City Zone

Over the coming months we'll be updating this page with details of the stops along the City Zone line; information about the groups creating the tracks for each stop, interesting facts,  media and snippets of information as the project progresses. Be sure to check back on Monday 17 July, when we will be uploading recordings of each full track. 

Deansgate-Castlefield | St Peter's Square | Piccadilly Gardens | Piccadilly | Market Street | Shudehill | Victoria | Exchange Square

Deansgate-Castlefield - The Bridgewater Hall Singers

Lunchtime singing group, the Bridgewater Hall Singers. Find your voice in a fun, informal environment where everybody is welcome – with no auditions, no prior expectations, and no need to read music. Fortnightly singing sessions take place on Wednesday lunchtimes at The Bridgewater Hall. Led by Simply Singing, the group will learn songs from jazz and blues, to barbershop, soul and choral works. Throughout the year, there’ll be opportunities to perform, link up with other choirs and take part in events at The Bridgewater Hall – or just to join in and sing for pleasure in your lunch break or on a trip into town.

About the track

We’re off for a good night out! explores many different aspects of the city of Manchester from its history to its nightlife.  With so many members of the choir spread across the whole Greater Manchester area we wanted to capture the idea of a journey back and forth on the tram, as well as capture the history of the mills, the tram, and the beautiful Deansgate-Castlefield stop and its environs.  

St Peter's Square - Brighter Sound’s Found Sounds

This song by Mxwll is the product of Brighter Sound's Found Sounds project. The music was created during a week at Manchester Central Library writing music inspired by the sights and surroundings of the St Peter's area - and delving into audio files from Archives +. The composition itself used a musique concrete approach, selecting sounds from field recordings and the audio archives and manipulating them into new instruments. The ‘whirl’ of the rails is constant throughout the tune, a vocal sample of people discussing feminism is chopped up and re-arranged rhythmically, and the sound of machinery looped to a matter of milliseconds and re-pitched which was used for the arpeggiated organ sound. Mxwll is a producer from Manchester.  His music is made using found sounds and granular synthesis, supported by analogue synth engines and drum samples.  Think James Blake meets Bon Iver meets Caribou.

Piccadilly Gardens - Commission by Loz Kaye and  Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus

Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus (MLGC) is one of the UK's largest LGBT+ choirs with more than 80 members. MLGC exists to give people in and around Greater Manchester who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or another minority sexual or gender identity the opportunity to make music in a friendly, safe environment. We also welcome those who identify themselves as allies of the LGBT+ community.

Piccadilly - Streetwise Opera

Streetwise Opera is an award-winning charity that uses music to help people make positive changes in their lives. Working with people who have experienced homelessness and other members of the community, Streetwise run workshop programmes across England and stage critically-acclaimed operas.

Their productions platform the skills of our performers in a professional arena, showing that whatever life throws at them, they can achieve great things. Underpinning these, the workshop programme offers a dependable source of creativity in lives where everything else can be changing.

About the track

The verses for Streetwise Opera’s song focus on different aspects of Manchester Piccadilly; the people that use the tram, the physical nature of the station and the sounds of the Metrolink. The performers were also very keen to represent the diversity of the population who use the tram in the Chorus. 

Market Street - Public songwriting session

Members of the public and a Bridgewater Hall staff member joined up to create this song. They shared memories of the Market Street stop and the street itself. Using these memories and an interest in words and double meaning they created a folk-style song which tells the story of all those that come to work, play and live on Market Street throughout the day and night.

Shudehill - Sing City project (Brighter Sound)

The Sing City group are Brighter Sound's collective of young songwriters who meet every Wednesday to experiment, collaborate and create new music.

About the track

This track is written about the historic and very well known Manchester landmark, Shudehill.  From thinking about Shudehill as a central hub to enable travel both within the city and to other places far and wide, they developed this concept into the song which is based on taking a one way trip onto bigger, better things - and making that a personal journey

Victoria by Gemma Ashcroft, Sarah Atter, Eve Harrison and Aidan Jolly

Tram Tracks used a team of practitioners who worked with community groups, schools, choirs and members of the public involved in the project. Four of the practitioners came together to write the music for Victoria station based on group improvisations; Eve Harrison (trumpet), Sarah Atter (flute), Aidan Jolly (guitar and electronics) and Gemma Ashcroft (double bass).

About the track 

The piece is designed to represent the quiet of the early morning before boarding the tram and travelling to the busy transport hub and interchange at Victoria station. The piece begins quietly with drone-like backing and interweaving lines by the performers. Rhythmic movement builds alongside distant siren calls on the trumpet. The guitar then introduces a riff based on the rhythm of ‘Eccles’. The other three performers move through a series of rhythmic cells devised from the names of each of the tram stops at the end of the line: Eccles, Manchester Airport, Altrincham, Bury, East Didsbury, Rochdale Town Centre and Ashton-under-Lyne. Based on Terry Riley’s minimalist piece ‘In C’ performers move through the rhythms at their own rate, but trying to stay within two phrases of each other. The music increases in dynamic and rhythmic drive towards the end as everyone reaches Victoria.


Exchange Square - Songlines (Royal Exchange Theatre / Manchester Camerata)

The group consists of young people (16 and under) who have ASD/Asperger’s Syndrome, and who have been involved in a Manchester Camerata & Royal Exchange Songlines project in recent years. This provided some experience in musical creativity and some participants have met one another before. 

Songlines is an opportunity for young people with ASD/Asperger’s Syndrome and their peers to come together and explore their creative side. The group have developed skills in music and team work in a friendly, supportive environment during the free song writing sessions and performed their newly created piece at The Bridgewater Hall on Sunday 9 July.

  • City Zone