Travel Light: a new live music commission for Smeaton300 by South Asian Arts UK and Foxglove

We are delighted to announce Travel Light, a new live music commission for Smeaton300 by South Asian Arts UK (SAA-uk) and Foxglove. 

Inspired by John Smeaton’s iconic Eddystone Lighthouse, Travel Light will be a musical journey that spans continents, tracing the trade routes of the 18th and 19th Centuries – from Britain to India through the music of southern Europe, Africa and the West coast of India.

The piece will evolve throughout 2024 and be performed on Winter Solstice night, the shortest day of the year that also signals the arrival of light. It feels right that our Smeaton300 programme, which began with dreams of Smeaton’s lighthouse in 2017, will come full circle to end its journey with the lighthouse at the end of Smeaton’s anniversary year.

This exciting project with SAA-uk has been seven years in the making and weaves together a story of contrasting themes exploring public good and personal profit, fear and adventure, technology and tradition, and most of all what it means to call a place home.

Animated by a powerful blend of music, song, and visuals Travel Light explores the light and darkness of lighthouses, the unique patterns of their beams and their symbolic power of exchange and integration, exploitation, and hope.

An exceptional team of international musicians aim will bring to life stories of ‘power, pepper and people’ from the lives of the lighthouses along the trade route, in modern-day Cape Verde, South Africa, Portugal and India.

“’Travel light’ for me is, quite literally, the language of lighthouses translated into music. The concept originated in a conversation with Abby and Jane from Foxglove that began seven years ago, aiming to transform the language of lighthouses into a musical form. The idea is to use music as a medium to explore the interconnectedness of art and engineering, delve into the many narratives and share this with lovers of music and science, culminating a year-long celebration dedicated to an engineer who was the pioneer of civil engineering in the UK,” Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, MBE, the CEO, and Artistic Director of SAA-uk.

‘Travel Light’ is commissioned for Smeaton300 by SAA-uk and Foxglove, generously funded by Arts Council England.