News: My Seafront, My Roots @ The Word, South Shields | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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During the pandemic arts organisation Cultural Spring and South Tyneside Council launched a non-digital project aimed at engaging people who didn’t have internet access. Led by composer Tim Burke and singer Austin Gunn, My Seafront, My Roots involved two groups of participants. The first group were asked to write letters about a variety of subjects (e.g. what does home mean to you and what would you like the place you live to be like in 50 years?) over a six-week period.

Tim and a songwriting group then selected lines from these letters to create songs or phrases.  South Tyneside choirs the Breathless Singers and Custom Voices then recorded some of this music, alongside snippets of traditional local songs and sea shanties, which was then added to a soundscape of familiar South Tyneside sounds.

To illustrate the piece professional photographer Iam Burn took pictures of the South Tyneside coast (from Whitburn to Herd Rock) and used some sports pictures, in particular the Great North Run, from his own archive. These images are projected on the rooms walls to create a 360-degree effect.

Tim adds, “It’s very moving, a tribute to South Tyneside and its people during an extraordinary challenging time. We weren’t sure what we were going to get with the letters, but the quality of writing and the responses to the themes we set were amazing. Some of the writers narrated their own words for the piece which makes it even more moving.”

This sound, music and image collage can be experienced in the Story World Room at The Word every Saturday and Sunday (11am – 3pm) until Saturday 16th April.



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