Sunday, 25 October 2009

Cathy Graham From The British Council Speaks To The Goldsmiths Ensemble

This week Cathy Graham came into Goldsmiths College to speak to the ensemble. Cathy Graham - Head of Music for the British Council, shares with us her excitement for the upcoming show at The Barbican. To mark the British Council's 75th year anniversary, Cathy Graham has organised an eclectic programme that displays some of the world's most diverse artists.
To learn more about what the British Council visit:

Here is some of what Cathy Graham had to say on her visit.

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Times Review on the Goldsmiths Ensemble

Ed Potton (centre)

The Times Journalist - Ed Potton joins the Goldsmiths Ensemble in preparation for the Matthew Herbert Big Band show at The Barbican, Monday 26th October. He has contributed to the hard work and dedication the ensemble has shown. Ed Potton has written an article on his experience with the Matthew Herbert Big Band Project.

To see the full article visit:

Angela Luzi tells us what she's been up to...

Here is a picture of some of the paper flowers Angela was talking about.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Interview With Struan Leslie - Movement Director

Today Angela speaks to Struan Leslie - Movement Director of this project.

Interview With Fintan, Tom And Nino

Today I caught up with three male ensemble members, who are also students of the Goldsmiths College. In this interview I learnt about how they discovered the ensemble and what their experience has done for them. As the students are in different year groups, it was interesting to see and hear their differences in experience and views.

I hope you enjoy the interview.


From left to right: Tom, Fintan and Nino

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Interview With Kate Sagovsky - Choreography Assistant

This week I get up close and personal with Kate Sagovsky - Choreography Assistant. Kate has been working closely with the ensemble, ensuring that they learn and deliver the correct movements. I would describe her as a mentor in the making. She has constantly strengthened our mental focus and prepared us for the show ahead.
Interviewing Kate was a so much fun and I had great pleasure in hearing about her passion for choreography and theatre.

I hope you enjoy the interview.


Kate Sagovsky - Choreography Assistant

To learn more about Kate Sagovsky visit:

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Summary Of Week 3 - By Karolin

Karolin photographed in rehearsal

This is what happened this week...

Tuesday's rehearsal was in the great hall which is always exciting in itself. A big room, a big stage... will it be the same at the Barbican?
Sadly we are getting less and less (in terms of people) at the moment, partly because of flu, partly because... well no one really knows.
This is such an opportunity, come on people get lazy... This is something we've built up together over the last few weeks so come, comm... commitment!

On a more positive note the rehearsal was good. Although it can get a tiny bit boring to go over the movements and lines over and over again it proved well worth as it was actually me who did it wrong in the end... oops!

On Wednesday Matthew visited again and gave one of his amazing speeches that makes you just want to stand up and say 'Yes, I totally agree with you... let's change something...', but what? ...Let's start small and sing in the choir... Then Cathy form The British Council came and watched us for a bit  as well as talking to us a bit about the BC again. Explaining what amazing work they do all over the planet, trying to work against facism, debarment, anti-social behavior and so on and so forth... to be just a tiny part of this feel's actually great!

The rehearsal went really well and all new comers pick up fast and mostly without comment which is amazing and I think a relief for Joe and Alice who are doing their best to keep the group together... we very much appreciate your work guys. Again great job and great fun!



Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Interview With Polly and Scarlet

After The Great Hall performance I was able to interview two spectators that night. Polly and Scarlet are students of the Goldsmiths College. They heard about the show from an ensemble member and came down night to support. Polly and Scarlet discuss their thoughts and feelings on the performance.



Saturday, 10 October 2009

Highlights Of The Great Hall Performance (02/10/09)

Hello All,

For those who missed last week's show. Here is your chance to catch some of the highlights.

Well done to everyone who took part in the concert.



Friday, 9 October 2009

Entry Blog from Angela - SIMON SAYS NIGHT!

Hello everyone!

I am going to give you a little update on what happened last night at Simon Says.
For those who are not aware, Simon Says is a singer / songwriter's night organized by the Goldsmiths Ensemble where all Goldsmiths music students and Ensemble members are welcome to perform!

It is a great opportunity to meet people and hear diverse and interesting music.

There is always such a special and friendly vibe at Simon Says. People are there to socialize and listen without being judgmental. I performed there my self in different occasions in the past three years and it was a great experience because you can really feel everyone's support.

It is a night where all genres are played including poetry and spoken word. It is a very creative and artistic evening, everyone is welcome to come and it is FREE so even better!

I met good friends last night and I was blown away by their performances.

I suggest you checking out this event and why not... perform!

Here are some photos I took to give you an idea of Simon Says 'cosy' atmosphere and some of the acts on last night.

Hope to see you all soon!

Blog From Karolin

The great thing about singing is it makes me feel good, I feel free, I feel open, I have fun. Isn't that the best thing to have?
After surviving a week of coughing people around me, I finally received the flu from a nice donator who want's to stay anonymous (who ever it is... ).
Still rehearsals are going on and apart from not hearing a thing it
was good to be in the group again and rehears together. You get really
used to it after a week being so close together... although there are
lot's of new faces, it amazed me how fast everyone caught up with the
rest. I think it works like a wave that just takes you and sways you
into the right direction or maybe there are just lot's of really good and ambitious people...
Wednesday I just stayed for an hour which is really sad but passing on germs is not one of my hobbies... sorry! 
Hope everyone had great fun and you did all movements correct so I can learn them, hihi!

I wish you all the best and see you next Tuesday,


Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Ensemble Rehearsing The Yesness

Here is a snippet of what goes on in our rehearsals. This particular clip is the ensemble learning the choreography for The Yesness, lead by Struan (Choreographer) at the beginning.  I feel this captures the fun that we have, even when we're tired and weary. Towards the end you can see that the ensemble are passionate and getting more into it.



Van's Audio Blog - Thursday 8th October

Yes, that is me in the picture.  I hope you enjoy the voice blog. Remember, Simon Says is TONIGHT at Goldsmiths Student Union Bar. Free entry all night. 8pm start. See you there.


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Wednesday 7th - Blog Entry from Angela

Hello everyone!

Today's rehearsal went very well, we have had some new and old faces joining the ensemble all of which I was really pleased to see!

After last Friday's success, when the ensemble performed in Goldsmiths Great Hall, the ensemble is now getting ready for the major event of this month: the Barbican performance on October 26th! And we are all very excited!

 The tickets are selling out very quickly so you will have to hurry if you do not want to miss this fantastic event.

Next week we are meeting in Goldsmiths Great Hall from 4:45 so come and join us if you fancy being part of something special.

Whether you are an experienced singer or not it does not matter. We have discovered that everyone is able to stretch themselves into something never done before. You will be surprised of what you are able to do if you really believe in it!

Hope to see you all next week!


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Friday - Day Of The Performance - Karolin (Member Of Ensemble)

So here was the final day...
I was so tired in the morning.  We were rehearsing in a great hall, and warming up with Kate, which was really nice. I like the exercise of giving and taking energy. It straightens me. Performance-wise I feel I can't give anything today and I am so tense.  My shoulder-rolling is more a shoulder-cracking and I get dizzy in 'Waiting' because I feel I'm waiting too long.  Poor Eska is stuck in traffic so she is running a bit late.
Finally we start the rehearsals with Eska.  It's ok but I think everyone feels we’re not quite there. Why are there still some parts I just can't get my head around?  Some bits feel like I'm singing them the first time - Oh my God! How difficult can it be?!!

We have a break and afternoon rehearsals are in good old CC.  I've been better and my feet hurt... but I take a look at Eska – she’s on tour, busy rehearsing and gigging, and her energy is as fresh as a morning’s breeze which motivates me.  As she talks about giving and taking between the choir and herself I wake up a bit. We go through the whole set and I really try (but I’m still tired and am still making mistakes, aaaargh those tappings!).
We break until 7pm when the concert starts. I have a huge cookie, which I think is absolutely delicious (no I didn't get paid for that!) and relax for a few hours, mhhhhh... that was nice!
The concert starts with the classical musicians which is really nice, I enjoy it.  But I get more and more excited – I can't wait for it to be our turn - and finally.... tatatataaaaaa - we're on!  We did it! 6 songs (yes we learned 7), 4 days, around 24 hours of rehearsing.  Matthew is here, which makes me even more nervous. Kate and Strewn stand in the back and have this look on their faces, I'm not sure who was more nervous!  But Eska, oh my, she looks stunning (her shoes are just from outer space!).  To her it is the most normal thing to do.  It just works, it just works, it just works, it just works. I feel prepared, I feel secure in my place, I feel great within the group, I feel as if I am part of something great, I feel the songs, I feel Eska’s voice and Alice’s emotions (she's fabulous!). I feel myself, I feel nervous, I feel the full impact of Matthew's ideas... I feel good.
And at the end I see this grin on Struan’s and Kate's faces and I know we nailed it -  yeeeees, I feel we nailed it! Everyone was just fantastic.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Blog From Alex Geldenhuys (Member Of Ensemble)

After spending the week, trying to stand as still as I possibly can, my feet feel like they have actually been chopped off at the ankle and my big toes have gone to some tropical destination on holiday!

I can’t, hand-on-heart say that I don’t feel a little jaded after the week of mental, physical and emotional investment that I, and the rest of the motley crew, have made.

That being said, I’ve just watched the clip that Matthew Herbert made about the journey that he, and the masses involved in the “There’s me and there’s you” project, undertook and it dawned on me; I too am part of this process (I know!  How slow am I in this realization?!)  The realization that I am, along with all in the ensemble, part of the process of this voice and part of the never-ending journey of the message of the album, is pretty awesome. However, it’s a double-edged sword and I realize that the irony is that I too am part of the problem.  Nonetheless, whether I have similar or differing opinions to Matthew Herbert, at least it has made me further aware of and further analyse my place on this planet and I reckon that’s a pretty good start. The bonus, of course, is that I get to “read” a newspaper on stage whilst a bunch of people watch me, the power!  The power!..........(seems to have gone to my head ;-) )


Blog From Alice (Ensemble Conductor)

Alice photographed in rehearsal

What can I say? It's been an amazing week. I wanted to contribute to the blog as we were going through the process, but every night I had so much stuff to look over, I had no time. Last week was so overwhelming. I entered into the project with great anticipation. Joe and I had started out by singing in the last year's MHBB choir, only to somehow end up conducting it (it's a long story...). Rehearsing, practising and performing at the Royal Festival Hall last November was one of the most rewarding and most challenging things I have ever done. It was certainly my best and favorite gig. Ask anyone who was involved or anyone who came to see it. It was special.

When I was asked to conduct with Joe again, my initial reaction was "YEEEEES!"...but as I thought deeper, the nerves kicked in. I was thinking of all the work that we had to do, the sleepless nights counting bars in my head, the strange looks on the train when I was conducting as I was listening to the record, and what a huge performance we had to live up to. AND this new choir didn't know that I was a total novice conductor/choir leader. AND this was part of Music Week, traditionally a space for the Goldsmiths music students to play what they wanted, and we had busted in telling them it was singing only. Ouch. I have to admit, I was a little scared.

So Monday morning, Joe and I arrived at Deptford Town Hall, our notebooks and pencils at the ready. As the day went on, I really got into it. These people can sing! We went from being a bunch of people - some new to singing, some new to Goldsmiths, some even new to the country - to a proper choir. I can't believe how much everyone gave to this week. The professionalism, commitment, thought and kindness that was displayed by the students was amazing.  Everyone completely gave themselves to the process and the amount we achieved in 5 days was incredible.

Friday's performance was brilliant. My arms ached from a week of flailing them around, my legs hurt from practising Struan and Kate's dance moves and jumping up and down like a loon, my eyes hurt from lack of sleep, my head hurt from too much information in a too small brain. Fortunately, the choir didn't seem to notice and carried on being totally amazing and sang like pros and that all important intention was present at every turn. One Life in particular was so powerful. It felt like everyone was singing it for someone. I really had to hold it together before I turned into a blubbering wreck. Thanks to the choir for their support and words of encouragement. It really means a lot to me. And thanks to the conducting giant that is Big Joe Bentley. I'm so glad that we're in it again together.

I am so impressed by and proud of the choir. It's only been a few days, but I feel like friendships are forming and a community is starting. I'm even starting to remember some names! It all sounds very idealistic, but I don't feel that we're in a bubble. This all feels very real, very possible, very exciting. I wish that more people could have the opportunity to be part of something as special as this. I'm really grateful to the hardwork of Matthew and Eska and for making this possible and seeing the potential in the people around them.

I can't wait to continue building on the great work we've started and get everything polished and perfect for the big day. And then after the Barbican performance, keep on singing and take over the world. And I might remember a few more names.

See you all on Tuesday. 5pm sharp!

Lots of love,

Alice X

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Learn more about the man behind the music. In this video interview Matthew Herbert discusses the inspiration behind his album "There's Me And There's You".

Performance Review By Angela (Production Assistant)

Hello lovely people!
What can I say... last night was a big and earned success!

After so much hard work I am so happy to say that  the whole performance went smoothly and that the ensemble looked amazing!

It has been such a good experience for me to follow the ensemble as part of the production team this year. I was a soprano of the Goldsmiths Ensemble last year when we performed for Matthew Herbert at the London Jazz Festival (and that was a whole brilliant experience of its own) but for the first time last night  I was enjoying the show instead of being on stage!

 I only now realize the power of this vocal group and how strongly each song's message comes across!

I think most of the audience was surprised last night by the unusual performance of the choir, by the creative and socially/ politically involved music that was sung and played and by the extremely talented main singer Eska Mtungwazi.
To 'shock' an audience is always an important and positive thing especially in today's world where it is not very easy to find meaningful music like Matthew Herbert's compositions.

Yesterday was a really intense day full of rehearsals, preparation, last minute things, adrenalin and excitement.

We also put up our 'mural' called the 'Ensemble Times' in the Great Hall. This gigantic lookalike newspaper showed a lot of articles that the members of the ensemble considered important to be showed and thoughts were written down on paper fro everyone to see and, why not, think about.

Photos of this event will be posted soon! Our friend and photographer Kate came along last night and took more lovely pictures!

To conclude todays blog I would like to say that I consider my self to be part of something important, something i am proud of. I am surrounded by people that have something to say, something so valid that it is worth singing it out loud!

Thanks to everyone involved in the ensemble and the very hard work of Alice and Jo.


Photos by Kate Stanworth

Last Night's Performance By Van (Production Assistant)

Last night I saw a group of individuals walk on stage and perform as a unit. I am so proud of the ensemble. This in itself is such a great achievement. To have learnt so many demanding songs in such a short time span. An ensemble that was made up of experienced and complete novices. 

The hours they've put in, both in rehearsals and in their own time. I have seen members grow weary but fight with persistence in these rehearsals. Many members of the ensemble are participating in something that is way out of their comfort zone. All of this and more, is the reason why the performance was such a success. The ensemble were determined to make it work and they did. They sang with confidence and performed with such strength, that it was provoking and uncomfortable. 
As I looked around closely at each member, I could see nothing but passion and feel nothing but inspiration. 

"One Life" which was the last song of the set, was the most powerful piece. The song had a bleep which represents 100 people killed in the war of Iraq. This bleep sit over the music in a tormenting way. After a while it turns into a continuous tone. 
The song ended in a 30 second silence. To pull this off and have the audience so quiet, was a true testament to how powerful the performance really was. I don't even think the ensemble intended on holding the silence for that long but that is the power of music and being caught up in the moment. It is hard when performing or even listening to this piece, not to get emotional involved and drawn in. 

For anyone who wants to see something different, modern, meaningful, political, thought provoking, inspiration........THIS IS THE SHOW TO SEE.


Photos by Kate Stanworth

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Day 5 - Blog From Van (Production Assistant)

Today is the big day, the first performance of the academic year for the ensemble and for most of the members the first time performing in such a project. I must say I am very excited and cannot wait for the performance. The ensemble has grown immensely since I'd joined (over a year ago) and I am honored to still be apart of it.

My role in the ensemble this year is different. Instead of being a member of the choir, I am assisting in the preparation of the two ensemble performances (The Great Hall and The Barbican). The experience has enabled me to grow and develop skills in so many different ways. I only have the ensemble and team working on this project to thank for this opportunity. 
I have spent the last few days off-site working on the props and websites and I shall continue to do so through the duration of this project. 

I hope my blogs give some of you a better insight of what is happening behind the scene and within the ensemble. Please feel free to comment on blog or ask questions. I'd be happy to respond.

That's it for now. Hope to see you tonight.


*Thank you to all those who have continued to support the ensemble, it has simply added to this journey and experience.*

Day 4 - Blog Entry From Karolin (Member Of Ensemble)

Day 4... (and I still forgot my article for the mirror...shame on me)

It's all about intention today. I don't know why it is such a theme today, but it hangs in the room. Do everything you do with intention. Go, but don't just go. What's your intention behind it? Go to the horizon, it's not just straight to the horizon and why do we go to the horizon? When we go there we stop thinking about ourselves. We are not ourselves anymore. We are much further away and that's why we grow. That's how we sing. We sing to the horizon, because that's where the audience sits and they want to hear us.  We don’t want to hear ourselves, it's for them. 
I like this image because it helps me to stop fumbling around and rubbing my nose. I find standing so long without movement difficult, but there is a horizon and I can focus on it. There’s Alice, Joe, Struan, Eska, Katie, Julian and the ensemble.  We slowly comes together today, because of this focus.

We learnt “One Life” and this song is just... ......., sorry, I have no words! It moves, it hurts, it changes, it challenges and I think, for everyone of us. It's this perfect melody with this annoying sound that describes just everything that I can totally relate to. Maybe too much? I really have to keep my distance to deliver this song. It's amazing and Eska is just ... ... ... wow! We are a huge choir and yet it feels so intimate.

We’ve rehearsed the whole repertoire and I think we aren’t doing to badly. There are some parts that are not so clear and it’s funny as we’re like a big hive, one mind and we’re unsure together. But yes I think we are getting there.

The evening rehearsal after a long break was in The Great Hall. Big stage I have to admit, but ideal working space to rehearse “Take Me Home”. I think we’re all starting to feel more pressure now. It's interesting because for me it got ‘real’ this evening. It all seemed far away (I know a week is not far), but now it's thursday night and tomorrow is the concert. I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to get it out there into the audience. There are still some bits and pieces I have to get my head around. Battery is really hard with the pillow case. I couldn't see a thing and that made me feel quite insecure. I will try again tomorrow with one of those really cheap ones, where they only use half of the material or maybe I should go for the dinosaur one?

Let's see...


Day 4 - Blog Entry From Angela (Production Assistant)


Hi everyone! Here I am again updating you on the Goldsmiths Ensemble's world!

Today was another really full day and it was all about revision, revision, revision and... getting it right!

The Ensemble has put a total of 26 hours of rehearsal time since Monday and has another 6 hours of rehearsals tomorrow before the concert tomorrow evening (2nd October), which will be held in Goldsmiths Great Hall from 7pm!

I feel this vocal group is living an amazing experience because it has the opportunity to work with such talented artists like vocalist/ songwriter and choir leader Eska Mtungwazi and composer and producer Matthew Herbert.

The day started with a 4 hour rehearsal this morning with Eska singing the lead part and the ensemble managed to go though the whole set, moves included.
Photographer Kate Stanworth also joined us this morning and took some beautiful pictures that you can check out below!

The first part of rehearsals finished at 2 pm. Everyone was then back at 6 pm to go through the set again with the ensemble move director to get even the smallest detail right!

All props are ready, the ensemble is ready, we are all ready!

I'm very excited... are you?

Don't miss this performance! (Tickets are £7 on the door, £4 for students and £3 concession tickets)

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Photos by Kate Stanworth