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Dawn Chorus

Imagine that we have the chance to begin again. What kind of world would you want to wake up in?

As part of Linda France’s Writing the Climate residency, she and artist Christo Wallers are inviting contributions for a new collective sound poem, Dawn Chorus.

You can contribute now, in any language, until 2 August 2021.

Dawn Chorus trailer

Contribute to a new collective sound poem for the beginning of the world

Ornithologists believe that birds singing at dawn in springtime are staking a claim to their territory before they choose a mate.  They might simply be glad to have survived the long dark night.  The light is a signal to begin again so they can just be birds in the world.

Imagine we have the chance to begin again, to start over – like the birds waking up to a new dawn, singing their hearts out.  What sort of world do you want to wake up in?  How would you greet it?  What would your first words be?  How would you sing yourself and the world awake?

What words might best express your wonder at a chance of life and your dedication to the unfolding day?  You’re not singing ‘about’ the future – you’re already there – here – making it happen – in the present tense.

How to contribute to our collective sound poem

For this new collaborative audio project, you are invited to write, speak and record a few lines or a short verse and send it in to be considered for inclusion in our dawn chorus for the beginning of the world.

Choose one of these prompts to start your lines with:

  • Today…
  • I am…
  • We are…
  • Here…

Linda France and Christo Wallers will create a polyphonic soundscape from the submissions, incorporating music and birdsong.

They are listening out for oral poetry, spoken word, sounds uttered with the ear in mind.

The finished piece will incorporate as many contributions as possible in a morning chorus for a planet waking up to better times.

Dawn Chorus will premiere at Durham Book Festival 2021.

It's easy to contribute! Please send all entries by 2 August 2021

Upload your files here

Complete our simple form to upload your audio file. Your file can be in any audio format.

Or send us a WhatsApp voice memo

Record a voice memo and send it to us by WhatsApp on 07902 973392

Remember to include your name and email address in the message!

Terms

In sending your recording in, you are agreeing to it being used as part of the collective soundscape, according to the editors’ discretion.

If your contribution is in a language other than English, please tell us what language it is and provide a translation.

If you can’t make a recording for any reason, send us an email with your words and we’ll find a voice for them.

Teaching Resources

You can find a document to to help contribute recorded words, lines and phrases to the Dawn Chorus collective sound poem project here.

FAQs

How long can the recording be?

Maximum length is 30 seconds.

Please record 5 seconds of silence before you start speaking and carry on recording for 5 seconds after you have finished.

Does the file format matter?

Not at all.

Please send the highest quality recording you can as an .mp3, .wav, .aiff, or .mp4.

Who do I send the recording to?

You can add your recording to our Airtable form or send us a WhatsApp voice memo.

See the green box above!

Are there any tips for getting good sound quality?

Choose a day when it isn’t windy if you are recording outside, or record in good conditions indoors. If you sit quietly for a moment, you can hear noisy things like fridges or traffic. Try to minimise them as much as possible by closing windows/ turning things off.

 

Speak clearly and slowly.  If the sound quality of your contribution is compromised, it can’t be used but might be rerecorded by us using another voice.

What if I am just recording onto my smart phone?

That is absolutely fine!

It is useful to locate where the microphones are on your particular make of phone, so that you can make sure you are not covering them, and so that you can point them directly at the sound source. Being close up to the mic makes a much clearer recording. If your voice is distorting when you play it back, then we won’t be able to use it.

If you want to go a step further, you can go into the Settings of your voice recording app (e.g. Voice Memo on iOS) and change the recording quality to Lossless.

Can you recommend any other recording apps?

You are welcome to simply use the Whats App voice messaging function.

If you want to go for higher quality, using a smart phone, Voice Record Pro is popular for iOS, as is Easy Voice Recorder for Android.

Ideas for recording the dawn chorus

You could set your alarm and get up early to go outside and listen to the dawn chorus as the sun rises and the light of day returns.

If that’s not possible, you can find a recording online and imagine waking up as the soundtrack trickles in with the promise of fine weather ahead.

However you do it, with or without birds, catch the spirit of beginning again, prepare for marvels, the unexpected.

Murmuration: a collective poem in a time of climate crisis and coronavirus

In 2020, we ran a call out for lines, thoughts and ideas for our collective poem, Murmuration. Launched during lockdown, we wanted to create a collective poem for our times: an inventory of what really matters, celebrating our love for the natural world at a time of crisis.

Murmuration found friends all over the world. More than 400 people contributed to the final poem and it has been watched more than 12,000 times. Find out more about Murmuration here.

Read Murmuration here.

Read Linda’s essay about scribing the collective poem, here.

Dawn Chorus is part of Writing the Climate, Linda France’s residency at New Writing North and Newcastle University. Find out more

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