Today, London - A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
A musical Extinction Rebellion in collaboration with ‘Sam Lee’s Singing with Nightingales’ & The Nest Collective
Today 6pm - 9pm Monday 29 April, Berkeley Square, London
Poets, musicians and nature lovers will join together to perform the most romantic rebellion.
Using the wonders of technology, Extinction Rebellion and The Nest Collective will rewild Berkeley Square from 6pm today (Monday 29 April) with the song it is most famous for. Through synchronised streaming of the Nightingale’s mesmeric yet seldom heard courtship song via mobile phones and mobile speakers, our pop-up action will fill the park and surrounding streets with the song of a creature nearing extinction on this island.
The birdsong will be accompanied by offerings from musicians, singers, poets and anyone who wants to collaborate with the finest singer in the world.
In the midst of the heightened attention to the ecological and climate emergency we want to bring people together in celebration of the musical beauty of the natural world. This central London rewilding action aims to bring poetic focus to the shocking demise of our own native species and give Londoners the opportunity to hear a once ubiquitous songbird, now near extinct in the UK, in its mythic notional home.#
Written in 1939, this renowned ballad tells of the impossible moment when a now critically endangered nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) sings in Mayfair’s famous garden square. Nightingales have not been heard in Central London, let alone Mayfair, for several hundred years. However, through the magical power of people and technology this Monday 29 April, Extinction Rebellion, Sam Lee, The Nest Collective and a pop-up flash mob of nature enthusiasts, musicians and supporters will gather to rewild nightingale song back into Berkeley Square. We invite the public to use their 3G connected smartphone device or tablet and a mobile bluetooth / wired speaker to stream the birdsong to be amplified in a sonic rewilding of the square.
Every Spring for the last five years, folk singer and nature conservationist Sam Lee has been running intimate ‘Singing With Nightingales’ concerts in the woods of Sussex, Kent, Essex and Gloucestershire, bringing audiences into ‘ear tinglingly close proximity’ to wild birds while in their season of renowned courtship song. Musicians and singers collaborate with the bird in a sublime duet as the finale of a woodland/campfire experience with conservation awareness at its heart. The event began as an homage to the BBCs pioneering first ever live broadcast in 1924, with Beatrice Harrison famously dueting on cello with a nightingale. Nearly 100 years later, Sam continues that tradition with contemporary players.
The Nest Collective will broadcast nightingale song to Berkeley Square at 6pm on Monday 29 April. Attendees will be invited to stream and play the song through their mobile phones via a dedicated url. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments, cellists especially, to make music with this natural improviser. We also encourage poetry and prose celebrating the natural wonders of our land. All musicians should play unamplified - only the birdsong will be amplified.
This intervention is happening just after the end of Extinction Rebellion’s blockade of a number of high profile locations in London, and will be a peaceful sit down affair.
6pm Gather in Berkeley Sq at appointed location for a first centralised hour of songs and music with XR’s mobile sound system. We will also be playing the RSPBs ‘Let Nature Sing’ single, released on the 26 April. This composition is made of pure red-list endangered bird song and is aiming for that weeks chart as a first ever ‘Getting Nature To #1’
6.50pm Communal sing along of ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Sq’ & teaching of ‘Bon Soir’ - short French round about the nightingale.
7pm Audience members will disperse across the Sq and surrounding street in groups to stream their live feeds through mobile phone speakers, rewilding the entire site with birdsong. The Nightingale song can be streamed from this webpage www.thenestcollective.co.uk/nightingale. Musicians, bards and poets will pollinate these mini gatherings to share their music. Groups can also recite their own writings or choose from the selection of suggested nature based prose listed on the web link.
9pm Suggested time for carriages back to our nests
What to bring
Your picnics, blankets, cushions, fully charged mobile phones, laptops, tablets, battery packs, speakers and minirigs, umbrellas, sunglasses, banners, warm clothes, water bottles & drinks, songs and poems to share, candles an open heart and your listening ears.
Facebook event - https://www.facebook.com/events/1024819781041423/
About Nest Collective
The Nest Collective, BBC Folk Club of 2010, is an acoustic folk club pushing the musical boundaries within the promotion of folk, world and traditional music. Formed in 2006 by Mercury nominated singer Sam Lee, it hosts a multitude of show types hosting emerging and established artists alike. Our concerts navigate our diverse listenership towards music that both pushes boundaries alongside music that has resisted change staying true to an ancient way. The Nest prides itself on bringing together these ‘from the source’ inspired artists, as well as radically minded British and worldwide creatives, to meet audiences thirsting for the rare and rooted, and a music industry keen to see what’s next to come or simply ‘hasn’t disappeared’
The last 10 years have seen an incredible tidal change in appreciation of Folk Music as an art form now accepted on the cultural main stage. The Nest Collective (formally the Magpie’s Nest) from very humble beginnings has charted this resurgence in a unique way seeking the unusual, the overlooked and often the very best in New Folk, Old Folk and No Folk.
Our events fall under many spokes of the Nest Collective Umbrella hosting within many themes be they dance and ceilidh events, Shanty singing sessions, unamplified round the fire concerts or more classic under a roof type affairs. check out our ‘Regular Shows’ slider on our homepage for all the different themes.
The club has become a barometer of this current revival working on both a community level with regular intimate shows to programming large events in many of the major London venues including the Southbank Center, The Roundhouse, The Foundling Museum, Kings Place, Modern Art Oxford, The Royal Academy of Arts, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern & Britain, National Maritime Museum, London Museum and Cecil Sharp House. We curate annual stages at many major UK festivals including Shambala, Cambridge Folk Festival, Festival No6, Port Elliot, How The Light Gets In, The Vault Festival and Land of Kings.
We also program music industry events from showcase nights to seminars aimed at professionalising folk musicians. We host a weekly radio show, The Nest Collective Hour on London’s Resonance 104.4FM and DAB station and manage our own in house ceilidh band The Ceilidh Liberation Front who are brilliant at helping us cope with the amount of ‘stuff’ we somehow manage to get ourselves into.
About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.