Four People and a Cat

12 Nov 2020

5 stories. 5 composers. 5 films.

The lockdown stories of five people - well, four people and a domestic pet - have been told through words and music in a series of films now available to watch online.

When every live performance from early in 2020 was cancelled we hatched a plan to keep our creativity flowing and offering much needed employment to freelance musicians and composers. Ben Crick, the founder and artistic director of Skipton Building Society Camerata, knew the only viable option was to take our usual live performance online, as we launched an appeal to gather your experiences of lockdown.

Ben said: "When lockdown first hit in March the musicians had their livelihoods taken away in an instant. Everything disappeared. We'd had a busy year of bookings planned for 2020 but overnight they vanished."

Working around Covid-19 restrictions, we made these stories into a series of short films. Actors, Claire-Marie Seddon and Rob Edwards, and the musicians, including top violinist and orchestra co-leader Sophie Rosa, were recorded and filmed in Kala Sangam Arts Centre in Bradford.

A frontline worker, an anti-masker, a coronavirus survivor, a bereaved relative... and a cat

Kamal Kaan

The five shortlisted stories were crafted by Bradford writer Kamal Kaan and given to some of the UK's leading composers who incorporated them into brand new pieces of music.

Jake Adams, a teacher and composer from Brighouse, West Yorkshire who wrote the music for 'The Survivor', describes how he approached the story of a man who fell ill with coronavirus in March 2020 and was put into a coma before eventually recovering.

"My main focus when composing this piece was to allow the text to be expressed clearly and to not be hindered by the music, as it is important to remember during this pandemic that it is not just statistics and economies being hurt, but also real people with real stories."

British-Greek composer John Kerala Kerr, of Newcastle, wrote music for the story of 'The Outsider':

"My response to Kamal Kaan's script was to draw out the story's feline narrator with its disapproving and supercilious nature - 'cats have nine lives, you only one' - and glib attitude towards its owner's death. The Greek folk dance known as the Zeibekiko, with its nine-beat phrasing, provides the musical 'other' here, as does a touch of dubstep and a nod in the direction of a certain West End musical."

All five Lockdown Diaries, which also include music by Dr Susannah Self, Nicholas Olsen and Rania Chrysostomou, are available to watch now on YouTube or on our website where you will find more information about all the pieces.

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