Be part of something special...
We've already raised £42,000 and just need the final £8,000 for our UK tour.
Hello! Ruthie Culver here. Over the past year, my band and I have been through through a mind-boggling process of musical experimentation and harmonic analysis with 12 songs by Benjamin Britten, re-interpreting them through all the technicolour grooves and vibrant influences of 21st century jazz, including swing, samba, funk and blues...
We chose Britten (whose centenary is this year) because his harmonies and melodies are delicious - something to get your teeth into - modern and beautiful.
The song lyrics are satirical, romantic and witty, and all written by WH Auden (who wrote 'Stop all the Clocks', made famous in Four Weddings and a Funeral). I invited a few actors we've met over the years to read some Auden between the songs when we tour the project - they all said yes!
Simon Russell Beale, Samuel West, Roger Lloyd Pack or Sir Derek Jacobi (one per gig) will be joining me and my brilliant quartet of world-class musicians, who have performed with:
Herbie Hancock - Cleo Laine - Nigel Kennedy - Ravi Shankar - STOMP - King Salsa - Johnny Dankworth - Antonio Forcione - English Touring Opera - Groove Armada - The Sixteen - Jarvis Cocker
We have 18 performances lined up (details below) between July & November 2013, at festivals and theatres up and down the country including Northumberland, Devon, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Sussex, Suffolk, Hampshire, Herefordshire and London.
We are proud of our new arrangements (have a listen below) and previewed them to a small invited audience recently. Here's what they said:
- “Great fun - loved the Brecht/Weill vibe in some of the songs”
- “Fantastic concept – great arrangements”
- “By turns urban, human, dreamy, dramatic, slinky – interesting and fun, I really, really enjoyed it”
- “It takes jazz and poetry to the next level”
- “I found it moving, fun, exciting, completely absorbing and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Each song created a separate, wonderful world....”
- “It was so much fun – I loved it. The music is great and much more user-friendly than expected!”
If you're a Britten buff and worried about us messing with his music, here's what soprano Dame Emma Kirkby said:
- "a very special way to celebrate Britten's centenary…a respectful & beautiful 21st century exploration...and Auden's poems still shine forth."
Our aim is to weave something fresh and contemporary through the rich soundworld of the originals. Here's a demo MP3 of one of the songs from the project: Nocturne from On This Island. It shows how we turn classical song into jazz, keeping the tune and underlying harmonies of the original, adding all the colours and rhythms of a contemporary jazz ensemble...
The show is being shaped by Catrina Lear - a very talented young theatre director whose shows for Arcola and The Barbican have attracted 4-star reviews from The Times.
- Sun 14 July - Ledbury Festival, Herefordshire
- Sun 21 July - Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival, Warwickshire
- Fri 20 Sept - Hexham Festival, Northumberland
- Sun 22 Sept - venue to be announced, Croydon
- Fri 27 Sept - Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Sat 28 Sept - venue to be announced, East Sussex
- Friday 4 Oct - Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, Devon
- Sat 6 Oct - venue to be announced, Gloucestershire
- Sun 7 Oct - venue to be announced, South London
- Thur 10 Oct - Oxford Playhouse, Oxfordshire
- Fri 11 Oct - South Holland Centre, Spalding, Lincolnshire
- Sat 12 Oct - Halesworth Festival, Suffolk
- Tue 15 Oct - Sheffield Festival, Yorkshire
- Thur 17 Oct - NCEM, York, Yorkshire
- Fri 18 Oct - SASRA, Egremont, Cumbria
- Sat 19 Oct - Chester Festival, Cheshire
- Sun 17 Nov - Theatre Royal, Winchester, Hampshire
- Mon 18 Nov - Kings Place, London
Its a bit early for the autumn dates to be booking yet, so I'll keep the tour dates page of my website updated with details and booking info.
- Dan Hewson - piano
- Jonny Gee - double bass
- Andrea Trillo - drums/percussion
- Mick Foster - saxophone/bass clarinet
- Ruthie Culver - vocals
- A freshness that commands attention” (Evening Standard)
- “Culturally astute and melodically appealing” (The Telegraph)
- “A voice we’ll hear more of, I guarantee” (BBC Radio 3)
Why do we need your support?
The good news is that our Kickstarter campaign is just for the final £8,000 of the tour budget - we've already raised £42,000 so we only need the last bit of funding to make it happen. The Arts Council has awarded us a touring grant, which with performing fees and a few other donations has provided almost all the funds we need - we're so close, so please help us reach the target we need...
Your support will help the project get the recognition it deserves by paying for things like making a high quality video trailer, and hiring a PR professional to let people know about the performances. It will also mean we can pay the musicians a living wage for their hard work (something we think is important!)
With your help, we can take these exciting new versions of rarely-heard but very special songs to new audiences.
And if we raise more than our target, it will go towards making a professional recording of the music.
If you've got this far, chances are you already love our music (or you have an inquiring mind...) so thank you for your encouragement and support.
We hope you like the range of rewards we've dreamed up. You can give any reward to someone else as a gift - just send us details when you pledge, or afterwards by email.
You can hear music from Ruthie's album, featuring all the musicians in this project.
Here are a few pics of our lovely studio as mentioned in some rewards:
Delivery dates sometimes mean an exact month, e.g. when relating to a performance, or sometimes mean you can claim your reward at any mutually convenient date before then.
And remember, you can pledge more than the minimum for your chosen reward if you want multiple amounts (e.g. additional hours cooking with Andrea) - simply increase your pledge amount accordingly and add a note at the payment stage.
Please do get in touch to ask any questions you may have about rewards, or the project in general.
Many thanks to Ram Tripathi for his wonderful editing work on the video
Also thanks to Zia, Sat, Cecilia, Matthew and Kate for all their help & advice.
PLEASE USE THE POWER OF NEW MEDIA!
PLEASE TELL EVERYONE!
PLEASE SPREAD THE LINK FAR AND WIDE!
Risks and challenges
Your money will be gratefully received, carefully managed and very well spent. Ruthie, who is managing the tour, spent many years managing big projects for charities and arts organisations, so she knows how to balance a budget.
We pledge to always treat our backers with respect, professionalism and integrity. In the unlikely event we can't fulfill a pledge, we will immediately let you know and offer a refund.
Any contribution makes a real difference, so we thank you from the bottom of our musical hearts!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)