dutch uncles

NEWS: Robin Richards of Dutch Uncles scores a new film about Chernobyl by Clara Casian

It’s been a little more than 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened.  A few miles away, an amusement park in the city of Pripyat was due to be opened; the park opened for a couple of hours before the city was eventually evacuated.  It has now become a symbol of the desolation left by the Chernobyl disaster.

Filmmaker Clara Casian has directed a new 40-minute film, Birdsong: Stories from Pripyat, which explores the historic event through storytelling, montage and archival footage.  The narrative arc follows people with first-hand experience of the disaster, as their personal testimonies are interwoven with original material.

Robin Richards, chief composer of Manchester baroque-pop band Dutch Uncles, has created an evocative live score to accompany the film.  His soundtrack is based on the testimonies of evacuees and liquidators from Ukraine and Belarus.  The music he has composed is meant to enhance the film’s artistic vision, evoking the experience of people from Pripyat and their recollections of the evacuation and cleaning process.

Richards says: “Since hearing about the trips young evacuees from Pripyat and neighbouring towns made to my hometown Stockport as part of charity programmes over the last 25 years, and reading personal accounts of those affected by the catastrophic nuclear disaster I have wanted to create an art piece depicting the stories, whilst also addressing environmental and scientific dimensions.”

He continued: “I am fascinated by the gestural vocabulary of film and its relationship to the formal properties of musical composition.  I want to push beyond the notion that music should always be in service to visual narrative, and explore the possibilities of music’s power to create and transform meaning.

The completed film will be shown accompanied by a live score played by a chamber ensemble at venues in the North West in the Autumn.  Details below.

30th September – HOME Artist Film Weekender, Manchester
6th October – Plaza, Stockport
7th October – Peel Hall, University of Salford

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.