About Heapsong 5
Hello again! I am writing this 4 hours before I commence the biggest, most ambitious project yet. It's not just me but around 250 wonderful people from Hangzhou, China who have all volunteered their time for it! What is it? Well if you haven't heard already I will briefly explain...
About the project
I have been here in this beautiful city for almost a month. I was invited over by the Dushi Kuaibao local newspaper (which I've been referring to as the City Express paper in English translation) in collaboration with the British Council and the PRS to do whatever comes to mind! I came here with no real plans other than I knew I wanted to write a song and get my hands dirty in getting to know the place.
Let me first introduce Zhu Chun Hung or 'Joe' as he also likes to be called (most chinese people here who I've met have an english name. I have yet to receive a Chinese name!), without whom this project could never have materialised in such a glorious fashion. Joe has been showing me about, translating tirelessly, writing articles for the newspaper to find me local people to get involved and in many conversations over various meals has pieced together this 24 hour extravaganza with me.
So what is this 24 hour thing anyway?
It's a day full of hourly curated moments. Accompanying the every day often overlooked 'normal' moments in this city's rhythm, with artistic expression. Whether it be through the sounds of the Pipa, the flow of a dancer's movements or a child painted impression of a scene. It's pretty much all done in public too so we should expect plenty of surprises.
I will be writing a song's music from all the sounds of the day. It will be the 5th song (or #heapsong5 as it's called for now) towards my 4th album.
Why am I doing this?
I didn't want to just hide in my studio (in my temporary hangzhou home) and guess at what was going on by dipping my toe into Hangzhou life, I wanted to get fully immersed in the city and get to know it's people as best I could in the time I've got here. I've been very busy doing just that with Joe and Veronica (Zhao Yi Wei) our fabulous volunteer translator who also happens to play the pipa (a traditional chinese stringed instrument)! What I've discovered through them is a diverse and beautiful city in the throws of rapid development, bristling with warm, welcoming and highly individual characters. I feel almost like I couldn't have landed in a better city to be in for such an endeavour. A lot of the people I've met since and places I've visited in these 4 weeks are going to feature in the song and in this film. Some of these moments you can join in with if you're in Hangzhou!
So the film is a 24 hour journey through the city of Hangzhou. Starting at midnight tonight, on the lake, with a fisherman and ending in a badminton court under a bridge by the Grand Canal. Along the way we see a dancer improvise between the City Express' newspaper printing house's machines, as our news story gets printed (with this text in it!, a choir on a bus and another where leaves cascade over the huge Fu Xing bridge as the daily tide roles along the Qiantang river beneath it.
On the locations page there is an hour by hour list of where we are going to be and what is going on, why I decided to dedicate the hour to this scene and google locations of where we are going to be on a map so you can follow where we are going to be and perhaps join us!?
There will be 6 cameramen and women filming the event, 4 news teams, 2 local and 2 national (filming making of footage also for us), at least 5 professional photographers and a whole host of magical people! I can not wait (though I could also do with some sleep!). I will be in the film but mostly just as a spectator (while discreetly capturing sound for the song in various outfits) as this film isn't about me it's about Hangzhou. It and everything I've soaked up since I've been here is the inspiration and musical building blocks for the song. We will release it hopefully in time for Heapsong6 (in March). Wish us luck!
There are of course so many people that are involved and I haven't mentioned everyone here. You can also read a little in previous blog posts though I am very behind in these last few weeks as there really hasn't been any time to update it! Everyone will all be credited in the film and in the song's artwork on release. That's a whole week's work in itself just to do the credits! I am also considering writing some sort of mini book about my time here because it's been so incredible life changing and inspiring! When to do that though? Mmm....
That's it for now! I really need to get to sleep... More soon.
oh... p.s. Photos from the day will be uploaded here (probably a few days after the event) and at 2am our time on 9th Dec, you can call in some questions for me and Zyang in a taxi if you are nowhere near Hangzhou.
p.p.s It's my birthday on the 9th December! My mum always said great things happen on our birthdays so I've put that theory to the test this time!