Sound recordist Chris Watson takes groups on Kielder Forest expeditions

Kielder Forest in Northumberland is to stage a sound artwork event led by top sound recordist Chris Watson

Chris Watson in Kielder Forest
Chris Watson in Kielder Forest

Groups will be led into a Northumberland forest for a rendezvous with ravens.

The event are being led by top sound recordist Chris Watson, who lives in Newcastle.

A coach will take people from Newcastle to the event at Kielder Water and Forest Park on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

There they will listen to a sound installation composed by Chris and produced by Iain Pate.

Their multi-channel, spatialised sound installation features the recorded conversations of thousands of ravens returning to roost.

Commissioned through the Jerwood Open Forest initiative, the events will see groups led at twilight on a short walk into the deepest part of the forest. Settling down as darkness falls, participants will hear the sounds the ravens arriving in the canopy overhead to begin their conversations.

Chris Watson’s composition starts with the calls of distant ravens and concludes with a full raven roost overhead.

The work celebrates the return of ravens to the forest, making a connection back to Norse mythology, allowing people to discover the lore and legend surrounding the birds.

Chris is a sound recordist for film, TV and radio. He specialises in natural history and has worked on programmes such as David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet and the Life of Birds.

He said: “I first started visiting and exploring Kielder Forest during the 1980s when I moved to the North East.

“Since then I have become fascinated by this mosaic of landscapes, it’s wildlife, history and very special acoustic properties.”

Hrafn; Conversations with Odin will feature one performance each day. Audiences will be led at twilight.

Jerwood Open Forest was launched in 2013 as part of the Jerwood Visual Arts programme by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Forestry Commission, with additional support funding through Arts Council England’, are backing the project.

The initiative invited artists to respond to the possibilities presented by the landscapes of the public forest estate.

Two commissions were awarded in February - the other went to a project at Alice Holt Forest in Surrey On Friday and Saturday, Hrafn begins at 5pm. The bookable coach will leave Newcastle city centre at 3.15pm returning at approximately 8.15pm.

On Sunday the event begins at 4pm with the coach leaving Newcastle at 2.15pm.

Booking is essential, through jerwoodopenforest.org

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