How to use this site

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:

 Play / Stop – this button will start or stop playing a sample.
 Volume – allows you to change the volume of the selected sample
pan left/right
 Panning – allows you to change the stereo position of the sample from left to right.


About the samples

The sounds fall into several different categories

musical recordings
Musical recordings – recordings of musical performances made in the area
field recordings
Field recordings – recordings of ambient noise - market shouts, passing trucks et cetera
spoken word interviews
Spoken word – interviews with local inhabitants, discussing their experiences of the area
Victor Gama's folk songs
Victor Gama’s Folk Songs – excerpts from musical performances specially created by celebrated musician Victor Gama. The full performances can be downloaded here

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 and

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.


Saving mixes

  1. Click the save button at the bottom right of the screen. (Shown below)
  2. Enter your email address and give your mix a name when prompted (By giving us your email address we can send a copy of your saved presets to your email address. We will not give your email address to anyone else.)
  3. Click the save button to confirm.
  4. You must read through our Terms and Conditions and click 'agree' to finish.
  5. You can view your presets and those created by others here


Submitting samples and mixes

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.


The Folk Songs Project

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