Ten Songs for a Lar is a global sound-based (music, sound-art, spoken word, composition) commission project The Historic Dockyard Chatham are developing for the Kent-Medway Museum partnership. Their first work is by composer Austrian composer Stergin and Wigan poet Louise Fazackerley.

Image: © Simon Kelsey / www.praxisdesign.co.uk

The project is centred around Lares, something which is said to be one of 100 objects that made Kent.’ The Dockyard writes "The Guildhall Lar is a bronze figurine believed to date from around 200AD. It was found in 1888 near Quarry House, Frindsbury, UK. A Lar (or plural, Lares), including the one from The Guildhall Museum are particularly mysterious objects. They are rare archaeological finds in the UK. Lares are primarily household guardian deities from ancient Rome believed to observe, protect, and influence all that happens within the boundaries of their location (home). Statues of domestic Lares were placed at the table during family meals; their presence, cult, and blessing seem to have been required at all important family events." You can find out more about Lares in their blog post here. The Stergin & Louise Fazackerley track, 'Unwritten' is the first to be released and was recently launched via BBC Radio Kent Upload: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0805r6w ‘Unwritten’ is focused on a Lar silently observing everything that happened within a home. “If only this Lar could talk. What stories would it tell? Unwritten tells the story of a Roman woman and the thoughts she had while preparing dinner for the family. Listen here:

Speaking of the project, Louise told us: "I’d never heard of a lar before this project- it’s basically a representation of a small household god that ordinary people can ask for help. I found it interesting that no-one knew where the lar originated- it could have come from Coccium (a.k.a Wigan) and there must have been lars in the Wigan Roman households. I wrote the piece imagining a woman who doesn’t think much of her husband but if she decides to divorce him, under Roman law, she would have to leave the children with him. An interesting conundrum!"

Ten artists in total were commissioned for the project (Anil Sebastian; Ariel Chan; Cyanotape; Freddie Murphy & Chiara Lee; Iain Chambers; Lunatraktors; Donna McKevitt & Jan Noble; Quiet Boy; Stergin; Yeji Yeon.) The remaining 9 tracks will be released weekly. To find out more about the project and artists, click here. Here's a preview of the next track:

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