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Birdsong at Baylight 2024

Posted by More Music on 13 March 2024

Baylight 24 was a three-day, free, light art trail along the prom featuring light artworks from local, national and international artists.

Birdsong was one of these art works made by the More Music team. It explored the unique biodiversity of Morecambe Bay inviting these birds inside the historic Winter Gardens to fly around the ceiling through animations by Ash Murphy with a brand-new soundtrack.

The soundtrack, a mix of live and recorded music along with a voice over about how we look after the birds of the bay by The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery. A live band from More Music revisited a collection of songs about birds called Flights of Passage. The song cycle written 30 years ago by Boris Howarth and Pete Moser with newly added sounds of synthesisers classical guitar.

Birdsong started as an idea which grew out of a training session that the More Music team attended about carbon literacy. This made us realise that, as an organisation, we are unique in being within two minutes of an incredibly unique microclimate of sea-life and birds.

This led Music Leader Ash Murphy to consider that it would be interesting to look into the sky and see birds we regularly see on the beach but in a new environment. Then Baylight 2024, the light festival based in Morecambe, had a call out for artistic commissions, which gave an opportunity to develop this idea further. A light festival offers the opportunity to shine a light on new spaces and topics. This felt like the ideal opportunity to explore the breeds of birds living in and around our bay and why they are so unique.

This progressed onto workshops with The Bay: A Blueprint for recovery who regularly run workshops discussing the bay in many ways. We worked with them to make a bespoke soundtrack where we learn many things from how oyster catchers can live up to 40 years and herons are solitary birds. This then became the soundtrack to the show along with the live and recorded music.

The live music also became a real feature for the show as it was an original piece called Flights of Passage, written in 1995 by Pete Moser and Boris Howarth exploring the same subject. This provided an exciting opportunity to bring the songs new life with Howard Haigh (guitar) Anni Tracy (vocals) and Leroy Lupton (synthesizer).

The animations themselves were developed from drawings by hand to then multiplying to hundred of birds circling the roof of the Winter Gardens.

Using this wonderful space meant the piece became quite a contemplative space where some people sat for over 40 minutes to reflect and think. A moment to be in your own thoughts, providing a calm space in what can be a thrilling high energy festival.

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