Image shown: Starling Song Project

The Fiddle and the Harrow,  an album of original songs by participants of the Arts for Health programme,  was released in February 2014. As a follow up to The Threshing Machine Made a Devilous Sound, this new CD forms the second part of the Starling Song Project.

The Starling Song Project is part of the Arts for Health partnership programme in West Cork. It aims to connect older people from 11 geographical location and to share their experience and sense of place through the medium of song. Developed by award-winning singer songwriter and musician Liz Clark, in collaboration with visual artist Tess Leak, Starling Song is a songwriting project which brings together older people from all over West Cork.

Both Liz and Tess worked with participants from hospitals and day care centre in different locations. Together they composed a collection of original songs and recorded them as part of this compilation.

A participant of the programme commented “It made me feel good, it lifted me.”

“We wanted everyone to connect and have a sense of pride in accomplishing a musical piece” said artist Liz Clark. “Also we wanted participants to feel easy about sharing their stories, knowing that they will work into a format that we can all sing together.”

The project began in 2012. The outcome of that first stage of the project was The Threshing Machine Made a Devilous Sound, a CD of five original songs. This new production continues on from there, featuring nine new tracks, all written by participants in collaboration with the artists.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed by the positive feedback.” said Phil Murphy, Castletownbere Day Care Centre Coordinator. “The project was very inclusive, clients with memory loss could still participate. We are all looking forward to more!!”

Liz Clark first started working on the Arts for Health Programme in 2011. Originally from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado she is now based in Baltimore, West Cork. She recently completed her fifth studio album of original songs, a collaborative project with Irish singer/songwriter Tessa Perry called Lonely And The Moose. In 2010 Liz won the Lilith Fair Ourstage Songwriting Competition which resulted in her performing alongside Emmy-Lou Harris and Sarah McLachlan in the Lilith Fair Music Festival. Liz is also the founder of All Girl Band- a Rock n Roll Camp for Girls, where she mentors and teaches young girls who are interested in music.

Tess Leak graduated from the B.A. in Visual Art (Dublin Institute of Technology), Sherkin Island in 2009. Her art practice is inspired by ‘the generosity of finding surprises’ featuring installation, drawing, collage, text, sound and objects. Her most recent project Field Recordings for a Resurrection Machine was a collaboration with sound-recordist John Brennan. In 2012 she co-curated The Museum of Miniature with Marie Brett for Skibbereen Arts Festival. Tess was an Arts Practitioner on West Cork Arts Centre’s Primary School’s Programme, for five years, working with special needs groups. She also joined the Arts for Health artist’s team in 2011.

CD’s can be purchased from West Cork Arts Centre for €5 and all proceeds will go the Arts for Health partnership programme.

Arts for Health is a partnership programme based in West Cork implementing a managed arts programme for older people in healthcare settings. 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, Cork Education & Training Board 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, West Cork.


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