The Sound of Heritage

The Sound of Heritage project started in 2021 and was a collaboration between a University of Central Lancashire research project named ‘The Global Sound Movement’ and professional musician and composer Aziz Ibrahim. Facilitated by Heritage Learning Lancashire, the project aimed to capture the ambient and unique sounds of significant historical sites, including textile mills, Halls and Castle ruins in order to preserve the sound of the industrial cotton mill industry for future generations, ensuring that the cultural and historical heritage of the Lancashire region is not lost.

The GSM recorded mill machinery and water wheels that no longer are in use and have not been started in decades. Ambient recordings and impulse responses of specific rooms and locations were also captured to ultimately add to the sonic uniqueness of the final musical compositions. Once this archive was complete and DATA capture was refined, the files were given to Aziz Ibrahim ( Simply Red, Stone Roses, Asia etc…) to form the basis of new musical works to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the role played by the Asian community in the development of the cotton mills and the textile industry throughout Lancashire. 

Aziz Ibrahim’s reputation and expertise in the music industry helped to raise the profile of the project and attract a wider audience, leading to greater exposure for the historical and cultural significance of the Lancashire region and the impact of the cotton mills on the Asian community. His use of the samples brought a fresh and innovative approach to traditional forms of music, showcasing the potential of combining historical and modern elements in artistic expression. Additionally, partnering with a musician of Aziz Ibrahim’s calibre provided a valuable platform for engaging with diverse communities and promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, both locally and globally. The final performance of ‘Sound of Heritage’ was well received, and the musical works are scheduled to be released with further performances to be arranged. 

The archive work has led to the creation of a series of visual records of the working machinery and processes in partnership with the National Trust and the University of Central Lancashire. It is hoped that these films will reach new audiences and help to educate future generations.  

Overall, the partnership between the University of Central Lancashire and Aziz Ibrahim elevated the significance and impact of the project and contributed to achieving its cultural and artistic goals in a unique and impactful way.