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The Blackbird

The Blackbird

Inspired by the satirical Lancashire dialect poet Tim Bobbin (1708-1786) who is buried in St. Chad’s churchyard, Rochdale, this new sonic work explores his poem The Black-bird.  Using field recordings of blackbird song from Rochdale they have been transcribed into short distinct phrases for woodwind and augmented through a process of synthesis to create a hyper-real version of the original.

The work reflects the true nature of Blackbirds as having independence in their song repertoire. These birds are known to display differences in song and calls depending on their geographic location, much like an accent or dialect which is a strong feature of Tim Bobbin’s works.

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The poem The Blackbird pokes fun at the authorities as a suspect is hunted down to be prosecuted for their contempt at singing on a Sunday. However, the perpetrator of the song seems not to care. The authorities are finally ridiculed into submission when they discover the culprit is just a Blackbird.

“The whistler’s good and true

“And serves me well; but what’s all this to you?

“He takes no bribes, he asks for nought but meat,

“Fawns on no king, nor doth his country cheat”

Alison Cooper is a musician, composer, visual artist and museum curator. Seeking to develop new understandings between narratives of landscape, material culture and human interaction is a key influence on the work she creates. Bringing a fresh understanding to historic narratives which can never truly be replicated, only


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