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A giant robotic musical bird named Buzzbeak will be entertaining crowds at the Voe, Cunningsburgh and Walls Shows this August as part of Engine Tuning, Shetland’s contribution to Roofless: Scotland’s biggest, most ambitious outdoor arts programme.

Anyone visiting the three country shows is invited to get involved with the project by bringing along some of their favourite music (all formats accepted: CD, cassette, vinyl, mp3 or live vocal/instrumental performance if you bring your own instrument) and Buzzbeak will remix the music and play it back. Those who contribute a piece of music will also receive an exclusive thank you card and invitation to book a free ticket to a final celebratory event with Buzzbeak on Sunday 12 August.

All of Buzzbeak’s recordings collected at the country shows will be turned into a specially created piece of music by local musician Tirval Scott which will be performed at the final event.  The sounds of Shetland will then be played to the rest of Scotland as the condor visits Roofless events across the country.

Artist Sumit Sarkar, in collaboration with Duncan Turner of Carbon Lighting Ltd, created Buzzbeak from the parts of a LandRover Discovery. Sumit Sarkar said: “The idea for Buzzbeak was inspired by Transformers lore, most notably the characters Soundwave and Buzzsaw, who transformed from a tape player and cassette to a robot and condor, and were my first ever Transformer toys way back in 1984.  For Engine Tuning I have reinvented the Transformers mythology to a positive, musical and cosmic rhetoric, and am very excited about premiering the robot in Shetland.”

Shetland Arts’ Visual Arts Development Officer Clair Aldington said: Shetland Arts is delighted to be working with UZ Arts and to be involved in a national project of this scale. We are particularly excited about the opportunities for local people to be involved both through being employed for elements of the project and through bringing items of music to Buzzbeak at the country shows.”

Shetland is one of five areas of the country selected to take part in Roofless, a project created and produced by Scottish events company UZ Arts. In its first year, Roofless aims to involve tens of thousands of Scots in free public arts events, setting up collaborations between professional artists and local communities to create a series of large-scale, spectacular experiences in places where you might not expect them.

All of these events will be brought about by the community working with Roofless artists in some way, and Shetland artists will benefit from the interconnected artist network Roofless will establish across the country. The other participating areas are Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and Falkirk.


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