I’ve been working on 9 brand new, ‘full-length’ songs, all about sand dunes!
Dry, hot, salty, windy… for many species, sand dunes are at the extreme end of what they can tolerate. However for many others it’s where they come into their own!
The series will travel to the sand dunes, down to the dune slack (a kind of pond that can form behind the dune), and the sandy grasslands beyond.
We’ll meet snails, orchids, moths, daisies, car indicators, toads, buckets and spades… The series is fully animated – I’m most of the way there with the music and videos and I’m trying my best to get everything finished by the end of the month!
The series is made in partnership with the Dynamic Dunescapes project, and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
I’ve used the songs as an opportunity to learn how to produce my own music in my room and to celebrate the extraordinary diversity of beetles! There have been many challenges, but I’ve had a huge amount of fun!
For the first series I picked whatever species I felt like making music about, but for the second I’ve tried to tie them together under the theme of ‘introductions’: introduced beetle species, beetles affected by introductions, and species who I think people won’t have heard of! In fact most of the species were completely new to me when I wrote their songs!
Keep your ears open for the release of the last couple of tracks!
I have also produced a number of short songs about wider ecology, and how humans interact with nature.
I have already released a handful of new short songs since the beginning of this year, but my favourite from 2021 is ‘This Meadow‘ – a song about a walk in North Yorkshire.
I have also featured in (and composed music for) a handful of Short Films by Alicia Hayden. You can watch them using the menu at the top of this page. My personal favourites were ‘Looking for Lapwings’ and ‘A Song for Maria’.
Looking for Lapwings is a 5-minute film where Alicia introduces me to the moors of North Yorkshire – it came “Second Place” in Hen Harrier Day’s Young Filmmaker Challenge 2021, and was awarded an “Honourable Mention” in Adventure Uncovered’s Film Festival 2021, super short category.
In A Song for Maria I was given the opportunity to visit the Oxford University Museum of Natural History’s Library and look at one of Maria Sibylla Merian’s books (‘The Metamorphosis of the Insects of Suriname,’ published 1705), to find inspiration for a new piece of music. At the end of the film I perform this song live to a (very forgiving!) crowd of friends and family – my first ever live performance of my own music! You can listen to the song here.
This short film was created as part of Alicia’s Masters in Wildlife Filmmaking at the University of the West of England. I cannot thank her enough for offering me this opportunity, and I am incredibly grateful to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History Library for letting us visit and film in their beautiful building, as well as Lady Margaret Hall for allowing me to perform in the lovely Talbot Hall.
I have published 3 blog posts so far, about 3 very different beetle species – if you haven’t already, please check them out! I hope that you discover something you didn’t know before!
In the future, the blog is where I’ll put updates about my work, as well as the occasional beetle post!
An enormous thank you to Alicia Hayden. I am indebted to Alicia for the artwork she has provided for the blog and the music I have written, and for the films we have made together. She has offered me so many wonderful opportunities this last year and I can’t wait to see where next year takes us both! I have provided links to Alicia’s social media below: