MAPPING THE SOUNDS OF KNOXVILLE: CITY SONGS
In the weeks leading up to Big Ears 2023, composer, musician, and bandleader Aurora Nealand and community artist Jebney Lewis returned to Knoxville for a second year of City Songs, the residency project they created that incorporates original stories and compositions from local youth and matches them with Big Ears musicians. City Songs helps to connect communities through the common language of art.
Creative writing students at Knoxville’s Fulton High School illuminated their connection to special places and times in their hometown, which were then underscored with beats and soundscapes by audio production students. Nealand and Lewis then organized musicians to improvise and perform over these audio tracks at or near the location of the students’ favorite places.
By providing community members with the opportunity to create art based on locations on their personal mental maps, we discover the connections they have formed with their nearby world, the things that are emotionally important to them, and their evolving sense of place. Putting these individual experiences onto a single map then creates a tapestry of emotion and memory rooted in the physical spaces of our city that everyone can then experience and share.
Watch the rest of City Songs 2023 here!