Mercury Award-winning local hero Talvin Singh will lead a stellar cast of artists in a unique collaboration with Waltham Forest’s young people for a massive opening event, Welcome to the Forest, to celebrate the start of Waltham Forest’s tenure as London’s first Borough of Culture.

Renowned for his landmark 1999 album OK, Leytonstone-born Talvin Singh will collaborate with celebrated digital artists Greenaway and Greenaway to tell the story of Waltham Forest as seen through the eyes and experiences of the borough’s young people. They will create an original audio-visual piece for the event with colleges, community groups and young artists that will be projection mapped on to Waltham Forest’s iconic Town Hall.

The award-winning Marshmallow Laser Feast will work with composer Erland Cooper and the borough’s community choirs on a companion piece to be staged in Walthamstow’s Lloyd Park. The two sites will be joined by a ‘street party’ style feast of food, culture and creative activity drawn from across the creative communities of Waltham Forest as Forest Road is transformed into high octane celebration; a winter carnival for all the family. 

Talent based in the borough are also being invited to take part in a musical project with acclaimed artists Addictive TV. The audio/video remix duo known for their sampling extravaganzas are working with local rappers, singers and musicians from a variety of musical cultures, filming them for later sampling. The result will be a brand new piece of music and video as part of the opening event, all created by sampling the material, celebrating the diverse musical cultures of Waltham Forest. 

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Sam Hunt, Creative Director of London Borough of Culture 2019, said: “Welcome to the Forest will be a wildly ambitious work of a scale not seen here before, but work that is totally of the place. The brand new commissions at the core of the event will see the world-class talent of the borough come back home and give a platform to the next generation of artists through unique collaborations, telling the stories of the borough in the most unexpected of ways.

"Welcome to the Forest is exactly what we think London’s very first Borough of Culture should be about. It will be the biggest party Waltham Forest has ever seen, and it will set a precedent for what London can expect from the rest of the year.”

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “We’re delighted to reveal the artists for the opening event of our year as London Borough of Culture. It’s a perfect encapsulation of what we want to achieve – celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the borough whilst at the same time opening up opportunities to the creatives and makers of tomorrow.

Welcome to the Forest will be the perfect way to begin our year. We will put Waltham Forest on the map through something that could only ever have been created here, but something that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

This news article was first published 30 August 2018