Band on the Wall is delighted to announce the launch of the official We Face Forward iPad app – available for free on the App Store now, the We Face Forward app is an immersive multimedia tool designed to entertain and educate iPad users in West African art and music, both at home and in the classroom.
The We Face Forward app is the result of the hugely successful We Face Forward season of West African art and music that took place across multiple music venues, galleries and museums in Manchester from June to September 2012. To maintain the legacy of such a hugely important series of cultural events, the app was developed – partly as an archive project to preserve live recordings from the concerts as well as interviews with artists (all available for free, without advertisements within the app) and partly to serve as a reference tool celebrating the unique links between West African art and music, with biographic information, facinating articles, photographs andmore contained within the app.
The app features a number of live video recordings and interviews taken at Manchester’s world famous Band on the Wall, The Royal Northern College of Music, The Bridgewater Hall and more, including:
• Angelique Kidjo
• Jaliba Kuyateh
• Kanda Bongo Man
• Seckou Keita
The long-term goals of the app stretch far beyond simply preserving content from the festival – The app has been created specifically so it can be expanded upon and developed further going into the future, and the vision is to create a resource that is seen to be the definitive and essential guide to not just West African art and music but more and art as a whole. The app has been designed from the ground up to be flexible and easily updated with new content, which opens up the possibilities to expand the resource with almost unlimited new media.
Ben Holden, director of digital agency Cahoona, who helped create the app, said:
“Cahoona were thrilled to work on the We Face Forward iPad app. The festival has been a wonderful success and the rich diversity of West African culture and it’s musical heritage is perfectly captured through the rich media contained within.”
For iOS developer Sam Easterby-Smith, who oversaw the production of the app, it was a great opportunity to innovate and take advantage of the latest technologies:
“All the graphics in the app was optimised to take full advantage of the Retina Display featured on the latest iPad. We also did a lot of work on the video streaming – the app not only plays seamlessly on Wifi and 3G connections but for the big screen experience supports AirPlay and the AppleTV. Meanwhile, under the hood the app uses a new kind of database which (among other things) gives Band on the Wall the ability to live-update the content on everyone’s iPads.”
Band on the Wall’s CEO Gavin Sharp sees the app as a great opportunity to expand people’s knowledge of international art and music:
“Its always been part of Band on the Wall’s charitable mission to expand understanding and knowledge of cultures from across the world thorough the medium of music. This app helps to contextualise the cultures from which this great music has come from and we are immensely proud to have partnered with Manchester Museums and Galleries to produce such an amazing digital resource.”
The We Face Forward iPad app has been developed thanks to the support of Band on the Wall, The Space, Rough Guides, Arts Council England, Manchester Art Gallery, The Manchester Museum, Soundthread, Cahoona & Spotlight Kid.