Image shown: The Starling Song Project

In celebration of this year’s Positive Ageing week, West Cork Arts Centre has launched The Threshing Machine Made a Devilous Sound, a unique CD of original songs created by older people working in collaboration with singer songwriter Liz Clarke and artist Tess Leak.

The Threshing Machine Made a Devilous Sound is the result of The Starling Song Project an Arts for Health Partnership Programme project involving Liz Clark, Tess Leak and four groups of older people from Clonakilty Community Hospital, Castletownbere Day Care and Skibbereen Day Care Centre.

Liz Clark brought her poetic and infectious musical style and Tess Leak her interest in ‘found’ text to the project.  The artists discussed stories and experiences connected to the  West Cork region  with  the participants  and these exchanges stimulated ideas and influenced the development of melodies and lyrics to create a collection of five original songs which were recorded in studio and on-site.

‘We wanted everyone to connect and have a sense of pride in accomplishing a musical piece. We wanted participants to feel easy about sharing their stories, knowing that they will work into a format that we can all sing together’ said Liz Clark.  ‘We also had a vote to decide what kind of song would suit our theme, for example, waltz or ballad? I would play on the guitar an example of these different song forms,’ she continued.

Liz Clark and Tess Leak performed the songs at several different celebratory events, including an event on National Music Day Ireland: Love Live Music, in June at Skibbereen Community Hospital and will be continuing with the project with more groups in November. Liz has more hopes for the future of the project, ‘we’d like to expand by connecting more people in different parts of the area via their stories in song form.. we feel this project has huge potential for many kinds of communities’.

The Threshing Machine Made A Devilous Sound is on sale, proceeds going towards the Arts for Health Partnership Programme. The CD  can be purchased at Castletownbere Day Care Centre (027 – 70737) or West Cork Arts Centre (028 – 22090), price €5.

Arts for Health is a partnership programme based in West Cork implementing a managed arts programme for older people in healthcare settings in West Cork. It takes place in five Community Hospitals, five Day Care Centres and Bantry General Hospital Care of the Elderly Unit. The partners are West Cork Arts Centre, Cork County Council, County Cork VEC and the HSE. The HSE is represented through the Cork Arts + Health Programme, the Health Promotion Department, the Nursing Directors of Community Hospitals and the Day Care Centres, Community Services, West Cork.


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