Participants | Emily Levy, Magali Charrier, Mella Faye, Victoria Couper, Nick Rasle, Aby Vulliamy, Preetha Narayanan, Tara Franks

What if feeling disconnected is the one thing we all really share? This immersive multimedia project, featuring voices and stories from around the world, blurs boundaries between concert, film and theatre, as well as blending classical, folk, and experimental sounds.

During the Residency week I’ll be developing a new work, Songs of Belonging, in collaboration with a brilliant team of musicians and artists coming together as an ensemble for the first time.

Songs of Belonging explores themes of ‘home’ and ‘identity’. It’s is not just aimed at arts audiences but all those who are interested in how we fit in, how dramatic possibilities can open up when we find common language in contrasting lives, and how important moments of connection are in times of huge upheaval.

The R&D phase of this piece began last year in a series of recorded conversations with a wide range of people, all with very different stories to tell. Interviewees may have relocated by choice, been displaced in circumstances beyond their control, always lived in one place, or be experiencing homelessness. These conversations and ideas are now forming the building blocks for the new piece, crafted in collaboration with Mella Faye in the role of dramaturg. Live instrumental and vocal music written for a newly formed ensemble, combine with animation and immersive visuals by artist Magali Charrier.

The motivation of the work is to combine all these elements so they interact with one another, delve deep into listening, and amplify the stories and voices of the original interviewees. We aim to find common ground in disparate experiences, to create a work that is exciting, powerful and full of resonance, empathy & connection.

This project has the generous support of Sound and Music ‘New Voices’ and Arts Council England. In addition, the fantastic opportunity of a residency at Snape Maltings gives time and space to explore and develop this piece in a unique environment. This would be a luxury at any time, but in the context of the last year, with all its upheaval and uncertainty, it’s massively appreciated!

Emily Levy