Former Jazzlines' Summer School participant delves into Ladywood's rich past

Major city-wide music programme for-Wards culminates this June with performances of 6 world premieres of new music inspired by the second city in the final year of this project, including a brand-new world premiere by Xhosa Cole. 

Xhosa is an embodiment of the success of numerous music outreach programs within Birmingham, including Town Hall Symphony Hall's Jazzlines. As a saxophonist, Flautist, Composer and Producer, Xhosa has played, studied and collaborated with a wide range of world-class musicians and composers.

Xhosa Cole Thsh Jazzlines

In just 2 years for-Wards has worked across 40 Wards, 10 Districts, with 10 Composers and 40 Community Groups and will have created 10 Local Performances premiering 10 new musical creations.

Year 2 has seen a collaboration between professional composers from Birmingham and 100’s of residents across 6 Districts in the city working together to produce a musical anthem which celebrates the sounds and stories from their own communities.

The performances, open to all, feature the collaborative work of community groups from Erdington, Hall Green, Ladywood, Perry Barr, Yardley and Sutton Districts who have been out recording sounds from streets, parks, strange strings, homemade instruments, local butchers, hairdressers, cows and Pakistani fairy tales. The recorded sounds are currently being embedded into what will be six wonderful musical creations through the professional talents of composers from a range of music genres.

for-Wards is the brainchild of proud Brummie Bobbie-Jane Gardner, a composer and musician who is currently studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

This has been an incredible journey for me. I have been blessed to have worked with such talented professional composers and over 500 residents across the city over the 2 years. We have been producing some amazing and thought-provoking music and I am so very proud of everyone involved. We have touched so many hearts and given residents a unique opportunity to collaborate with composers and create their own music. This really has been a major project for the city and I am sure the performances in June will be very emotional as we come to the end of the project.

Bobbie-Jane Gardner

The 6 music compositions will be recorded on limited edition vinyl and all the sounds and music created will form a unique online interactive sound archive. These will be added to the music from Year 1 for future generations to access.

Each of the 6 compositions will receive their world premiere in the District in which the sounds, communities and based. The community groups and their selected composer will perform their music to audiences made-up of local residents and members of the public. Expect a variety of musical instruments, sound recordings, gizmos, and reggae to electronica in these exciting premieres which will appeal to all ages.

Moving Ladywood by Xhosa Cole, with Deaf Cultural Centre, James Watt Primary School, South Aston United Reformed Church Ramblers and Via Nova choir. This brand-new piece incorporating voices, signing, instruments, gizmos and gadgets will be performed at South Aston United Reformed Church on Saturday 23 June, 4pm - 5pm.

for-Wards is kindly funded by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, Arts Council England, Access Creative College, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, The Feeney Trust, Flatpack Projects, Hare and Hounds, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), PledgeMusic supporters, PRSF and Wassifa CIC.

for-Wards year 2 is in partnership with Access Creative College, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Flatpack Projects, Hare and Hounds, Kalaboration, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), and Wassifa CIC who each selected the 6 composers.

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