Closed Doors is an exploration of how disparate communities can and do live literally on top of one another in multicultural Britain. It examines what is similar between us and what is different; how someone can feel like a stranger in the society they were born into and how one can find a home in a country far from the land where they grew up. It asks questions about the conflicts which arise around heritage and inheritance, land and property and the right to remain.
The three artists involved are pianist and vocalist Lauren Gilmour, drummer, guitarist and producer Audrey Tait and writer and performer Belle Jones. We are interested in telling the interlinking stories of people whose voices are rarely heard. Investigating the use of diverse musical motifs, rhythms and language to paint a picture of a vibrant yet sometimes troubled multicultural community, the project focuses on the different cadences and styles which mingle in a culturally diverse population, with the idiosyncratic lyricism of different customs brought out in the music and spoken word.
The inspiration for the project came from information from Scottish Parliament records that stated that there are fifty-three languages spoken in Govanhill, Glasgow. Despite this, the charity The Space that works with the Roma population in the area describe many as living in a “communication vacuum”.
One thing that can definitely be said about Govanhill is that it can be noisy. As well as the glut of languages, many diverse types of music can be heard: from passing cars blaring bhangra, to groups of men singing in the street, teenagers walking along with their phones playing their favourite tunes and children singing nursery rhymes in school playgrounds.
Drawing inspiration from the stories of local community, Closed Doors explores how people end up in places and what makes people damage, destroy and neglect their surroundings. It considers how crime and mistrust affect innocent individuals, what drives people to fight for what they believe in and how apathy can lead to toxic isolation. How can someone integrate if they can’t communicate? Are cultural bonds stronger than geographical ones? Does the music we identify with define us? Using spoken word intertwined with music the live performance piece explores these issues through narrative in verse.
The first incarnation of the project was performed at Flint and Pitch at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in May 2017.