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Café Oto Announces Nature-Themed Series
Gillian Paxton , June 6th, 2019 16:01

London's Café Oto will host a series themed around nature and music through this summer into autumn

Café Oto has announced their newest series of events, Music and Other Living Creatures. Featuring music “about, with, or by other living creatures,” the series features walks, performances and discussions about animals and nature and their integration into music.

Inspiration for the series came when Fielding Hope, Senior Producer at Café OTO, spent time walking through the woods and listening to Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux, piano works based on the birds living in France.

“The bird song and Messiaen's interpretations were equally fascinating to me, so from the original idea of presenting a performance of Catalogue d'Oiseaux I felt the idea needed to be represented with a wider scope to it,” Hope said via email. “And here we are.”

The series starts with Desire Lines, a series of three off-site “sound-walks.” Led by artist, curator and producer Helen Frosi and pianist Stephan Barrett, these walks will feature natural sites of interest and sound-related activities to encourage interaction with “the more-than-human-world.” The first of these walks is on June 23 along the River Lea. The second, at Abney Park Cemetery, will happen on June 29. Finally, the last Desire Line soundwalk will be in Epping Forest on July 6.

The series will continue through November, and events include a talk on August 28 by David Toop, musician, author and current professor of audio culture and improvisation at London College of Communication. He will discuss his first BBC Radio 3 programme, Crossthreads, a document of the musical connections between “non-human, human and extra-human entities.”

Hope said he wants the series to highlight the beauty and music found in natural sounds, as well as the way music creates empathy between humans and animals.

“Music is one of the few connecting tissues between human and non-human species. Music can bring people together, it can bring animals together, and in some occurrences, it can bring both sets of species together,” he said via email. “It can create some form of greater understanding and respect for non-human species in a world that repeatedly and increasingly endangers and refutes their existence.”

You can find more information and buy tickets to these events and others from the series here.