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Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2017 at 7:09pm

Tinderbox Orchestra: Debut Album and Second Single; A revolutionary approach to orchestras, youth culture and collaboration

Pioneering a revolutionary approach to orchestras and youth culture, Scotland’s Tinderbox Orchestra announce the release of their debut album ‘Tinderbox’.

Their second single, ‘Bethany Lane’, featuring over 200 young musicians, comes out on April 19th. The orchestra will launch the album in June at shows across Edinburgh and Glasgow, whilst also showcasing a new collaboration with Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award winner Kathryn Joseph.

Lighting up the crumbling grandeur of Edinburgh’s old Leith Theatre, their hometown launch will bring down the curtain on this year’s ‘Hidden Door Festival’.

The release of ‘Tinderbox’ sees this precocious Edinburgh collective take another step out from the underground and onto the national stage. Fiercely independent, they combine core values of inclusivity and togetherness with an ambition to hit the highest levels of creativity and originality.

Driven by an unshakeable desire to help young people grow in confidence through music, they have run workshops with thousands of children & young people across the country since their inception in 2010.

They have gathered an international cast of professional collaborators, produced a variety of award-winning and experimental productions, and transformed preconceptions of what an orchestra looks and sounds like.

Their debut album sums up this extraordinary journey, and in the words of 16 year-old Jack from Edinburgh: “It just blows everything you think about orchestras & young people to bits”.

Debut single ‘Quetzalcoatl’ received support from BBC Scotland, and was featured on Vic Galloway’s show as a BBC Introducing track. Encapsulating much of what makes Tinderbox tick, follow up track ‘Bethany Lane’ was the first original piece ever written by the orchestra and has become a Tinderbox anthem.

It’s a rallying cry, an inclusive musical mission statement as rappers squeeze in beside the string section, who jostle for space with an almighty all-ages choir. The focus shifts from lucid, liquid hip-hop to soaring strings; staccato horns give way to explosive choruses, and all the while the tension ratchets up constantly – it’s like a melodic interpretation of ‘Pass the Bomb’.

The track has evolved over the years to include everyone the orchestra works with – the recording features over 200 young performers. Whether it’s amateur musicians or aspiring professionals, voices from across the city come together to make a gigantic noise!

That eagerness to combine bombastic arrangements with an irreverent attitude to genre informs ‘Tinderbox’ as a whole, recalling forward-thinking artists like fellow Scot Anna Meredith.

The globetrotting breadth of arrangements, flavours and instruments on show is remarkable: the intriguing Chinese folk-punk of ‘Talking About Birds II’ gives way to Balkan toe-tapper ‘More’. Closer to home the Scottish trad romp of ‘Cas Na Caora’ sits beside anthemic indie rock on ‘Live Free or Die’.

Even on more traditionally orchestral tracks, surprises are never far away: the tiptoeing, Alice in Wonderlandesque melodies of ‘Captain Beefheart’s Memorial Picnic’ feature lurking, phaser-drenched stabs of funk guitar, which threaten to take over, before sliding back into the middle-distance.

That open-minded, inclusive attitude manifests itself both in instrumentation and in the orchestra’s wider methodology, leading them to consistently seek out both new artists to work with, and new young musicians.

Collaborators on the album include:
DaWangGang – Chinese heroes of the avant-garde
Nigel Osborne MBE – world-famous composer, music therapist and former Reid Professor of Music, at The University of Edinburgh.
The Black Diamond Express – BAFTA nominated Edinburgh roots-rockers.
Continuing to push themselves into new territory, Tinderbox Orchestra are delighted to be performing a new collaboration with Scotland’s red queen of heartache Kathryn Joseph, (Scottish Album of the Year Award Winner 2015) at album launch shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

More details here. 

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