Different Trains 1947

As part of the 2017 UK/India Year of Culture, Actress (Ninja Tune), Sandunes, Jack Barnett (These New Puritans), percussionist Jivraj Singh and vocalist Priya Purushothaman came together to deliver a series of audiovisual events titled Different Trains 1947 culminating in a performance at Magnetic Fields festival on the edge of the desert in Rajasthan. Watch the performance below, presented by Metal, captured by Boiler Room and with the British Council as the project's Digital Partner.


Different Trains 1947 at Magnetic Fields, Rajasthan


Developing Different Trains 1947

Musical inspiration for Different Trains 1947 comes from Steve Reich's seminal 1980s composition “Different Trains”, one of the first pieces outside mainstream music to use sampling. The piece was constructed by Reich using pre-recorded conversations with several people talking about train journeys in the United States. He also collected train sounds from the 30s and 40s, and weaved these fragments together with a live string quartet.

Different Trains 1947 looks to India and the stories of those who lived through the events of that year and the division of British India into India and Pakistan. The music is accompanied by new visual work from award winning film-makers, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth), featuring material from the BFI National Archive’s unparalleled collection of rare films of pre-Independence India which have survived from the earliest days of cinema. In September 2017, Different Trains 1947 was performed at London's Barbican Centre before transferring to Rajasthan later in the year.

Watch as Actress and Jack Barnett undertake their initial research trip to India for the project, speaking to musicians and collecting sounds that would inspire them to create the music heard in the final performances.


Different Trains 1947 is presented by Metal, in partnership with Warp Records, Barbican Centre, and Boiler Room, plus Indian partners Wild City and What About Art?

Different Trains 1947 is funded by Arts Council England's Reimagine India fund, with British Council as Digital Partner, plus additional support from PRS Foundation, Northern Rail, BFI National Archive and Film Hub North West Central - proud to be a member of the BFI Film Audience Network.