StoryMusic London 2014-15

First conversations in Music and Words leading to StoryMusic2020

For StoryMusic2020 we intend to pair one composer from each and every country in the world with one writer from another and invite them to create a 10 minute piece of “StoryMusic”, music and words inspired by the one thing they both have in common with every other citizen on the planet: the sun. Each piece will inspire for creativity and form a catalyst for conversation in words and music.

Why? Because music has the power to connect diverse cultures and reach our hearts. Because the project seeks to offer a lifetime legacy of pieces and educational/documentation to enable more conversations across cultures through performance. Because we seek to inspire communities to share in music, words, and maybe even food. And because ideas set to music can inspire the listener to think, and maybe to wonder about our planet, our diverse cultural patchwork, and to get involved.

What does it mean to meet another human being in a shared creative conversation? How do we meet? What do we share? Who will be listening?

Over 6 years, we will create a platform where the pieces may be viewed and shared; supported with educational material about each country, culture, artist and their conversations; downloaded for study and performance, and we will manage a global event inviting each piece to be performed at sunrise in the country of its origin, over one 24 hour period in 2020.

What is StoryMusic London?  In 2014 we intend to create a first series of ripples using London as the centre. Working with up to 8 Boroughs across London, we seek to indentify and inspire 50 writers (words) and 50 composers (music) from at least 50 different cultural backgrounds/heritage, and invite them to pair across cultures to create a 10 minute piece of StoryMusic inspired by the sun.

How? With the help of researchers, creative practitioners/mentors, Borough arts and community staff, trusts, foundations and creative hubs, we will seek to reach into 50 very diverse cultural communities. We wish to explore through words and music what holds them together culturally; how they are different from other communities with whom we may be working; how their cultural heritage settles with their 21st century London life; and how the sun, common to us all, reflects onto their lives, and their creative choices in words and music.

We will hold workshops across the Boroughs – sharings of music and food, words and culture. We will seek to explore with young people and wise elders the “tribes of London” sharing common voice through StoryMusic.  We will encourage access from less well-heard voices.

We hope that many of these conversations will expand to involve further practitioners and participants exploring StoryMusic.  Together these pieces will be published on the first stage of the StoryMusic2020 website and act as a beacon of potential, and a catalyst for conversations across nations across the world.

I have worked over 30 years creating the first Festival of Musical Theatre in the UK, working with sign language interpreters to bring opera to the deaf, working to support the nurture of new creative practitioners across London, run theatres, project managed global productions internationally.  This is an idea I feel passionate about, and I am inspired by the welcome I am receiving from my creative and cultural colleagues.  I would welcome conversations with those who can make this project take flight – Borough and Arts leaders, community and cultural philanthropists, foundations and businesses who see the power of music and conversation to inspire good citizenship, and anyone who would like to be part of StoryMusic London 2014 and onward on this 6 year journey towards StoryMusic 2020.

Chris Grady, StoryMusic2020 Founder – November 2013