Music break: Bird song has never sounded like this

To augment our recently-proclaimed enthusiasm for sharing bird-sightings, we add this celebration of bird song from British musician (and former guest at the Squamish Constellation Music Festival), Cosmo Sheldrake.

“I’ve been making a series of pieces of music out of field recordings I’ve been making of British birds, in particular endangered British birds, to highlight some of the beauty we’re losing in an often-unconscious way. One of the aims of my music is to make it feel like it’s emerging from the natural ambient birdsong background. And in some senses, there’s a romantic idea, at least in my mind, if you play sounds of endangered species, hopefully it will encourage them to come back…

One part of the process for me is once I make a piece, it’s nice to then take it out and perform it back into the woods, or the place I recorded those sounds in the first place, or a place the likes of which it might have originated from. Go back to the spot and play the piece back. I’ve always liked the idea of performing not just for people, but also for places and environments.

I’ve always loved this image of when the sun rises, the birds sing. The sun travels, so the dawn is constantly wrapping the Earth and bathing it in birdsong, in dawn chorus and evening chorus, so twice a day, there’s this constant sonic bathing process going right the way round the world at all times.

This “biophony” – or ecological soundscape – is worth tuning into, says US musician and soundscape ecologist Dr Bernie Krause, because they convey a sense of place, speak to the health of a habitat, tell us how we’re doing in relationship to our environment AND can serve as analgesics in these unsettling and stressful times.

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