the17 choir at derby

Posted in caught, sought by juliobesq on July 20, 2008

the17 choir (or an iteration of it) will ‘perform’ at the market place in derby on the evening of 22nd august at 6.30pm.

bill drummond, best known for burning a million pounds; having tammy wynette sing ‘they drive around in a ice cream van’; writing a how-to-have-a-number-one-record guide with a money back guaranty, could be described perhaps as a ‘pop-terrorist’, has been quietly working on a project called the17 for the last few years. 

an accomplished media prankster, he has played both sides of the coin: mocking notions of celebrity within the music industry whilst having number one hits. the17 is a project to return music to the oral tradition, to an assembly where the ‘music’ is heard only by taking part. and anyone can take part, those with no musical experience are encouraged.

with music now sold as a lifestyle experience, a product, removing any element of participation, artists performing exact replicas of the definitive recorded version, the 17 seeks to readdress the balance. the scores are vague, and often locked to a particular location, drawing parallels to the art of richard long, whom drummond admires. it’s purpose is not to produce, but to experience.

drummond has experimented with this before, recording the red army choir signing a version of ‘k cera cera’ to be broadcast at the glastonbury festival, which failed due to the organiser michael eavis stating it was “simply dreadful”. a very ‘drummond’ outcome. by eschewing the notion of audience/performer the17 avoids the same pitfall.

it‘s roots could also be traced to carl orff’s schulwerk, with drummond taking the project to various primary schools, getting the pupils to create scores along with performances.

drummond states that he hates nostalgia, that the17 exists only in a transcendental moment. a commission by derby‘s quad gallery bring‘s it nearer the more modern interpretation of performance. Drummond has been busy recording 100 disparate groups of 17 hairdressers, or traffic wardens, or morris dancers… making non-verbal sounds. these 1700 voices will be mixed into a single five minute piece to be broadcast in Derby Market Square, Friday 22nd August, 6.30pm.

the recording will be destroyed immediately afterwards.

the sites don’t mention a time, but their response to an email enquiry confirmed it, signed appropriately “the 17”.

wether or not it becomes a modern “spem in alium” (temporarily at least) remains to be seen, but i for one will be making the effort to be there, to hear what glorious cacophony these massed voices make.

map magazine article on the17 by neil cooper

the quad, derby

Tagged with: , , , ,

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. David Legg said, on July 21, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Well it certainly managed to attract the attention of google, although the page rank of this blog is only 0!

    I guess that if the recording will be destroyed immediately after the “performance” that this is a postmodern version of some sort of nihilism?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: