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The Echoes Return Slow - Luke Lewis

"It’s little known that the great American ethnomusicologist and song collector Alan Lomax went to the valleys of South Wales in the 1950s. Here he recorded the sometimes sad but more often jovial songs and tales of old miners. I’m taking these as a starting point for a piece that draws on ideas of voice, translation, and belonging. The first stage is transcribing singing and speech from the tape recordings using computer software (and its fallibilities) to draw out the material’s phrases, inflections and unique characteristics. This will provide the music the London Sinfonietta players play, but threaded though the score will also be elements of the original recordings that themselves have undergone transformations. In essence, the piece will be a conversation between distant lost voices of a very particular time and culture. But, with the subjective compositional choices I make, I want it to speak to broader present-day questions of identity and place." Luke Lewis

The Echoes Return Slow was commissioned by London Sinfonietta as part of its Writing the Future scheme. The film was recorded at the Southbank Centre on 6 February 2022 and features the London Sinfonietta alongside conductor Sian Edwards.

You can read the full programme for the concert, along with Luke's programme notes, here:

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Published: 18 Oct 2023