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'The Pineapple Project', Commissioned by Bristol Beacon (formerly Colston Hall) & Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. First performed at Colston Hall in Bristol in November 2018


Image Credit: Barbara Evripidou

The Pineapple Orchestra consists of 9 bow-activated string instruments. When each instrument is played a fresh pineapple top spins and its leaves pluck the strings to create sound. 

The pineapple instruments are playable by all regardless of musical background. They layout a blank canvas whereby everyone can come and enjoy a musical journey without any set rules or techniques.

The project draws a parallel with the dark colonial history of the pineapple alongside a more positive contemporary view of the fruit, to explore how we can create inclusive narratives about today’s society, whilst acknowledging the past. 

In November 2018 The Pineapple Project brought people from all over Bristol together to play the instruments. The 16 piece community orchestra co-created music with a composer over a 2 month period. This culminated in a performance at Colston Hall. Some of the players had never played an instrument before.

Colston Hall was going through a contentious name change, by disassociating themselves from Edward Colston. Although Colston did great things for the city, he was a noted slave trader. The instruments intended to form a playful and disarming entry point into discussions around this matter and about inclusion in our current society in general





'Bristol's slavery past has never before been confronted quite like this', Music Review Bristol 24/7, by Martin Booth, November 22nd, 2018

‘Meeting instrument inventors challenging traditions and shifting boundaries’ ‘The Prototype’ BBC Radio 4,
Presented by Hannah Catherine Jones & Produced by Eliza Lomas, May 2019


For full performance please:


Each instrument is made with wood, a gourd, strings, & a pineapple top.

Smallest Instrument: 60cm x 20cm x18.5cm

Largest Instrument: 118cm x 33cm x 28cm



DESIGNER: Elena Blanco

COMPOSER: Rowan Bishop

PLAYERS: Susan Scarborough, Liam Joseph Beckles, Rob Boardman, Jan Davies, Grace Ekall, Ruth Fehilly, Andrew Fudge, Adam Hedley, Cassandra Imandy, Alain Rouamba, Rowan Shaw, Richard Stockley, Martin Urmson, Steve Watson, Mamadou Keita

LUTHIERS: Adolfo Cabrera, German Arguello, Santiago Auquilla & Cesar Arteaga




With special thanks to Shashank Satish who sparked the idea for this project when I saw him spin a pineapple top in India.

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