Silence, listening, performing, responding to landscapes and dreams…
I have known the artist David Littler for quite a while, and worked with him on his Yan Tan Tethera combined arts project, Cecil Sharp House in London a few years ago. So when he got in contact about performing in a concert and collaborating on one of his new tracks in his new music project, Scotton Drive, I was very excited to be involved. David has been researching textiles and music for a long time, and more information about his practice can be found on his website http://davidlittler.tumblr.com/
As part of my recent research (DYCP) funded by Arts Council England I had been developing new work for cello and electronics, and wanted to try this new work out publicly. So the opportunity to perform my new piece Soliloquy along with David’s music seemed like a great opportunity.
I travelled up to Knaresborough and stayed on the now legendary Scotton Drive, to prepare. On Saturday 6th April we travelled from Scotton up with our soundman Mark Flood and Kendall, to Airton Friends Meeting House. Airton is a small village in North Yorkshire, and beautifully situated with views of the Yorkshire Dales. The beauty of the landscape is breath taking, interrupted intermittently by the sound of cyclists, sheep and birdsong. The gig was happening in the beautiful old barn, the performance space scattered with sheepskin rugs on pews and old white washed walls, creating a feeling of calm, peace and tranquillity.
The opportunity to take time out of everyday life and come to such an amazing place was very apparent and I really enjoyed exploring the village and finding new born lambs and hidden streams. The theme of the concert was about listening and solace, with music boxes featuring as David sampled them live to produce versions of traditional folk songs interspersed with vocals by the amazing Astrid and various kinds of guitar and resonator by her father Julian Walker. As the musicians sound-checked the birds sang, as accompanying the sounds. I was suddenly aware of how little time we take out of our busy lives to just be, reflect, sit, listen and be thankful for our lives.
With so much chaos and uncertainty about the future of our planet, we do sometimes need to enjoy our precious landscapes, and appreciate them in the moment.
Links to music performed on the night can be found on soundcloud: