Walt writes about the project:
‘Migration’ is a collaborative project that explores the many facets of the migration of animals. The migration of humans is especially focused on, with all its contemporary resonances. We are living in a world where the movement and displacement of people is occuring continuously and exponentially, driven by political, economic and ecological changes, which is reflected throughout the final outcome, a performance.
We can expect issues such as loss, memory, nostalgia, loneliness, isolation, fusion, hybridisation, spark, collision, reuniting, and, indeed, all the range of emotions engendered by the mass movement of peoples. The performance piece reflects these cultural shifts through projected images, contemporary dance, improvised sound and music and physical theatre.
There are a number of different groups involved in the collaboration, all integrating their creative input into this exciting multi-media final piece.
These groups are :- Birmingham Improvisers Orchestra. The B.I.O. was founded a few years ago. It is made up of more than twenty musicians with diverse backgrounds, all with a common interest in group, free improvisation . It creates a focus for creative music in Birmingham and the wider Midlands area.
‘Artsmith’ :- is a creative art company based in Derby, that have an aim to collaborate with artists to create unique performances that embrace all art forms, to produce exciting and visual work.
‘M’Alloy’ :- is a group of six improvising musicians from Derby, Burton, Nottingham, London and Birmingham, three of which are in B.I.O. They have been working together for a few years.
Coventry University was host to the first performance of ‘Migration’.
A further performance took place at Deda, Derby.
At the heart of the project is Birmingham Improvisers Orchestra. B.I.O. is concerned with musical improvisation essentially, as you would expect from its name.
However, they always seek a strong sense of composition, often facilitated by graphic and open scores and frequently conduction. The ‘Migration’ piece will be in four sections, dealing with different aspects of the subject.
B.I.O. was formed a few years ago by Birmingham musicians, Bruce Coates and Mike Hurley. The orchestra is made up of musicians from Birmingham and the wider Midlands area, each musician having an overarching interest in improvisation regardless of their instrument or particular chosen area of activity. The band varies in size, drawing from a potential pool of about 30 players.
At the Coventry University performance there were guest musicians from Sheffield, Derby and Wales, including Mick Beck on saxophones and Corey Mwamba on vibes. B.I.O. seeks to generate creative partnerships with likeminded people across a range of disciplines. Joining the orchestra for this project to explore the migration theme are artists from other arts practices.
Contemporary dancer Joanna Geldard and performance and visual artist Vitor Azevedo of ‘Artsmith’, will be bringing their interpretations of the themes to the work. There will be some spoken text, delivered by the New Zealand performer Jonny Marks. The text is written by Jonny and M’Alloy / B..I.O. percussionist Walt Shaw who also produced graphic scores for the piece. Visual artist Paul Calderwood will be projecting original images.The lighting is by the lighting designer Catherine Cullinane.