small world : Big Drums involved musicians Tim Coyte and Kev Howard working with 15 adults with disabilities and/or mental health problems from around the Tees Valley. It was based at the Lansdowne Centre, Middlesbrough and took the form of six taster sessions exploring rhythm and poetry. Paul Macdonald, a partially-sighted photographer, worked as a volunteer recording the project with photography and video. This footage was then edited to selected music tracks and added to the final version of the small world : Big Drums cd.
small world : Big Drums explored improvisational rhythm creation using various instruments from around the globe including Aboriginal didgeridoo (Yidaki), African djembe with percussion from South America, Cuba and Africa.
The group’s creativity was an integral part of the course’s development, through finding the right instrument for individuals, learning rhythms, playing together and improvisation. Poetry collaborations and/or song writing were welcomed. The poems’ themes were explored through music with great respect for the writer and the musician’s creativity, the two strands weaving and developing around one another. The poetry expressed concerns and feelings around the issue of social inclusion, disability, travelling, love, relationships and life, to name but a few.
The project was very successful, both artistically and socially. Everyone enjoyed the sessions and working with Kev Howard and Tim Coyte. The abilities of the participants varied greatly and the mutual respect and support for one another was evident from all who attended the workshops. People’s skills were developed in a relaxed atmosphere and commitment to the project was formed. All the staff and participants involved are keen to continue and a new project is about to take shape, co-ordinated by Kev Howard as part of the In:volve Programme at TVA.
“I think without doubt that everyone has enjoyed the project. It has not only been great fun for the participants but it has also helped improve their skills. It has helped their ability to listen to and interact with one another in both musical and social interaction, it has greatly improved most of the members’ coordination skills. The project has helped build people’s self-esteem and confidence.” small world: Big Drums member
Tim Coyte, Kev Howard