Unbridled artistic creativity, raw invention and a heady fusion of musical and architectural vision descend on Leith Theatre this weekend as Oi Musica join the Pianodrome for the Sunday Get Down.
The most unique little amphitheatre on the planet, built by the founder members of S!nk from ‘an elephant’s graveyard’ of upcycled pianos, will host a family day for kids and adults keen to play.
The flamboyant performers will set out their colourful stalls for an afternoon of spontaneity, improvisation and fun with Manchester’s Beren Airstone of The Incredible Plastic Street Band.
A mega-jam will unite performers and public of all age and ability in an energetic, vibrant few hours exploring various musical traditions as the sounds of the streets come inside from the cold.
The sculptural installation has already been constructed at the majestic Leith Theatre – itself resurrected in recent years by gorilla arts activists Hidden Door – as part of a month-long ‘resonancy,’ capitalising on the remarkable acoustics of the building.
Until December 6 it will occupy the former Leith town hall – with its beautiful Art Deco features so recently risen from the ashes as a hub for the arts and a world-class Edinburgh International Festival venue.
Brainchild of Tim Vincent-Smith and Matt Wright, the Pianodrome will host visiting performers and members of the public wanting to learn more about music, or just play around with one of the five pianos embedded in its structure.
Olivia Furness and Marcus Britton of Oi Musica will join the Pianodrome mavericks, hot on the heels of tonight’s Leith Late immersive Moon Party.
Oi Musica is an Edinburgh-based social enterprise, which identifies the currency of street music as a tool for restoring communities and making music accessible to all.
Their Sunday jams, which merge the musical talents of basically anyone wanting to ‘have-a-go, with more accomplished musicians are held monthly.
Both former members of the acclaimed Orkestra Del Sol, which combined theatre with musicianship for spectacular live shows, the pair have evolved inclusive community projects like the youth street music band Brass Blast and Portobello’s Shunpike Social Club.
They also work in education, inspiring confidence and self-belief and encouraging children to follow their passions.
Both Oi Musica and Pianodrome are still reeling from a glorious summer of being themselves. Furness co-directed The Encontro Street Band Festival serving-up a world-beating menu of international street music in Glasgow, whilst Pianodrome returned some of their homespun magic to the Edinburgh Fringe at the Pitts Market, Leith.
The Pianodrome was the distillation of a dream by musicians looking for an affordable performance venue.
They set to work with their carpentry skills to build a home. Salvaging dozens of pianos destined for scrap, they pulled in a team of volunteers and built a beautifully ornate and functioning theatre in the round.
In August they hosted the likes of Calum Easter, Lizabett Russo and Omar Afif Gnawa Trance Fusion, whilst also performing themselves and encouraging public interaction.
Britton said: “The Sunday Get-Down brings people of all ages together to enjoy live music.
“The audience will be invited to get stuck in, grab an instrument, learn a bit of brass technique and make one big piece of music together.
“Piano players are also welcome and kids of all ages will love it I think!”
He added: “It’s really important for children and families to be able to experience culture and live music. But because licensing laws are so restrictive, they rarely get the chance – most events are held in venues/clubs that don’t admit children.
“This is what we are addressing with the Sunday-Get Down and it’s also what the Pianodrome have been doing with their residencies over the last couple of years.”
A Pianodrome spokeperson said: “The Pianodrome and the Leith Theatre have so much in common, it was as if they were made for each other. They ‘resonate’.
“The excellent natural acoustic of Leith Theatre’s main auditorium added to the Pianodrome’s sound enhancing properties and our five embedded playable pianos makes for a spectacular surround sound experience that is immersive, engaging, surprising and constantly changing.
“Come along and play the pianos, sit on the tiered seats made from pianos, watch the flow of people and listen to the evolving multi piano soundscape from high in the gallery.”