Music Team Spotlights #2

Our spotlights pages pick out what we've been enjoying here in the British Council's Music team over the past few weeks. There's lots here for you to watch, listen to, read and discover to keep you inspired and entertained in your homes during lockdown and beyond.


Events and performances online

Make Music Day

21 June 2020

Sunday 21 June is one of the longest days of the year, and one that will be filled with music in 1,000 cities in 125 countries around the world. Make Music Day started in France in 1982, and this Sunday the UK will once again take part and turn the whole country into a giant celebration of the power of music, that glorious art-form which provides support and sustenance to so many of us, particularly during the current challenging period.  Have a good look at the website to find out how you can join in – whether that be participating, performing or listening.  You’ll find a wealth of opportunities to engage in, including jam sessions, virtual choirs, singalongs and master classes, and resources to help you make the most of the day. And you can upload your own performance! It is for all ages, all skills levels and all genres. Have a wonderful day!

- Cathy Graham, Director of Music


Windrush Suite – Vortex Club

22 June 2020

Windrush Suite is a newly commissioned work to mark the Windrush anniversary. Composed by Renell Shaw featuring Orphy Robinson, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Samson Jatto and Taurean Antoine-Chargar. The Suite will be available for download on the Vortex Jazz Club on Bandcamp from 22 June after the broadcast.

- Michael Duffy, Programme Manager


Musicity at Home

21 June 2020

You can experience Musicity this weekend as part of as part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture with a focus on London. Musicity will work with musicians and sound artists each responding to 15 locations along the railway arches that form the LowLine and have been a part of Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey’s heritage for over 150 years.

Musicity in Seoul

The Connected City programme in Seoul was part of the UK/Korea 2017-18 season and provided a way for artists and communities to explore, re-imagine and re-connect with the city they live in as well creating art works for the public realm.

Musicity in Seoul was a unique collaboration between  7 UK and South Korean composers who created new pieces of music for landmark sites and building around the city, which could be listened to in those spaces. This film shows one of the highlights of a collaboration between UK sound artist, Steve Hellier, and Korean choreographer Joowon Song, and offers a wonderful feel of the city itself.

- Joel Mills, Senior Programme Manager



In My Soul – Faizal Mostrixx and Karun

I really like this track which was released by a couple of participants from the Extra Soul Perception Project. It’s really bassy and has loads of interesting percussive layers. There's a great interview in the most recent Selector Radio show where Jamz Supernova chats to Karun and Lex Amor from the ESP project. Karun (Kenya) talks about the making of this song and how she can’t really speak Swahili fully, but asked a journalist who was there at the session to translate what she wanted to say for her rap.

- Grace Pitkin, Music Programme Coordinator


Bass Culture Research Podcast

I recently heard about Bass Culture Research through Tomorrow’s Warriors twitter page. It’s a research project led by musician and academic, Mykaell Riley which explores the influence of Bass Culture through the explosion of Jamaican genres like ska, reggae and dub in the UK. The podcast conversations are a fascinating insight into personal histories of amazing pioneers of Soundsystem culture in the UK. I especially enjoyed the conversation with Linton Kwesi Johnson and hearing about his journey as a dub poet.

- Grace Pitkin, Music Programme Coordinator


Aurora Orchestra – Music of the Spheres

I’ve been enjoying the Aurora Orchestra’s new release on Deutsche Grammophon – Music of the Spheres. The project is mix of reflections, inspired by the ancient idea of there being music in the cosmos. Alongside Thomas Adès’s violin concerto, Mix Richter’s haunting Journey (CP1919) and beautiful John Dowland song with countertenor Iestyn Davies, there are a couple of Aurora hallmarks. Mozart’s exuberant Jupiter symphony has been recorded while played from memory, as Aurora regularly do in live concerts, and the disc ends with a typical left-field encore – an arrangement of Bowie’s Life on Mars.

- Michael Duffy, Programme Manager



CMU – Dissecting the Digital Dollar

Chris Cooke has presented his ‘Dissecting the Digital Dollar’ research in a number of countries as part of Music Team’s Selector Pro Activity. Download the ten-step guide to how streaming services are licensed by the music industry and how digital royalties are calculated each month.

- Tom Sweet, Programme Manager


Playlist Spotlight

This week our playlist spotlight is one produced by the lovely team at Saffron Records!