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Top artist promises ‘people’s soundtrack’ for Newham

signposts of places in East London

UEL artist-in-residence plans 20-track album showcasing local musicians

A unique and innovative music album performed and produced by local musicians in east London is set to become a ‘people’s soundtrack’ to bring the diverse local communities together.

Alberto Duman, a public artist and urban studies expert, is to start work on the album with music production and architecture staff and students at the University of East London (UEL), where he has recently been appointed artist-in-residence. 

Mr Duman plans to record 20 tracks for the album, with musical contributions being drawn from local commercial music producers, Newham bands hoping to make it big and community centres making music for therapeutic support and rehabilitation of youth.

At least two of the tracks will be produced by UEL students, who will also help him tap into the local music scene. The tracks will be recorded using UEL’s music production facilities.  

“Who knows, we might make it as the Christmas number one,” said Mr Duman. 

The album is part of a ‘Music for Masterplanning’ project beginning this month. It has been made possible by a generous grant to UEL by The Leverhulme Trust.

The idea is for the album to be used as a soundtrack for Newham Council’s ‘London’s Regeneration Supernova’ – a three-minute silent video that was produced to showcase the borough to potential investors at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo.

“The silence of the video really got me thinking about the music of the area and what a soundtrack that reflected local communities would be like,” said Mr Duman, who originates from Italy but has lived in east London area for 25 years.  

He describes the video as an aspirational vision of Newham. “It got me wondering how I could do something to involve local people in the video about Newham’s future,” he said. “Music can be an incredible bridge – and a great way to bring people together.”

East London has a rich musical history, with iconic groups such as Iron Maiden, Dire Straits, U2, Led Zeppelin, The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd and Genesis all cutting their teeth in the area’s numerous music venues and pubs.

More recently, East London’s Dizzee Rascal performed grime rap at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. The area also boasts the professional East London Chorus choir.