Folk giants unite to save endangered species

Axolotl - natural history museum

Axolotl - natural history museumLeading folk musicians have created a piece of music inspired by a rare and mysterious Mexican creature, which will premiere at the Natural History Museum later this month.

Bellowhead’s Andy Mellon and multi-instrumentalist Ben Nicholls and have teamed up with Booker Prize winning author DBC Pierre for Live & Roar: An Axolotl Odyssey, based on the near extinct axolotl amphibian.

They will premiere the piece at a free performance in the Natural History Museum’s Darwin Centre Atrium on Saturday 23 June as part of Exhibition Road Music Day.

The axolotl is an exotic species related to the salamander and newt, which is now on the endangered list and facing extinction. Its last remaining stronghold is Mexico City. This has prompted Pierre, Mellon and Nicholls (double bassist in Seth Lakeman’s band) to collaborate on a composition in its honour, which fuses spoken word with music and conservation.

Live & Roar is a groundbreaking composer residency and live performance, supported by Pestival, ZSL London Zoo, Discovering Places and PRS for Music Foundation. It is also part of London 2012 Festival.

Bridget Nicholls, Creative Director of Pestival and the Axolotl Odyssey said: ‘This performance brings together Mexican culture, fashion, film, music and spoken word. We wanted to create a new way of relating to the natural world to see how connected we are with it DBC Pierre is the perfect wordsmith to weave a folk tale and the musicians with their traditional background have decided to pull out the Mexican cultural heritage in their music.

‘The idea is to have a great quality Saturday night, with a high energy performance and celebrate the axolotl,  a little known creature living on the edge of existence. It shows how these nature stories are wrapped up in our cultural heritage and in our music. And through this medium we can raise awarness about a little known, really cool, endagered spieces.’

Vanessa Reed, Executive Director of PRS for Music Foundation, added: ‘PRS for Music Foundation funds composer residencies in a wide range of settings to enable new audiences to enjoy new music by some of the UK’s most imaginative artists. The Live & Roar premiere at the Natural History Museum’s Darwin Atrium is the result of a unique composer residency at London Zoo. This will be a fascinating performance.’

The premiere will be proceeded by experimental opera vocalist Loré Lixenberg (Jerry Springer the Opera, Stelarc, Bruce McLean) who opens the evening at sunset by premiering her new work Bird. Transporting a shamanesque ritual to a modern urban environment, Loré will summon British garden birds to appear by calling to them using only her voice.

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