Northern Flyway is the brainchild of Jenny Sturgeon (Salt House, Jenny Sturgeon Trio) and Inge Thomson (Karine Polwart Trio, Da Fishing Hands). In 2017 they wrote and created Northern Flyway – an audio-visual production exploring the ecology, folklore, symbolism and mythology of birds and birdsong, which to date has been performed only in Scotland. Now they are on the road for a tour around the UK for September with a stop off at Didcot.
Joining Jenny (harmonium, vocals) and Inge (accordion, electronics, flute, vocals) are Sarah Hayes (flute, keys, vocals) and Jason Singh (electronics, mimesis). Now this is not your usual show as it mixes visuals, with elements of folk, progressive and with Jason Singh’s input some intriguing and at times, other worldly vocal effects.
It may not sound the most inviting prospects for some to hear birdsong, along with pre-recorded narrative about various bird species, yet it works brilliantly.
Highlights? Hard to choose with such an immersive show however the jaunty folk of ‘We Are The Morning’ and ‘Loch Carron Flame’ – this one has hints of Dead Can Dance – are personal favorites. The latter carries an import ant message as the habitat for the white-fronted geese that fly between Greenland and Argyll via Iceland are under threat.
Jenny, Inge and Sarah’s vocals harmonise wonderfully, whilst each adds there own instrumental skills as and when the music requires it. Jason meanwhile adds in beatbox, vocal effects and all manner of electronic wizardry to add progressive/electronica to the mix.
Northern Flyway can do for birdlife and wildlife what Public Service Broadcasting have done for space! If Northern Flyway appear nearby get along to see them, as an intriguing and enjoyable evening of music, sounds and visuals await.
Review by Jason Ritchie
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