Laois people star in musical celebration of bees and pollinators


Thresholds composed in Laois.

The voices of several Laois people can be heard on Thresholds, a music piece composed in celebration of bees and other pollinators, which has been recently posted online.

The piece, composed by Ian Wilson, features recordings of Laois communities, a selection of natural sounds and a saxophone score. It was performed live for the first time at the finale of the Leaves Literary Festival by Cathal Roche in November.

Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer with Laois County Council, said the work was commissioned to explore in a new way the value and importance of pollinators to Irish life.

"The community response has shown that there is an enormous depth of interest in biodiversity in Laois, which is great news for conservation in the future,” she said.

Composer Ian Wilson thanked all those who had generously given their time to participate in the piece.

"I interviewed many people whose lives and/or work in some way interact with pollinators as well as broader ecological themes, and fragments of those interviews, as well as field recordings I made, constitute the soundtrack element.

"I then wrote a saxophone score to accompany the soundtrack (not the other way around!), performed here by my longtime collaborator Cathal Roche. This score reflects - musically and emotionally - on various aspects of the soundtrack and on occasion imitates directly some of the speech patterns heard there.

"My thanks to Laois Heritage Officer Catherine Casey and all those who generously gave their time to talk to me," he says on his soundcloud page.

The groups who took part included: Chris Uys and Fiona MacGowan of Abbeyleix Bog Group, Ricky Whelan and Brian Gaynor of the Irish Wildlife Trust Laois-Offaly Branch, Maeve Flynn of Laois County Council, Eugene O’Brien and Tom Hussey of Dunamaise Beekeepers, Ger McEvoy of Portlaoise Golf Club, Una Fitzpatrick of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Eimear Fox, Vincent O’Malley and Michelle Mearne of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Clair Keating and the Children of 3rd Class in Killeshin National School, Valerie Cloonan and Pat Comerford of the OPW, Sandro Cafollo of Irish Wildflowers and Catriona Cashin of Clonaslee Tidy Towns.

 The event was a perfect end to the Leaves Literary Festival.

The new music commission was funded by the Creative Ireland programme in Laois, which aims to bring together new and innovative projects that draw together all aspects of heritage and the arts.

The piece is available on SoundCloud but you can listen here.

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