Tuesday 28 April 2020

WATCH: Cosmo Sheldrake - 'Evening Chorus'

It was Earth Day a few days ago, and what better way to celebrate than with a brand new video from Cosmo Sheldrake. The video sees him playing some music (live from an ironing board, naturally) in a bluebell wood in Dorset, recording by Orban Wallace of Galavant Films, who he is luckily in lockdown with. Creative dream team! In the video, he's playing an improvisation using the song of endangered birds - a nightingale, a short eared owl, a tawny owl, a bittern and a cuckoo - at sunset, during the evening chorus. The combination is sublime and I am forever overwhelmed by his work. A true genius and musical magician.

As well as sharing this video, Cosmo also shared a collection of nightingale music, with two wake-up call tracks and a cover of a Tom Waits track, which he sang in the middle of the night next to a nightingale in a nature reserve. Sending out the tracks via email, Cosmo explained that it felt appropriate to release the tracks on Earth day, to "help shed light on the beauty of our natural soundscapes but also their fragility." Nightingales are a famously musical bird and the source of music music and literary adoration historically, but they're endangered, with their population falling in the UK by 93% in the last 50 years. He added that he "also thought it would be nice to share some bird song at a time that many people around the world may not have access to the outdoors or be able to hear bird song for a while."

If you have a spare three hours (or just a few minutes) I implore you to check out the Singing with Nightingales live stream event which took place a few evenings ago courtesy of Sam Lee and The Nest Collective. A bunch of artists joined Sam, via the internet, for live and pre-recorded songs and readings set to the live song of the nightingales, recorded from a wood in Sussex. Cosmo appeared alongside Nick MulveyJohnny FlynnIsobel Waller-BridgeChris Packham, and lots more. You can check the full video here, it's well worth a watch and a listen.

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