A small vocal workshop

As discussed in other posts my intention was to include vocals as part of this creative project. As well as the sound walk (see January 20 post) I also invited several people to a small workshop.  This took place one February evening at Magic City café, Todmorden.  It was an opportunity to share the draft audio-visual piece (without vocals) and for us to collectively workshop ideas for vocal parts.

Vocal workshop participants, Magic City cafe, Todmorden

I found the workshop a particularly enriching experience for the project and it demonstrated to me how art can facilitate connectedness to nature.  Unexpectedly, on sharing the draft audio-visual material there was consensus from the group that it would work best as a stand-alone piece and did not need any vocal parts adding!   We carried on with the workshop though and what resulted was a great discussion about our local environment, with people sharing their personal experiences and thoughts about the moorland habitat.  Afterwards people passed on their own recommendations for relevant books, music and radio programmes they had come across – the rewilding conversation continued.

In retrospect I wonder whether it would have worked better to include vocalists right from the start of the project as co-collaborators, rather than present the near final version of the audio-visual material for vocal addition ‘on top’.  Also, I feel some sections of the piece lend themselves more easily to inclusion of vocal sounds than others. I can imagine human drone or wind-like sounds or even spoken word could work well in sections with static, rustling, wind, and mechanical drones, but that it would be more challenging to successfully integrate vocals into sections which already contain a lot of pitched material and noises from creatures, such as sections rich with bird song.

One idea which resulted from the workshop and would be good to pursue as a future project was the creation of a suite of small ‘rewilding’ pieces for vocals and fixed media – each focussing one aspect of the landscape (e.g. pylons). 

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