Pandemic performance: new album of cross-genre collaboration

The 25 participants in the ‘Croydon Composers Vol. 3’ album. Pic: Croydon Composers

The collaborative group Croydon Composers Online released the third volume of their cross-genre musical project last Friday, free for all to stream through their own website.

Croydon Composers is the creation of Shirin Sriram, project director of the production company Drum The Bass Records; Shri Sriram, BASCA-award-winning composer, producer and bassist and artistic director of DTB; and Michael Fuller, a music business consultant.

Their new volume of songs Croydon Composers Vol. 3, includes cross-genre compositions by 25 musicians selected by the Croydon Composers team. It features mixture of local artists, and some national musicians that Shri has worked with.

Shirin Sriram told Eastlondonlines explained the aim of the collaboration was to: “Further the reach of local musicians, beyond just the community of Croydon,” as well as helping to turn it into “a positive melting pot.”

She added: “This project gives musicians the opportunity to work with genres and cultures they may not otherwise have worked with. It is great for people to experience each other’s culture beyond just seeing them in the neighbourhood or visiting their restaurants.”

“For [example] we have many South Indian eateries in Croydon, but not many musical collaborations involving South Indians. That is just one example of what we have in our projects.”

The musicians were brought together through a mixture of contact via the Croydon Composers website, word of mouth and networks created in Croydon over the last 4 years.

Since their formation, the group has been supported by the Arts Council and Croydon Council. The latest project was funded by the Arts Council England’s emergency investment.

However, the situation for the arts in Croydon is a lot less bright than it was pre-Covid. Shri Sriram said: “Pre-pandemic, there was a lot of buzz being created in Croydon with the opening of refurbished Fairfield Halls, Phase Club, Front room and others, and the joy of Croydon being awarded borough of culture in 2023.”

He added: “Performing musicians are struggling a lot at this point, in Croydon and Nationwide.”

Nevertheless, the Croydon Composers team are still grateful to have been able to produce this album, which has allowed them to continue performing, albeit virtually without a physical audience.

Shirin said: “[The funding] helped us all, not just financially at a time when all other work was being cancelled or delayed, but more importantly, it kept us creating together in an enjoyable and productive way.”

“As it was not possible to perform these collaborations live, we decided to make self-filmed, professionally edited videos…[which] have taken on a life of their own and are doing very well on social media.”

Some tracks by the album have already been played by Don Letts and Tom Robinson on Radio 6 Music, and by Bobby Friction on BBC Asian Network.

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