Singing as slowly as a bird

One of 2015’s Brighton Festival treasures was Marcus Coate’s Dawn Chorus at Fabrica.

Imagine 14 humans, each in its ‘natural habitat’ (taxi, bath-tub, kitchen), sounding (and looking) like Northumbrian birds. The sound is all human, the speed is all bird:

Here’s how the artist, Marcus Coates, turned birdsong into human sound and back again:

Which just goes to show what a difference speed can make to sound when you sing.

By the way – I was just editing a post on Amy Winehouse’s song You Know I’m no Good. Amy’s song came out in 2007, which is the year Marcus Coates’ made his Dawn Chorus.  Watching his video gives you an idea of how the rest of Britain looked and lived, as Amy Winehouse became famous on the radio.

© Sing Better English, 2015


5 thoughts on “Singing as slowly as a bird”

    1. A pleasure, Aileen. Keep a look out for Marcus Coates’ Dawn Chorus in case it comes your way – I think the installation was in Aberystwyth in 2012, so it’s making the rounds.

      You gain a new appreciation of the energy small birds have to invest in every single rush of song!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very odd feeling to see humans looking and sounding just like birds. The exhibition in Brighton is inside an unconsecrated Dissenter chapel and has screens hung from the vault. Each screen has a human in their chosen ‘natural habitat’ – one is an old lady lying in bed, with her husband asleep next to her, another is a doctor sitting in his clinic, another is a woman sitting in front of a backstage dressing-room mirror. They are completely still when they’re not singing. Like birds on a branch. And completely, powerfully in movement when they sing.

      If you didn’t know what the project involved, you’d think it was humans miming to a recorded track of birdsong.

      It makes you look at birds differently!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, how I wish I were in Brighton so I could see this exhibit, Elaine! Though your description is so evocative, I feel I almost *have* seen it. You’re so right that it makes you look at birds differently … and it beautifully illustrates that we have much more in common with our fellow Earth inhabitants than meets the eye. I just can’t get over how marvelously ingenious it is! Thank you again for making my world a bit bigger and more interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

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