Headway Eats & CLS: a partnership

In the run up to our exciting February supper club and showcase, we spoke to CLS' Gawain Hewitt about the project.  

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Gh Church

This February 8th, 40 lucky diners will indulge in a three-course meal, cooked, served and eaten alongside brain injury survivors-turned burgeoning chefs; but this time with “The Headway Music Box”; a sonic interactive object created by CLS, as the centre piece. The project aims to provide the members an unrestricted, accessible route into music, as well as build upon CLS’s spiritual exploration of immersive musical environments in relation to its Modern Mystics concert that HEL attended in November.   

In the run up to this, Kitty our fundraising and communications intern spoke with City of London Sinfonia's Gawain Hewitt about the exciting project: 

Hey Gawain, so, tell us a bit about the night of performances? 

GH: 'The supper club will be a chance to share the music facilitated by CLS and myself. I'm Gawain Hewitt a sound artist and musician. I'll be working with two other players from CLS composing original music and creating a sound installation together to be performed at the supper club, as well as facilitating a music project with Headway East London members, the progress of which will be presented on the night.' 

That sounds really exciting! More specifically, how will you be collaborating with the members? 

GH: 'Well the aim is to bring the CLS music to members at headway. They've come to a performance already: the Modern Mystics concert in November, now we're creating music here with the aim to increase Headway's capacity to create accessible music. We'll leave this sonic object that will have two functions: one will be a piece of sound art that people will be able to interact with, the other will be a device which James (HEL's music co-ordinator) will be able to use to create accessible instruments for members with physical and cognitive impairments and the access needs around those.' 

'All over East London there are people with strange haircuts making extraordinary music using innovative and experimental new instruments and we're doing the same work here.'

Why do you think this project is important? 

GH: 'I'm strongly of the belief that we're all inherently musical, but we have this false situation where we've culturally allowed music to be held by the experts and I don’t really believe in that. What we've tried to do is create a space where people feel safe to explore and make music. We're giving all members of society a voice, which I think reflects well on us as a society. We should be rejecting this notion that music is only to be made by certain people who are good at it. That's what we're demonstrating here, a joyful and active interaction with music, away from any notions of excellence.'  

 What kind of equipment will you be using in order to make this as accessible as possible? 

GH: 'iPads are really important because they're just so versatile from an accessible point of view. So, today we worked with someone with severe physical impairments which meant that all traditional musical instruments were not accessible to him and with an iPad we were very quickly able to get him making sounds which he was in control of, he was an intentional sound maker. That happened within five minutes. Without an iPad you just couldn't do that.'  

Other than accessibility, what kind of impacts will this project have on the music world? 

GH: 'We live in a time where creatively, innovation in music technology is very strong. We're sitting here in Haggerston having this conversation and all over East London there are people with strange haircuts making extraordinary music using innovative and experimental new instruments and we're doing the same work here. Yes it's accessible, but actually we're part of a broader movement towards experimental music making and experimental electronics and coding.'  

Thanks Gawain!  

With many thanks to the amazing work of CLS, we cannot wait to hear what our members have created in February - buy your ticket here.