Saturday, 17 April 2021 08:31 GMT

Lost and Found Orchestra offers junk shop harmony

(MENAFN - AFP) Beating metal filing cabinets, clanging fire extinguishers, rattling shelves and blowing into traffic cones, it's no surprise that the musicians of the Lost and Found Orchestra struggle to stay in tune.

"The instruments are rubbish, they don't stop breaking," said Luke Cresswell, who co-founded the group that uses everyday objects to create music.

"It is chaos, but we're getting there," he told AFP as the orchestra rehearsed for a new short tour of France and Russia that begins in Paris on Friday.

"When you start the show it's very distorted, it sounds awful, but it slowly starts to come together."

The orchestra's base is in a large warehouse near Brighton, on the southern English coast.

Piled high with everyday objects, furniture, plastic containers and metal piping, it resembles a huge junk shop.

But as with "Stomp", the hugely successful musical launched by Cresswell and his partner Steve McNicholas 25 years ago, the Lost and Found Orchestra manages to turn unlikely ingredients into art.

Unlike "Stomp", a percussion-based riot of physical theatre driven by a handful of "Stompers" beating out a rhythm, the orchestra involves 28 or 29 musicians plus a choir.

The players harness the sound produced by hitting, swinging or vibrating objects to create a kind of symphony.

Musical saws are one of the key instruments, removed of their teeth and played with a conventional bow for an other worldly sound, while industrial soup cauldrons are used as timpani.

"It's melodic, it's symphonic -- it's more like Stomp is black and white and this is colour," Cresswell said, adding that "a lot of classical players love it".

"They want to run around the stage and be liberated."

The orchestra was conceived a decade ago and has performed in Sydney, London, Amsterdam and Paris.

But it only performs for a fortnight a year, meaning that for its creators, it still feels new.

"Although we call it an orchestra, it's not a real orchestra, it's a made up, invented, pretend orchestra tied together with bits of string, and tapes and bolts," he said.

"Our intention is to be symphonic."

McNicholas said he was "very excited" to return with a rebooted show to the French capital, where he started out as a busker playing on the streets more than 30 years ago.

Inspired by the music of silent movies and the early Hollywood musicals, he seeks inspiration wherever he can find it.

"I go to hardware stores, checking things out. I haven't been stopped yet, but at some point I will get thrown out," he said.

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