Kalila Wa Dimna Exhibition

Part of my work at Play for Progress involved leading the music side of our contribution to this beautiful exhibition. There will be art on display from our workshops and also soundscapes made by and in collaboration with the young people in our community. The poster is below. Here is a text that explains what the project was and what you will see and hear in P21 Gallery…

During a concentrated period of three days, the young people of Play for Progress worked with Syrian artist Dima Karout and Play for Progress regular musicians Bill Carslake, Mike Soper, Alice Phelps and Simon Roth. We explored the Fable of the Ring Dove, from Kalila and Dimna, first reading through the story, and then illustrating its three acts. Throughout this process we explored creating musical accompaniment for storytelling, as well as creating soundscapes based on the story’s atmosphere and the journey of its characters. There are two audio tracks that you will hear in the space. The first was created live at Poplar Union with guest artist Leafcutter John after a day-long workshop with the young people. This performance featured regular Play for Progress musicians Alice Williamson, Jonathan Chung and Simon Roth. The performance features five themes that the young people made representing the Fable of the Ring Dove:

Sakawandajeen Before the Hunter
Flying Theme
Holes Theme
Friendship Theme

The second audio piece is a soundscape made up of footage recorded during the three days workshop, exploring themes and ideas around Kalila and Dimna. Throughout the track you can hear the young people: recite poems; tell stories in both English and their mother tongue; create instrumental accompaniments to storytelling; make sonic experiments; and also soundscapes made using Leafcutter John’s Forester programme. The idea here is to give you an idea of what our sessions sound like, as we are often exploring sound and music as a process rather than a means to an end.

The final element within the exhibition will be a station set up with multiple headphones where you the audience can experiment with making your own soundscapes from existing sounds and ones you record in real time using Leafcutter John’s incredible Forester software.

The exhibition launches Thursday 12th May 6 – 9pm at P21 Gallery and is open until Saturday 11th June