Throughout August, participants at our allotment in Todmorden took part in a sound recording project, facilitated by local musician and sound artist James Mabbett. The project was commissioned by South Pennines Park, as part of their work this summer to engage communities in creative activities that help connect them with our local environment.
James brought sound recording equipment to the allotment and engaged the group in an experimental experience, encouraging participants to explore the sounds around them, and collect recordings of these found sounds.
"I provide participants means to explore, and to make discoveries independently. On this occasion, I provided handheld digital recorders and headphones, the intention being the group look for, and record sounds that best represented their place"
James then produced a sound composition created from the sounds recorded by the group, weaving in music and a piece of original poetry written by one of the participants. The final composition, 'A Fulfilling Day With Little Disturbance', presents a totally unique sensory experience of our beloved allotment, providing a sound-capsule of this specific place and the experiences of those who know it.
"They were hearing things within the spaces that they had not heard before. I like the idea of making people stop and listen for a while. The Todmorden group described it as quite a mindful process, because we are really focussing in on this noise."
You can listen to the final piece here:
And you can watch a short film about the project below, produced by Studio Bokehgo.
Here you can read Lou's beautiful piece of writing, inspired by nature and included in the final sound composition:
After we said goodbye, I heeded my strong need to be in nature for most of the day and to be near water, so took myself for a totally absorbing and invigorating walk around Hollingworth lake in the wind and rain, where I watched and later wrote these words;
'Birds Of The Lake'
A single lapwing in her little island world,
pecking curious about her old fledged nest,
on which she sat, only two months ago patiently waiting a seemed eternity - her young have all since flown and left their home and her alone.
Another bird in far distance struts the edge of a shallow mainland,
and a nonchalant distraction now separates the pair as their instinct to breed has played out for another year.
Tall herons stalk long, crane - like, stretched then bent legs, stepping out in jagged interrupted strides - huge, hunched birds deserving of respect, their genetic Egyptian ancestry embedded in ancient mud.
Several relaxed moorhens,
lazily meander about with no particular intent,
drunk in charge of the water's edge
pied wagtails jauntily flicking long black tails up and down, longer than their body's measure,
pecking for short bursts before take-off for another flight.
Africa on their minds!
House martins swoop and soar across the lake to hunt for tiny midges - cutting their wings scissor close just above the water mark - hypnotised and hypnotic in their joyous rapture - a wayward community of free spirits!
An eight chick still fluffy clutch of this year's ducks,
huggle up together to preserve their body heat through searing wind and rain,
their barely larger mum in sentry stance, just observes from nearby.
A single white, graceful swan glides uninterrupted with her now almost fully grown,
but still grey cygnet, following close in her choppy silver slipstream tide.
A fulfilling day, at one, and almost alone - with nature….
- Lou Pendlebury