Sheffield has its own water music in ambitious show featuring sound and vision

An ambitious show bringing together a diverse group of musicians with poets, visual artists and a group of volunteer sound recorders is on stage in Sheffield this weekend.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 4:05 pm
The Propellor Ensemble performing LOOM

The 12-piece Propellor Ensemble features musicians from backgrounds as diverse as jazz, folk, classical and electronica.

Directed by composer and clarinettist Jack McNeill, the group will be performing at Sheffield University's Octagon Centre on Saturday (November 16), presenting multimedia touring project LOOM.

LOOM is inspired by water, charting its journey from the ocean to the sky.

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Famed Sheffield-based folk musician Jon Boden is collaborating on the Sheffield shows for the LOOM music project

The ensemble will playing around a circular screen that looks like a water pool. The screen will show projections of illustrations by Bethan Lumb and wildlife photography by John Beatty.

Every performance on the tour includes recorded interviews with local people, telling their experiences and memories of water, and guest collaborations with local artists.

Sheffield poet Helen Mort has written a piece called Litton Mill that will be woven into the show.

Singer, composer and musician Jon Boden from celebrated folk band Bellowhead and Jack have have come up with a 10-minute Sheffield section that will be added into the main work. Jon will sing and join the ensemble on concertina.

Sheffield poet Helen Mort has written new work for the show

Volunteers also worked at Kelham Island, recording the sounds of water that will be added to the soundscape.

Jack explained how he the project started. “The group is a collection of musicians I love working with and I work with in different environments and come from different backgrounds. I thought, what would it be like if we got all these people together in one place?”

He create the project in a two-year residency in Snape Maltings, Suffolk.

“I wrote the backbone of the piece and I’m just trusting the players to see how we just fit together and work together,” said Jack.

He stressed: “This gig is for everybody. The music is a real combination of different musical interests and influences. It is ambitious but accessible.

“There are elements of folk and jazz and electronica and contemporary classic. It’s for all ages and experiences.”

There are two performances at 3pm and 8pm, with pre-show talks at 2.15pm and 7.15pm. For tickets, go to