Mystery Roman figure to inspire new music

This tiny and mysterious figure of a Roman household god could be the inspiration for an important piece of new music – for museums.

Called a “Lar” and barely four inches tall, the 3rd century AD bronze figure is the subject of a call out from the Kent Medway Museums National Portfolio Partnership (KMM NPO) for musicians to build sound pieces around it. Each commission is worth £1,000.

The sound pieces will then be added permanently to the collections and used to encourage audiences to question the importance of artefacts, and in the search for ten successful commissions the KMM NPO (The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Canterbury Museums & Galleries, Guildhall Museum Rochester and Tunbridge Wells Museum & Gallery, funded as a group by Arts Council England to deliver new interpretations of collections) is seeking proposals from musicians, song writers, sound artists, poets, and those working with sound to create new audio artworks, Ten Songs for a Lar).

“Without the need for images, physical presence, and perhaps even words, we want to know: ‘what does this object say to you, and what stories do you wish to give voice to, and bring to life, through music and sound?’” says the KMM NPO appeal to audial artists. They have until noon on June 15 to submit proposals.

Lares are quite rare and are now thought to represent a household god related to Vesta, the goddess of domestic life, that adorned the dining tables of Roman homes as a blessing to those present. Originally believed to depict Cupid, the Guildhall Museum Lar was found in 1888 near Quarry House at Frindsbury, Rochester, in 1888, and has been in the museum in Rochester since then. “Museums do not just collect, care and exhibit objects; they categorise, contextualise and interpret objects to fulfil their own, and their intended audiences, requirements” the KMM NPO appeal says. “The many stories behind these often human made objects, and the emotive connections they intend to make, can therefore become difficult to obtain”. 

Ten Songs for Lar will be made into a vinyl record for each of the museum partners, but also promoted as an album and used in touring exhibitions. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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