A nationwide project, A Song for Us commissions leading music creators across genres to write new songs inspired by the people of their county. The project brings together Sound UK, Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts and Artsreach, Dorset’s rural touring scheme, for the first time to co-commission Karen Wimhurst (pictured) to create a new song inspired by the people of Dorset and their perceptions of this historic time. 

The song will explore the theme of time in lockdown and to help shape the lyrics, audiences are being asked to complete a short online survey that will enable Karen to get a sense of how people feel about the events of the last year. 

A Song for Us recognises the positive role community choirs and ensembles play in keeping people connected. The commissioned song will be written for and performed by local choirs this July and available online as a film for up to 12 months.   

“We are so excited to be taking part in this project and to be giving our audiences an opportunity to share their lockdown experiences with us and each other,” says Perdie Bargh, Creative Engagement Officer at Lighthouse. “In Dorset, as everywhere, we’ve all had such different experiences of this past year and we’d like to commemorate this time with a song that everyone can enjoy and appreciate as their own.” 

“Over the last year, more than ever before, people living in rural communities have experienced greater isolation, separated from friends, family and the things they love. A Song for Us gives those residents the opportunity to make their voices heard through the power of song and mark this moment in history with a positive legacy for the county,” says Yvonne Gallimore, Co-Director of Artsreach.  

Alongside Karen Wimhurst (Dorset), A Song for Us commissions This Is The Kit & Bucky (Bristol), Gavin Bryars (East Riding), Skinny Pelembe (South Yorkshire), Seth Lakeman (Devon) and Gwenno (Cornwall) to write new County Songs.  A Song for Us will expand across the country, commissioning another nine composers through regional partnerships, to be announced in Spring 2021. These additional new songs will be premiered each month from June 2021 to March 2022. 

These commissioned songs form part of a growing music map of the country to mark this challenging time. The public can share a favourite song that holds special meaning from this period on Budding songsmiths anywhere are also invited to create and upload original songs that capture their experience of the pandemic. Since the map’s launch, on 25 January, people from Penzance to Glasgow have shared a vast range of songs from Soul II Soul’s ‘Back to Life’ to ‘Once in a Lifetime’ by Talking Heads. An incredible array of original songs has also been shared, including young people inspired by nature and the power of music to make us smile.    

A Song for Us celebrates our community during the COVID 19 pandemic. It seeks to encapsulate the coming together and solidarity during the past year. It recognises the nationwide losses we have experienced, whether at a distance or personally. Above all it celebrates the power of music to bring us together, whether as creators, performers or listeners. 

To take part, simply click on the link below and complete the short survey, sharing your experiences of time in lockdown and over the past year. You never know – your thoughts may soon be immortalised in song! 

Published 16 March 2021