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Next SongPaths

SongPath Leeds 2024

there is no time like Spring
when life's alive in everything

Saturday 13 April 2024

2-4pm

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

£10

 

Immerse yourself in an outdoor experience that transcends conventional concerts, exploring mental well-being through the transformative power of music and nature.

 

Led by singers Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries, with saxophonist Jesse Bannister and the Balbir Singh Dance Company, SongPath returns to the Leeds Lieder festival for a third year with an uplifting blend of walking, talking and music-making nestled amid the historic ruins of 900-year-old Kirkstall Abbey.

 

 

 

Presented in association with Leeds Lieder & Kirkstall Abbey (Leeds Museums & Galleries)

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SongPath Beverley 2024

now in this meadow fair and green

Saturday 25 May 2024

1:30-3pm

Beverley

£10

 

SongPath heads to Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival for the first time this year for a musical walking trail in this beautiful Yorkshire town. Meeting at Hengate Memorial Gardens, we'll also take in the beautiful Westwood pastures. Joining singers Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries will be Olwen Foulkes on recorder.

 

 

 

Presented in association with the National Centre for Early Music & Beverley Early Music Festival

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Workshops

Information on our Spring 2024 workshops in Leeds coming soon

What is SongPath?

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About SongPath

creative connections for better mental health

SongPath is a mental health initiative, providing participants with nourishing ways of connecting through walking, talking and music-making in nature.

Our outdoor interactive events around the UK unite professional musicians, experts on the natural world and mental health professionals in uniquely curated walking trails rooted in each local landscape. Founded in 2019 by singers Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries, it exists to creatively reconnect us with the natural world around us through music, poetry, art and science.

SongPath also grows roots in local communities by partnering with local branches of mental health charity Mind to provide free workshops and free places at our events for service users.

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Find out about future SongPaths

More SongPaths

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SongPath Leeds 2023

the wandering of the legs gives rise to the wandering of the mind

In June 2023 SongPath returned to the Leeds Lieder festival for a second year, this time to explore where nature intertwines with Gothic architecture in the 900 year-old ruins of Kirkstall Abbey.

Joining SongPath co-founders Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries were multi-instrumentalist and Indian classical music specialist Jesse Bannister and ecological artist David Haley.

We also ran three free workshops at Kirkstall Abbey in collaboration with mental health organisation Arts & Minds Network Leeds.

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SongPath Oxford 2022

not all those who wander are lost

In October 2022 we returned to Oxford with two SongPaths at Oxford Botanic Garden as part of Oxford Lieder’s festival. We journeyed with a hundred participants through the woodlands and glasshouses of the historic 400-year-old gardens with acclaimed lutenist Elizabeth Kenny and poet Kate Wakeling, as well as guest speakers Deputy Director of the gardens Chris Thorogood and Associate Professor at Oxford University Department of Psychiatry Kate Saunders. We also premiered a brand new interactive musical meditation piece “About a Place”, written by composer Alex Mills.

 

We also gave six free workshops at Oxfordshire Mind over three weeks, working with two groups. As well as group singing and breath work, we created a special song with words by the participants, which we performed at the Botanic Garden events.

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SongPath Leeds 2022

hope is the thing with feathers

In the magnificent spring scenery of RSPB St Aidan’s nature reserve, we explored Leeds’ rich and fertile heritage as part of the Leeds Lieder 2022 festival.

 

Joining us for music, poetry, science, amazing views and wonderful wildlife (including bitterns, avocets, black terns, skylarks and meadow pipits) were Indian Classical musicians Jesse Bannister (saxophone) and Giuliano Modarelli (guitar), along with Lucas Mander (ornithologist) & Rufus Harrington (psychotherapist)

We also gave two free workshops at Inkwell Arts for Leeds Mind, and offered free tickets to our events at RSPB St Aidan's.

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SongPath Oxford 2021

green thought in a green shade

Autumn was the season for planting our first SongPaths in Oxford. We created two SongPaths at the Oxford Botanic Garden as part of Oxford Lieder’s 20th anniversary festival, journeying through the trees, plants, ponds, and orchard of the historic 400-year-old gardens, from the mighty Dawn Redwood to the colourful Autumn border.

 

We also worked with Oxfordshire Mind, giving six free workshops about music and nature, providing free places for service users at our events, and donating £5 from each ticket sold to support their future work.

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SongPath Cumbria 2019

a song sleeps in all things

Our first SongPath event took us on a creative journey in South Cumbria, in partnership with the Ulverston International Music Festival and local branches of Mind.

 

We journeyed from Bardsea on the Furness Peninsula, across Birkrigg Common’s stone circle and woods to Swarthmoor Hall. Joining us were international pianist Martin Roscoe, Cumbrian pipes and fiddle expert Caroline Francis, local Furness community choir, eight professional singers, psychotherapist Rufus Harrington and local Cumbrian poet Neil Curry.

 

We also worked with two local branches of Mind (Mind in Furness & Ulverston Mind), giving free workshops and providing free places at the event for service users. We also raised £5,796.75 to support their future work.

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Digital ways

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Podpath

the songpath podcast

where conversations about mental health help us to connect creatively and restoratively to ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

 

In the latest episode, Jess continues her conversation with composer and gardening enthusiast, Alex Mills.  They discuss his musical work, his commitment to "rawness" in art, and the benefits of sharing difficulties.

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Songs of the River

Inspired by the landscapes, history, people and stories surrounding us, Songs of the River is a new podcast by SongPath co-founder mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries which creates an exploratory journey along iconic rivers using folksong.

Coming soon:

Songs of the Thames - London
Songs of the Clyde - Glasgow


Thanks to support from Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award & RCS Make it Happen Award.

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Mind wanderings

Forest Lake

MIND WANDERINGS

the songpath blog

'I like walking round the lake because I don’t have to think about the route. I just walk around it and I’m free to reflect on other things. I can’t get lost. Not in a navigational sense anyway.'

Harry Perrin writes a beautiful new entry to our Mind Wanderings Blog on the freedom of familiar walks, the music of movement through natural and built environments, and 'the spaces between the notes, where the real work is done'.

If you are interested in writing a Mind Wanderings Blog entry, email us at songpathuk@gmail.com

We'd love to hear from you.

Puffins

hope is the thing with feathers 

ornithology for the soul

engage creatively with the profound detail of birds – in your gardens if you have them, via the window if you can’t go out, on your daily walks, or even on internet searches and television programmes.  

notice their movement, their song, their plumage, and perhaps even feel into their worlds, taking on their physiology, their high flight, their lack of restriction relative to yours, and their obliviousness to your current situation.  Come back down to earth with a newfound sense of possibility and a deeper, more centred sense of yourself.  

reflect on what feathered life brings to you: it might be a specific bird, or birdlife generally, and you might think about how engaging with them makes you feel, and whether something creative or restorative comes out of that. 

 

This can take any/many forms: video, text, audio, visual, whatever you like; feel free to experiment. 

Keep in touch

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