Free Heart, Free Voice

Kelcey Swain

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Free Heart, Free Voice explores the idea of being denied a voice in a new cultural environment, both in the literal and the political sense. This piece was inspired by a desire to capture the experiences of refugees while acknowledging Edward Said’s ideas of orientalism. Too often refugees, and migration more generally, are aurally represented in Britain through the use of ‘world music’, which reduces individual experiences to cliché and stereotype. Free Heart, Free Voice is a piece written entirely in SuperCollider, an audio programming environment. Programming the piece in this way allows original sounds to be combined with human voices singing and speaking in various languages. Combined, they summon up a mental landscape of refugee attempts to communicate, to hear and be heard, whilst avoiding the clichés of ‘world music’. To take on board the diversity of experiences, it is also not a static piece; there will be variations between performances. Whether or not the piece finds its voice in the final moments is a consequence of these small variations. Free Heart, Free Voice, therefore, does not presume a happy ending nor a tragedy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2014


  • ambient
  • electroacoustic


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