BirdLife Likes Rock Music!
Last night British Sea Power - a band nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize for the best album from the United Kingdom or Ireland – enthralled fans by playing a unique composition inspired by migratory birds at the British Film Institute (BFI), London. “BirdLife are delighted that British Sea Power are supporting our Born to Travel campaign”, said Ade Long - BirdLife’s head of Communications - as he introduced the band on stage.
British Sea Power are an indie rock band based in Brighton (UK) who draw a lot of musical inspiration from wild nature – live performances often involve their stages being adorned with plastic birds and plants. On their most recent album - Do You Like Rock Music? - there is a track called ‘The Great Skua’ which pays homage to the large aggressive migratory seabird which deliberately harasses birds to steal a free meal.
“We love birds”, explained Martin Noble – the bands lead guitarist. “Seeing Swallows and Cuckoos returning each year from their mammoth journeys is a real highlight for us”.
“I can think of no better way to celebrate the wonder of bird migration…” —Ade Long, BirdLife’s head of Communications
At the BFI event, the band played an evocative half hour composition to the moving images from Galatée Films ‘Les ailes de la nature [Nature’s Wing]’ – a 2002 film following the southerly flights of migratory birds to their non-breeding grounds. The film formed part of their Winged Migration [Le Peuple Migrateur] epic which was nominated in 2002 for Academy Award for Best Documentary.
“Migratory birds have inspired artists throughout history”, commented Ade Long. “I can think of no better way to celebrate the miracle of bird migration than combining the powerful music of British Sea Power with the beautiful footage of Galatée films”.
Many bird species which make their biannual journeys between Europe and Africa are declining. “Because migratory birds cross so many borders each year, only international action can help to save their declining populations”, said Martin Noble at BFI event.
“We’re delighted to support BirdLife’s Born to Travel campaign” —Martin Noble, British Sea Power lead guitarist
The BirdLife Partnership is best placed to take action. We have Partners in more than 70 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and are working together to raise awareness of about migratory birds, and implement joined-up conservation projects.
“We’re delighted to support BirdLife’s Born to Travel campaign which is promoting migratory bird conservation”, said Martin Noble.
At the BFI event, British Sea Power also played their new soundtrack to the documentary film ‘Man of Aran’. The 1934 film shows the life of people living on Ireland’s Aran Islands, and details their daily routines such as fishing off high cliffs, farming potatoes where there is little soil, and hunting for Basking Sharks. “We’ve used music inspired by birds - like The Great Skua - in the Man or Aran soundtrack”, noted Martin Noble.
British Sea Power isn’t the only band to be into birds. "I've seen White-tailed Eagles off the Isle of Mull," said Elbow frontman Guy Garvey who won the 2008 Mercury Prize, and stated that he would probably spend the prize money on a pair of image stabilising binoculars. Other famous musicians from the rock world with a keen interest in birds include: Edwyn Collins, the Beautiful South's Paul Heaton; Bill Drummond of the KLF, Jimi Goodwin of Doves, and Fyfe Dangerfield of The Guillemots. This summer, Guy Garvey and Martin Noble are set to make a birding radio documentary with DJ Marc Riley, provisionally titled ‘In Search of the Holy Quail’.
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