I was very proud to be involved in the Black Lives Matter Commissioning Project from the 21st-23rd of October, 2022. It was such an inspiring weekend working with some of the most incredible singer-songwriters in the world. I live-streamed the event around the world to those choir leaders that couldn’t make it. I recorded the whole weekend’s audio and video with multiple cameras so that choirs from all over the world can continue to learn the new songs.
About this project
Fran André (UK choir leader and project co-ordinator), Kathy Bullock (US African American Music Specialist) and Siân Croose (UK choir leader and project consultant) are the steering group for this innovative song-commissioning project.
The idea for this project has come out of discussions that are taking place within the singing-leading community as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Individual singers and whole choirs are invited to support this project. Our plan is to commission 8 black composers, 4 UK-based/4 US-based, to write 1 song each for choirs/singing groups in the NVN. We will work with the composers to ensure that the songs written are learnable by ear, so they will be designed to be perfect for community choirs to sing.
Here’s our Why
As you may well know, so much black music has been appropriated, bought and sold with composers and performing artists not receiving proper remuneration and credit over the centuries. By asking singers and supportive patrons to make a direct contribution to creating these songs, our aim to highlight this issue, and do something practical and creative that raises our awareness of these transactions and that they are long overdue. A big element of this project is that funds come from normal people like you! You may be a choir singer past or present or simply someone wanting to support black music and culture creation. It’s so important to us that this is a grassroots project with the songs being commissioned from donations from members of the public like yourself. A big part of the focus of this project is economic, acknowledging and attempting to engage in a small but hopefully meaningful way with the economics of racism and inequality in music.
Please support this project as generously as you can – and pay both back and forward to support black culture creation through song.
Here is a video which explains all about it, and the rationale behind it.