Byron Wallen

Black History Month 2024

Back in 2019 Filthy Lucre commissioned Byron to write music for 8 musicians responding to Peter Shenai’s "Hurricane Bells" . Peter is a contemporary artist who has cast 5 bells, whose shapes are modelled on the structure of Hurricane Katrina— the storm that devastated New Orleans in 2005. These cyclonic, irregularly shaped bells produce a tonally complex web of sounds reminiscent of Chinese bells and gongs. 

Gong instruments in general, have this amazing political and communicative power: they memorialize, they mark celebrations, they sound alarms, they call communities to gather around important issues. These bells based on the structure of Hurricane Katrina carry a powerful message and set of meanings with them.

This piece is an exploration of  the socio-political economic climate where their sound resonates. The reason "Hurricane Katrina" incurred such a huge loss of life and destruction was not because of the winds, but because of the subsequent flooding, due to insufficient levy infrastructure and the pathetic response of the US federal government.

Line Up: Byron Wallen – trumpet, Daniel Kempshell – Guitar, Jonny Mansfield – Vibes, Menelick Claffey – Bass & Zoe Pascal - Drums