In mid-March, White Juju, a unique collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and jazz saxophonist and rapper Soweto Kinch, was performed at Printworks London. Three Yamaha RIVAGE PM digital mixing systems brought a variety of elements together in a powerful, sold-out performance.
First performed at the Barbican as part of the 2021 EFG London Jazz Festival, Kinch’s work for jazz quartet and symphony orchestra was written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Black British history, Brexit and the Covid-19 lockdowns. Two and a half years on, the soon-to-be-redeveloped concrete cavern of the Press Halls: Live Stage at Printworks London gave the piece a new feel, with a different approach to mixing the sound.
The LSO’s technical team is very familiar with the Yamaha RIVAGE PM series, having used a RIVAGE PM10 for its streamed concerts during the Covid-19 lockdowns and investing in a RIVAGE PM3 for its education, rehearsal and recording space at LSO St Luke’s.
Provided by Richard Nowell Sound Services, RIVAGE PM10 systems for White Juju were manned by the LSO’s Pete Mycroft (FoH1) and Jack Jordan (monitors), with freelance engineer Simon Hendry (FoH2) operating a RIVAGE PM5. LSO Producer Tim Davy was in overall charge of the technical production, with Yamaha applications engineer Tom Rundle on hand to offer any assistance, as required.
All three mixing surfaces shared the same RPio series I/O rack, supplied by Subfrantic, on a shared TWINLANe loop. A parallel Dante network took care of console-to-console audio for orchestral stems and production comms integration. Simon submixed 58 channels of inputs from the orchestra, delivering the individual orchestra sections as stems to the main FoH console. Here Pete added band instruments, playback and Soweto Kinch’s vocals and saxophone, routing the final mix to six hangs of line array, installed as a distributed house system.
Meanwhile, on a mezzanine floor above the orchestra, Jack took feeds from the Dante network and delivered personalised monitor mixes to discreetly-placed wedges and in-ears for the orchestra, band musicians and Kinch.
With soundbites, spoken word and rap complementing a range of musical styles, the Yamaha RIVAGE PM systems helped the standing audience to appreciate the full impact of White Juju’s unique social commentary, subverting the expected norms of classical music in a truly immersive experience.