Endangered bird inspires musicians to make an album

Love for an endangered bird – the Eurasian curlew – has inspired a range of musicians to make an album celebrating the species and helping support the RSPB’s work, including projects in Co Antrim and Fermanagh, to save them.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 7:37 am

Merlyn Driver, David Gray and The Unthanks are among the line-up of bird-lovers who have contributed to ‘Simmerdim – Curlew Sounds’, a unique double-album of music inspired by these threatened waders.

The Eurasian curlew was added to red list of birds in 2015 – those recognised as most endangered – after numbers had almost halved over the previous two decades. In Northern Ireland the species are at risk of becoming extinct in the next ten years.

The Orkney-born musician Merlyn Driver, who drove the album and was inspired by his vivid and special memories of this bird alongside his childhood and home, travelled to RSPB sites to record soundscapes that are included in the album, visiting Lough Erne Lowlands and Antrim Plateau.

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The Eurasian Curlew

He said: “Curlew vocalisations are bewitchingly unique - they often sound major and minor at the same time. Curlews gave me so much joy and so many different pathways into imagination and wildness when I was growing up.

“The idea that we could lose breeding curlews in the UK inspired me to act and assemble new creative responses to this amazing bird so it’s great to be able to pay reverence to them and contribute in a small way to their conservation.”