Bowerbird Collective

Evenings with Birdsong – Life on Land’s End

Elder Hall University of Adelaide 8 October 2022

They belong to all of us
And to none of us.

Simone Slattery and Anthony Albrecht joined forces in a cinematic avian inspired concert, telling the story of shore birds and their amazing migration each year. This was a very evocative and  creative way to bring attention to the flight and, one could say plight, of birds which migrate each year from Australia to Siberia and Alaska. 

With the baroque violin and cello the musicians created the essence of birdsong, rather than making any attempt to imitate it, mirroring the majesty of the birds’ flight over oceans, islands and continents after they had gathered to fuel up with food for the journey and then taking to the sky as a group. 

The evening began with the Welcome to Country by Karl Wind Telfer who then played the didgeridoo joining Simone and Anthony in the first piece co-composed by him and David John Lang. Then we were taken on a journey, with the birds, from one end of the earth to the other via music by composers as diverse as Phillip Glass, Anne Carwse and Vivaldi. Each piece of music matched the visual display and the text. The effect, as a whole, was of skilful design.

Birds, in all stages of their journey were shown on a large screen, with stunning photography and videos, of birds in flight, land and sea scapes: then the sobering view of man-made structures which encroach on the land where birds stop to refuel on their flight. Not having webbed feet these birds can only alight on land, not water. 

An image that has stayed with me is of a small bird, standing on one leg, who seemed to be listening to the music and turning his head from side to side. But there was much more, with text explaining the story clearly, in language  which was at times poetic; not preaching but informing.

This concert was not just a ‘show and tell’ but an excellent example of how music and image can contribute to our understanding of the environment and nature in a very unique way. It was  thought provoking and moving, appropriate that it was performed on Bird Migration Day and as the opening of the SA’s Nature Festival. 

Help Support 5mbs

We have a fantastic team of members and volunteers at 5mbs, with many opportunities for more. Check out the various ways you can help support the passionate team at 5mbs

Subscribe for updates

Sign up to receive program guides, articles, and event updates