MARSHSIDE, England (Reuters) – Whether celebrating or mourning Britain’s exit from the European Union, you can now do it to music, thanks to a British composer who has set dry EU legal-speak to jazz as part of a project to explore Brexit through art.
The Brexit Big Band project is the brainchild of experimental musician Matthew Herbert, and consists of a series of concerts and workshops in Britain and across Europe, as well as an album which people from around the world can contribute to by uploading short sound samples to a website.
Herbert, who describes the decision to quit the bloc after four decades as “a shock”, began the project on March 29, 2017 – the day British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the Brexit process – and will culminate two years later, when the country is due to break away from the EU.
“I wanted to do something that celebrated the things that I thought were great about collaboration, celebrating things that I thought were great about being part of Europe,” Herbert told Reuters.
The works produced so far include the spoken text of Article 50, the legislative clause that Britain used to initiate the Brexit divorce proceedings, set to a piece of jazz music.
Herbert says the project is not anti-Brexit, but rather a way of bringing people together. In November last year, he was given a grant for the project by the British government’s Department for International Trade.
Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Robin Pomeroy