Month: August 2021

Living Song and Covid 19

We are proud to have kept our offer up throughout the pandemic, offering on-line sessions via Zoom and one-to-one mentoring. Some of this came through our Arts Council funded programme Artist Approach and some directly from our leadership team to individual young people in distress.

It was a challenge for all our artists and young people to remain positive and hopeful and, like so many other artists, musicians, singing leaders and arts practitioners we are very delighted to be back in a space with people however cautious we still need to be, making music, re-connecting, visioning and generally coming ‘alive’ in song again.


CME Choral Conducting Course UK 2021

And that’s a wrap! We had a brilliant week running our London Choral Music Teacher Education (CME) 10th Anniversary Intensive from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th July.

We are so proud of all those who took part in the course. CME is a great opportunity for choir conductors, music teachers, singing leaders and those aspiring to develop their leadership in this field to get together and learn from each other under the leadership of a wonderful faculty of consultants.

Special thank you to Mandy Miller, Brandon Williams, Steve Lodder, David Brunner, Naveen Arles, Landing Mané, John Nutekpor, Artist Teachers, Administrator Team, NewYVC and all the course participants!

‘Hajanga’ Arts Week at University Primary School (UCPS)

The Living Song team had a wonderful week at UCPS in June.

Two young artists were resident working with reception, year 1, year 5 and year 6 learners. Harine (18) and Richie (21) gained experience working alongside teachers based at the school, focusing on singing while drawing on other art forms to engage, inspire and explore with the children. The theme of our work was ‘Hajanga’. 

The meaning of the word Hajanga’ as described by Jacob Collier, the composer of the song, describes the force of your life. He says, “… everything goes in cycles, everything goes up and down and round and round. It’s people coming together, united by this celebratory force and a real sense of self-acceptance. The sense that everybody has this unified song that they sing, this idea of drawing from the whole of the universe around you and then learning how to love the people around, and the things around you and learning how to love yourself in that. You learn to celebrate yourself in the context of a universal community of energetic things”.

Harine worked with two classes. She said, I led and learnt some warm-up songs, some of which included Makaton sign language. The EYFS children also used rain makers. I liked how interactive we made our lessons and how involved the children were. I loved the exploration of how we can use different motions to create different sounds to associate with varying levels of rain (raindrops, showers and storms”.

With year 5 and 6 we collaborated with drama, spending the week creating tableau’s, writing raps, songs and developing performances in a kind of mini-opera. There were solos and duets and chorus sections, all exploring the theme of the song Hajanga. Our young Artist Richie led singing activities, played keyboards and helped facilitate the song making with the learners.

hajinga work

Snape Maltings and Group A

NewYVC, the Stratford Circus resident youth choir had the most wonderful weekend residency at Snape Maltings, singing with and getting to know Group Athe resident Brittenpears Arts youth vocal performance group. Supported by Jane Wheeler of Living Song and Naveen Arles, Musical Director of NewYVC, the young people shared warm-ups and repertoire and created their own group pieces under the facilitation of the wonderful music animateur, Aga Serugo Lugo. Both groups explored their own environments in relation to a walk around Snape Maltings, crafted text and inspired melodies, supported by percussionist Rosie Bergonzi and harpist Imogen Ridge.

The whole group performed outdoors on the last day of their stay, a half hour inspired sharing of the culmination of their work for a highly appreciative audience.

For NewYVC it was an opportunity like none most of them had experienced before. They talked a lot about ‘being in nature’, they walked on the beach, paddled and swam, enjoyed their own individual ‘en suite’ rooms, wonderful hospitality of the Snape Maltings team and the chance to meet and spend time with young people from a very different walk of life to their own in East London. For Living Song, it was an opportunity to celebrate the young people of NewYVC and to enjoy conversations about young leadership, skills, training and development of opportunities for young people.

Music In The Air Project with Community Links

The Music In The Air project came to a close with a wonderful celebration at Community Links this week. The event served as a launch for the new Community Links Recording Studios, funded in part by the Rolling Stones. Ronnie Wood attended the event. He was invited to reveal a plaque to be mounted on the wall of the studio, celebrating the launch of the new studio’s and all the work Community Links does in supporting the local community through the arts, especially music.

Sandy Davies, Principal, Education Links said,

“The new studio and music programme is great news for our young people as it allows them to access the arts in a safe nurturing environment. We are thrilled at their chance to join in. There are so few creative opportunities out there, and this really widens their horizons. I know this will produce stars!.”

Education Links provides alternative education for young people who have been excluded from mainstream school.

music in the air