Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Melodians Steel Orchestra makes English Magic

The Melodians at BBC Maida Vale in November 2014 to record their new CD ‘Melodians Magic’.
The Melodians at BBC Maida Vale in November 2014 to record their new CD ‘Melodians Magic’.
Staying in Canterbury for a few days, we drove up to Margate to visit the Turner Contemporary for the first time and were delighted to find Jeremy Deller's English Magic there. The exhibition is based on Deller's installation at the British Pavilion of the 2013 Venice Biennale. And though we saw it at the William Morris Museum in Walthamstow, it was good to experience again as exhibition is re-configured for each gallery. And the Turner Contemporary is a pretty amazing space, with its combination of huge top-lit galleries and, vast views of the sea.

As we wandered round, we were accompanied by the sound-track from Deller's film which he made to accompany the installation and which was playing in one of the galleries. The soundtrack consisted of an excerpt from the 3rd movement of RVW's Fifth Symphony, David Bowie's The Man who Sold the World and A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray. (Available from The Vinyl Factory). What made the music so remarkable and so special was that it as played by the Melodians Steel Orchestra. I particularly enjoyed the RVW arrangement, finding the shimmer of sound that the musicians brought to it highly evocative. There is a video about their recording on Vimeo.

The Melodians Steel Orchestra was formed in 1987 by Terry Noel who still leads the orchestra, and the group can range from 7 players to a full complement of 30. The shop at the Turner Contemporary was selling one of the Melodian's Cd's and we drove back to Canterbury to this delightful accompaniment. (the Cd is a fund-raising exercise for us as they are without a sponsor, so buy one!).

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