In the October of 2002, composer and guitarist Craig Fortnam found himself walking through the City of London with a sackful of tunes slung over his shoulder; tied to a
In the October of 2002, composer and guitarist Craig Fortnam found himself walking through the City of London with a sackful of tunes slung over his shoulder; tied to a stick (Dick Whittington style). Now, as all music comes from the air, the sack was all that stopped Craig’s tunes from escaping and following the Thames out to sea. Needing a substance with the weight of history behind it, Craig bent down and began to scoop up handfuls of London clay, folding and kneading it into the melodies and chords from his sack. As this was such hard work, he got his wife, Sharron, to help. As she folded and kneaded, she began to sing, so her beautiful voice found it’s way into the expanding mixture.
When the music was almost ready, Craig called together twenty musicians and singers from all over the Great Metropolis and they all ducked into St. Martin’s-within-Ludgate where the North Sea Radio Orchestra was born. As the clay music was still wet, and therefore somewhat fragile, NSRO only performed in the City of London for the first while. So, their growing audience had to travel to the strange and magical streets of old Londinium to hear the beautiful sounds.
Eventually NSRO ventured forth into the wider world where they have attracted many glowing reviews for their live and recorded performances.
They like to play in churches like St Olaves Hart St or St Giles in the Fields. They enjoy the resonant acoustics and the lack of amplification. Art galleries suit them fine too, like the Fishmarket in Northampton or Whitechapel Art Gallery in East London. They like to play at around five o’ clock at festivals like The Green Man, Frome Festival or the City of London Festival. They enjoy performing in rock venues and opera houses with amplification or classical stages like the Purcell Room. Likewise they are not adverse to performing live for BBC6 Music or Radio2. If you ask them they’ll probably play just for you.
They have released four albums for your pleasure and are already working on a fifth.
VÄLVĒ is the outlet for composer/performer Chlöe Herington’s compositional work using text and image as the starting point for scores. She collects sounds and diagrams, composing predominantly for bassoon, saxes, electronics and found sounds to explore synaesthetic memory and collective experience.
The band has been morphing – from what originated as a solo project, performing mainly in art galleries, it grew to include Elen Evans on harp. After moving from from galleries back into music venues, they were recently joined by Chlöe’s Chrome Hoof comrade, Emma Sullivan on bass, microkorg and vocals. VÄLVĒ are now three! Live, the music traverses the realms of noise and improv into songs, punctuated with found sounds and eases into spacy soundscapes.
(Sunday) 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm