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Contra Band by Leah Lovett Photo: Nina Pope

Contra Band

I had the pleasure of hosting the first night of our new Live Art Commission for the Floating Cinema on Saturday - Contra Band by Leah Lovett. Having produced quite a few pieces of work ourselves over the years which use mobile streaming/communication/live performance Karen and I certainly know the pit falls of this kind of work! I can't say that Contra Band was with out all the regular hitches and glitches that this brings but what it really reminded me, is of the surprise and at times quite intimate joy, working with live remote performance can bring.

This piece is essentially a live music set performed from two venues - one on the boat and one at Casa 24 in Rio. The two musicians alternate singing banned songs from each country while the other tries to accompany them via the live stream. It all makes for a funny, quirky but at times also moving performance. Aside from the music some of the incidental moments that occurred on the move were lovely - a woman in a dog costume dancing in Brazil and a group of small children running alongside us by the canal in Hackney Wick - a sunny evening and some great songs. With Ian Dury and Gilberto Gil in the same set, what's not to like? See it at the next venue at the end of July when we'll be in Central London.

Many thanks to Leah and Sandy as her 'stand in', the musicians Nick Underwood and Raphael Dos Santos and to Philipe Espindola at CASA 24 and LADA for helping us to commission the work.