Two composers are trying to bring the mesmerising sounds of nature closer to city dwellers by recording the sounds of wild geese in a remote corner of Scotland. They plan to take the music to a wider audience through the medium of jazz.
The music, inspired by the sound of tens of thousands of wild geese preparing to migrate from Islay to their arctic breeding grounds, will be premiered at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival in August.
AdvertisementJazz composers and musicians Stu Brown, 34, from Glasgow and New York-based John Hollenbeck travelled to Islay in the Southern Hebrides to listen to the geese and other birds before they decided on creating a jazz suite.
"Just walking around the island didn't prepare us for the tremendously evocative noise of the geese we heard when we were sitting in the RSPB reserve at Loch Gruinart in the north of Islay," The Scotsman quoted Brown, as describing their week on the island in March this year.
He went on: "When we were in the hide and the sky was becoming darker there was a background babble of geese, but then suddenly more and more began descending.
"One goose on its own doesn't make a song but the combined sound of thousands of them makes this polyrythmic sound of several different things happening at the one time with related tempos starting simultaneously. This would then quieten down into a background sound and we started to hear the sounds of other birds such as lapwings. The lapwings had an almost electronic sound - a mixture of a radio set being tuned in and an 80s video game being played."
Brown added: "People told us you become so used to the constant sound of the geese then you wake up one morning and realise there is a silence across the island.
"They said the silence is almost more overwhelming than the sound."
Some of the other birds which may feature in the jazz suite are rooks, choughs, oyster catchers and the island's only egret.
The musicians have also used the sounds from the Bruichladdich whisky distillery for their composition.
"We hope this project will have a lasting influence on audiences," Fiona Alexander, the festival's producer, said.
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