In July 2017 The Van Abbemuseum Choir performed a song from the collection Muslim Songs of the British Isles in front of Echo Chamber. The group approached me while I was installing the mural and asked if there were any songs that I could recommend to them that might be arranged for a choral performance. The group move around the museum and perform songs that relate to certain artworks of exhibitions.
Anthem for the Prophet’s Birthday is set to a traditional Manx melody, but with words written by Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam and is part of a little-known but important part of the history of British Islam. William Henry Quilliam, who changed his name to Abdullah Quilliam and later Henri Marcel Leon or Haroun Mustapha Leon, was a 19th-century convert from Christianity to Islam, noted for founding England’s first mosque and Islamic centre.
I felt that revisiting this marriage of Muslim lyrics with traditional English music would provide an apt parallel to Echo Chamber, a work about broadcast and silence, but also about conversion to Islam within British Society.