Ambient Jam Sonic Letters from Wales


Our library of Sonic Letters continues to grow with our Ambient Jam friends in Antur Waunfawr (Wales), each one speaking to different elements of the work.

The following Sonic Letter and blog are by artist Hilary Davies.

As a music therapist and musician, I have learned a great deal throughout my work with Ambient Jam (AJ) from working with movement practitioners. My work with AJ continues to have a profound influence on my work as a music therapist, in the way I observe and respond to subtle and expressive forms of communication through movement, especially with non-verbal people.

I incorporate movement into my work as a musician for Ambient Jam, for example by moving around the room with my flute or violin (this can add a spatial element to the sound), or experimenting with distance / proximity (moving towards and away from particular members of the group). The nature of the space which has been available for the AJ Wales pilot project has meant that participants are often static, seated in chairs, and so the artistic team’s own sense of movement and connection has become even more important: moving between participants, and providing forms of physical connection between them such as threading a ball of wool between people in different parts of the room, or inviting different members of the group to hold the edge of a blanket / piece of cloth. I contribute to this sense of connection by weaving my own body and instrument between the members of the group.

In this Sonic Letters video, I found myself working alone and yet still wanting to incorporate as much as possible of the structures, rituals and gestures which have become part of our collective work in the Ambient Jam Wales group. Some gestures in the film, such as the waving and putting on of the single glove, reflect my memories of particular members of the group and the ways in which they choose to interact creatively with the objects available in the space. Many of the objects that appear in the film are either objects which have actually been used in sessions (the rain stick and maracas for example), or objects from my own living environment which symbolise objects we have used in the AJ Wales space (the scarf and tin foil, for example). The improvised music I play reflects some of the co-created moods which often arise in the group space. I use the scarf at the end as a reference to the use of scarves and blankets in the group, which were used to connect participants (through mutual touch of the fabric), create cool air by waving them (in an often hot and stuffy room!), and provide a pleasant sensory experience. I end the Sonic Letter with the scarf covering my head and face: a slightly absurd gesture in reference to the importance of occasional humour in the group (which was especially appreciated by certain members!), as well as a clear closing gesture.

Sonic Letter by Cai Tomos:

Ambient Jam: Antur Waunfawr is kindly supported by The National Lottery Community Fund Wales.

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