past events

SongPath Leeds 2024

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

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

In April 2024 SongPath returned to the Leeds Lieder festival for a third year, bringing SongPath once more to the 900 year-old ruins of Kirkstall Abbey.

In an afternoon exploring music, dance, poetry breathing, skygazing, and a good cup of tea, SongPath co-founders Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries were joined by multi-instrumentalist and Indian classical music specialist Jesse Bannister and dancers from the Balbir Singh Dance Company.

We also ran three days of free Music & Wellbeing workshops at Kirkstall Abbey across March and April in collaboration with mental health organisation Arts & Minds Network Leeds.

SongPath Oxford 2023

the woods are lovely, dark and deep

Harcourt Arboretum, Oxford

In the autumn of 2023 we returned to Oxford International Song Festival for a third year with a SongPath combining music, words, movement and mindfulness in the beautiful autumnal woods of Harcourt Arboretum.

 

International shurangiz player Vahid Taremi performed music by Meshkatian in the groves and Phil Muill from the Oxford School of Tai Chi & Qigong led everyone in nature inspired tai chi beneath the trees. Singers & SongPath co-founders Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries sang duets inspired by birdsong and everyone joined in singing folksongs. There was also leaf drawing and woodland teas (Hawthorne and Nettle) under the barn.

 

We also ran a series of creative music-making workshops for Oxfordshire Mind service users at The Mill, and a group joined us at our event at the Arboretum.

SongPath Leeds 2023

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

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

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.

SongPath Oxford 2022

not all those who wander are lost

Oxford Botanic Gardens

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 trees, plants, ponds, and orchard 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 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.

SongPath Leeds 2022

hope is the thing with feathers

RSPB St Aidan's, Leeds

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 Jesse Bannister (saxophone), Giuliano Modarelli (guitar), Lucas Mander (ornithologist) and 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.

SongPath Oxford 2021

a green thought in a green shade

Oxford Botanic Gardens

Autumn was the season for planting a SongPath at Oxford Botanic Garden. 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 and providing free places for service users at our events.

SongPath Cumbria 2019

a song sleeps in all things

Bardsea, Birkrigg Common, Swarthmoor Hall

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 created a trail bursting with music, song, poetry, meditation and dance from the coastal village of Bardsea on the Furness Peninsula, across Birkrigg Common’s stone circle and woods to Swarthmoor Hall, original home of the Quakers.

Joining our one hundred and twenty walkers were twenty professional classical & folk musicians including internationally renowned concert pianist Martin Roscoe, the Furness Music Centre Community Choir, a newly formed Mind Choir, cognitive behavioural therapist Rufus Harrington and local poet Neil Curry.  All gave their time and skills on a voluntary basis.

 

Everyone, performers and participants, walked together.  Those with reduced mobility were provided with a minibus service and people were free to take part in as much or as little of the day as they liked. 

In the months leading up to our public event we 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 were thrilled to raise a total of £5796.75 including GiftAid to support their furture work.

Questions?

If you’d like to find out more about SongPath or ask us about an upcoming event, we’d love to hear from you!