds).

Whalley and Malone jointly composed a new work titled “When the World is on Fire”, the first of its kind in the UK. Ebonit will rehearse the work and premier it at an Extinction Rebellion pop-up concert in Manchester. The musical source is a public domain skiffe (folk-pop) tune which Whalley and Malone reworked into a set of variations (similar in sound to “This Land is Your Land” to which the tune is related). Whalley and Malone give pre-performance talk about how our music is informed by social responsibility and environmental action. Performance will be video recorded.

Further performances include the Cosmo Rodewald Lunchtime Concert (which involves a free public workshop on social music-making and saxophone performance), a free site-specifc concert at Maple Farm Nursery (near fracking site), and a lunch-time concert in Leeds. 

Whalley, Malone, and Ebonit plan on recording a CD of “When the World’s On Fire” and more Whalley/Malone works at the University of Manchester’s Martin Harris Centre. Further plans include a video of “When the World’s On Fire” and the rest of the XR pop-up performance posted on YouTube as promotion for the CD. The CD is planned to be released in time in time for reviews and REF 2020.

External Partner(s): Ebonit Saxophone Quartet (Amsterdam) Stephen Sutton, Divine Art Recording Group USA/UK John Tootill, Maple Farm Nursery, Fylde, Blackpool Sarahjane Curry, founder Bolton Against Fracking Dr Gail Bradbrook and Roger Hallam, co-founders Extinction Rebellion (XR) Jessica Ward, Leeds University Concert Management

Funding source(s): SALC Social Responsibility Fund

Project duration: 2019-ongoing

Relevant link(s): 

Ebonit Sax Quartet performance of Kevin Malone’s The Water Protectors

Ebonit Sax Quartet performance of Richard Whalley’s Iapetus Suture

Project lead(s): Dr Richard Whalley & Dr Kevin Malone