Folk Songs for the Five Points is a digital arts project that allows you to create your own “folk songs” by remixing and overlaying a range of sounds taken from New York’s Lower East Side.
The SoundMap features a visual representation of the Lower East Side, overlaid with a series of dots. Each dot represents an audio sample recorded at that particular place. To select a sample, click and drag one of circles over the chosen dot. The sample will then automatically start playing.
Underneath the map is a control panel – with controls to independently control up to 5 selected sounds. Each sound sample can be changed in three main ways:
The sounds fall into several different categories
The first three categories (Musical recordings, Field recordings and Spoken word) all document aspects of the Lower East Side today. But immigration is not a closed or finished process it is always changing. To reflect this, we have collaborated with Angolan / Portuguese artist Victor Gama. Through his interpretations of the Folk Songs idea, he acts as a new immigrant bringing his own musical and cultural ideas to the area. Learn more about Victor Gama and Pangeia Instrumentos at pangeiainstrumentos.org and pangeiart.org
You can find out more about each sample by double-clicking on it – text and imagery about the sound will appear on the right hand side of the screen.
This project is ongoing and open – please contact us if you are interested in submitting any field recordings or musical performances to be incorporated into the site.
We are also hosting remixes of these sounds by any musician who would like to be involved – you can download all the source files from the site here.
Folk Songs for the Five Points is the first phase of The Folk Songs Project, a transnational arts project celebrating cultural diversity and change in cities across the world.
We are always interested in hearing from potential collaborators or funders – please contact David at or learn more at folksongsproject.com.