26 Mar 2021

Zoom sessions and composing at a distance: DDF Ensemble in lockdown


Lots has changed over the last year, and the brilliant musicians of the DaDaFest Ensemble have been adapting and innovating throughout it. Engagement Coordinator, David, gives us a run-down of what lockdown and social distancing has meant for the programme, and how they’ve kept the music coming despite it.  

The DaDaFest Ensemble has been together since 2015, collaborating both together on new music and with outside established composers. The musicians have performed at sold out gigs including at the Philharmonic Liverpool (still available to watch on our YouTube channel!)

The young people are all at different stages of their musical journeys. The talent is astounding; from prolific songwriters, drummers, guitarists and bassists to virtuoso pianists. The Ensemble can truly rock any stage.

When the first COVID-19 lockdowns hit in March 2020, we were forced to cancel face to face sessions and any upcoming events. This was certainly a saddening obstacle. Staying positive, we began talking with the young people about how we could create more new music but in a whole new way. Could the Ensemble create a new piece of music through Zoom sessions?

In November 2020 we started doing Zoom sessions with the young people led by Jon Herring, Georgina Aaasgaard, Karl Webb and Pip Bryan, the expert lead musicians who facilitate the Ensemble workshops. It was a very unique process; one young musician would compose a drum beat and it would be passed on to the next musician, who would add a bassline, then in the next session young people would add lyrics and melody etc until a theme was established.

In December, when it was briefly safe to, we began professionally recording this epic piece in two Liverpool venues; The Friary and the Cabin studio with audio engineers Alec Brits and Andrew Hunt. We faced yet more challenges to finish the song with the January and February lockdowns, yet the young people are finally on the edge of finishing this song ready for release later in the year!

In the meantime, we are beginning regular Ensemble session again initially online in April, hopefully also with a whole new group of young people taking part. The DaDaFest Ensemble will rock a stage again soon!

Find out more from DaDaFest Ensemble member, Callum Jones, here: https://www.dadafest.co.uk/blog/article/callum-jones-blog

Remember, applications are still open to join the DaDaFest Ensemble yourself!

If you're a budding musician, age 12-25 in the Liverpool City Region, get in touch by 5pm on 2 April. Find out how here: https://www.dadafest.co.uk/article/dadafest-ensemble-musician-call-out

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