Luke Daniels the award winning and critically acclaimed folk musician and singer hosts a folk and world music quartet that makes use of mobile technology to jointly create new music with their audiences in the run up to every performance. Showcasing three international soloists from South Africa, Syria, and China as the Kaleidoscope quartet.
Local audiences from across Liverpool, Southport, St Helens and Bury will be able to create and share their own musical arrangements from a pool of prerecorded audio clips of each artist involved by downloading the ‘music memes’ mobile app to contribute towards the development of their final work.
Ahead of the dates we spoke to Luke about the shows, the concept and his thoughts on mobile technology.
1. Thanks for your time Luke. You’ve got shows coming up next month, how are preparations going?
“Yes we are busy preparing for 16 shows at four venues in May and June which will showcase three amazing musicians from South Africa, Syria and China before bringing them all together with myself as host of a new world music quartet called the Kaleidoscope Qt.”
2. The shows are hugely different to the average “gig”, how did the idea come about and how does the end result compare to your original vision?
“For performer like myself who perhaps are more used to touring and performing at each venue once this has provided an opportunity to work more closely with the four venues involved to stage four shows each that will enable audiences to experience each artist in turn and watch the music develop over an eight week period. Our mobile app MusicMeme is also available for android and ios phones to enable audiences to make their own arrangements of two of our pieces Djimbali Meme and Pagoda Meme.”
3. You’ve chosen to work with musicians from across the world. What was your criteria?
“I wanted to put together a group of musicians who could help promote the idea that it’s possible for people from diverse background to work together towards a common goal. Abel Selaocoe is a South African cellist who collaborates with beatboxers and world musicians whilst giving solo classical recitals and concerto performances as a soloist with numerous orchestras including Kwa-Zulu Philharmonic, Johnannesburg Phil and Randburg Symphony. He has performed at the Aldeburgh Festival and at the BBC Proms.
Rihab Azar is from the Syrian city of Homs. She studied at the Conservatoire of Damascus under such masters as Askar Ali Akbar and Issam Rafea. In 2014, She became the first woman oudist to perform accompanied by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. Since moving to the UK in 2016 under the “Migrant Talent” scheme she has performed with the London Sinfonietta and at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Zi Lan Liao is an international concert circuit performer on the Gu-Zheng (Chinese zither harp). She has performed at the Royals Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall and has toured Spain, Italy, France, Holland, Finland, United States, and Australia. She also participated at the WOMAD Recording Week in Bath Somerset
4. You’re an award-winning folk musician but, this is hugely different, what audience do you think it will attract?
“I’m a multi- instrumentalist composer and songwriter specialising in melodeon and guitar with a long career collaborating with a range of artists and organisations as a means of promoting folk music. Riverdance, London Jazz Festival, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Celtic Connections and English National Opera. My aim would be to ensure that the diversity within our creative team is reflected in the audiences we perform to and we’ve been very active in reaching out to different local community groups to attend the shows.”
5. The idea of incorporating the audience into the show is an awesome idea. Have you seen anything like this done before?
“No I believe this is an original idea and unique approach to engaging audiences in what we do. Imagine being able to create and share your own music from the same pool of audio clips as professional performers ahead of a live concert, helping them construct their final work from your smart phone and communicating directly with the musicians involved.”
6. In terms of your own vision, how do you feel the idea could be developed?
“I think that other groups and ensembles could makes use of the mobile technology we’ve developed to jointly create new music with their own audiences in the run up to performances. Showcasing talent in a way that involves their fans directly.”
7. The shows are only taking place across the North West, any plans to expand?
“Perhaps, but for now I’m pleased that this is something unique to the region and that people in the Northwest can feel particularly proud of. There’s lots of creativity here and we’re keen to see what kind of ideas we get from people via our MusicMeme app to incorporate into our shows.”
8. There is a lot of talk about banning mobile phones from gigs & events, what are your thoughts on this?
“Yes we’d prefer that people to make use of their phones in the run to each performance and not during it.”
9. In an age where everything is mobile first and you can do everything from run your business to doing your shopping, do you think it is a good or bad thing that we’re so reliant on mobile devices to run our lives?
“It’s an unavoidable part of daily life, particularly for musicians and performers who often rely on their socials as a primary means of engagement. Whilst I support the idea that this technology has a role to play within our creativity I also feel that it’s important to retain a suitable balance between online and offline activities, particularly where children and young people are involved.”
10. Finally, what are the rest of your plans for 2019?
“I’ve a busy festival season coming up up and down the UK before releasing a new solo album in October this year which features some of the musicians from the Music Memes project.”
The Atkinson Southport
May 22nd Duo Rihab Azar with Luke Daniels
June 13th Duo Zi Lan Lao with Luke Daniels
June 26th Full Kaleidoscope Quartet
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
May 23rd Duo Rihab Azar with Luke Daniels
June 15th Duo Zi Lan Lao with Luke Daniels
June 28th Full Kaleidoscope Quartet
Citadel St Helens
May 26th Duo Abel Selacoe with Luke Daniels
Jun 16th Duo Zi Lan Lao with Luke Daniels
Jun 27th Full Kaleidoscope Quartet
The Met Bury
May 25th Duo Rihab Azar with Luke Daniels
Jun 14th Duo Zi Lan Lao with Luke Daniels
Jun 29th Duo Full Kaleidoscope Quartet