SongPath co-founders

Friends and singers Jess & Jo were inspired to set up SongPath on a walk overlooking Loch Lomond in the Trossachs in Scotland.

Jess Dandy

contralto & SongPath co-founder

Jess is from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.  As well as singing in major venues around the world with leading orchestras, she is a multi-faceted artist with a keen interest in ecology, body psychology, and spirituality.  SongPath grew out of her own experience of anxiety & depression, and the healing effects of rediscovering her creative voice through physical engagement with the natural world.


With composer Alex Mills, she is developing the Music & Being Collective, an open laboratory space exploring music and our sense of self through interdisciplinary dialogue. Jess was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Award and awarded the Roderick Lakin Professional Development Award from the Royal Over-Seas League towards her work with SongPath.

Joanna Harries

mezzo-soprano & SongPath co-founder

Joanna was born in New Zealand and grew up in South Wales. She is a mezzo-soprano with a varied career in opera and concert, recently making her debuts with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Rara & the London Philharmonic Orchestra.


Alongside performing, she leads workshops and interactive performances for everyone from children to young refugees and asylum seekers, community choruses, mental health outpatient groups, the visually impaired, the elderly and isolated. She was awarded a Royal Philharmonic Enterprise Award for her podcast Songs of the River.


We've been lucky to have worked with some incredible guest musicians, creatives and speakers over the past five years. Here are a selection:

Jesse Bannister


Jesse is a unique musician, deviating from the constrictions of his jazz school curriculum to delve deep into Hindustani music, working tirelessly to adapt its subtle inflections and swooping melodies to the saxophone. He studied with British sitar maestro Dharambir Singh, and also received instruction from Benares vocal legends Pandits Rajan & Sajan Mishra.


As a performer, composer and educator he has pushed the boundaries of traditional and contemporary forms. A leading light in cross cultural work, he has worked for the Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of London Sinfonia and the Halle Orchestra.

Olwen Foulkes


Olwen founded Ensemble Augelletti in 2019 and has a deep love of chamber music playing. She has performed regularly on BBC Radio 3 and worked with organisations including London Handel Players, Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and La Serenissima.


Olwen is particularly interested in curating performances in partnership with specific collections and has recently collaborated with Handel&Hendrix House, the Foundling Museum, the British Museum and the British Library. She has released two solo albums on Barn Cottage Records (Indoor Fireworks-2019, Directed by Handel -2018) to critical acclaim and is currently working on a PhD researching the practices of recorder players working in London between 1670-1730. She is the Assistant Curator at Handel&Hendrix House Museum where her job involves research and collection care.

David Haley


David Haley is an ecological artist, researcher and eco-pedagogue with specific interest in generating dialogues for ‘capable futures’ that question the nexus of climate, species and cultural crises.


He is a Visiting Professor at Zhongyuan University of Technology, Guest Professor at Universidad Iberoamericana and Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, and a member of the ecoart network, the Ramsar Cultural Network and the UK Urban Ecology Forum.

David’s recent arts projects include: A Dialogue With Clouds (2023) – 36 Haikus to consider life without clouds, written on to a gallery wall, EQUINOX: a day with an ocean’s edge (2023) – gallery installation featuring Tummer Hill Saltmarsh; and VIEWPOINT (2017-19) – commission for 12 Haikus and rocks installation at the Confluence Area, Cockermouth.

Rufus Harrington


Rufus is a Senior Lecturer in cognitive behavioural therapy at the University of Cumbria. He has trained over two hundred CBT therapists and is the Consultant Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist to the Cumbria Police.

Elizabeth Kenny


Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent) and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post).


In twenty years of touring she has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making. She is currently Professor of Lute and Theorbo and Dean of Students at the Royal Academy of Music.

Lucas Mander


Lucas is Principal Ornithologist for RPS consulting in Leeds, working on impact of human-related activities on seabirds and waterbirds. His research focuses on habitat restoration and waterbirds populations in estuaries, and he previously spent sixteen years at the University of Hull studying the near-threatened Curlew population.

Giuliano Modarelli


Giuliano is an Italian guitarist, composer and producer. Having initially studied Jazz, he went on to develop through the Indian classical tradition, studying under renowned sitarist Dharambir Singh, Indian classical maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta and his senior disciple Prattyush Bannerjee. He is co-founder of the award-winning music collective Kefaya, reinventing folk music with contemporary influences.

Phil Muil

taijiquan & quigong

Phil Muil runs the Oxford School of Taijiquan & Quigong, and has been praticing the art of Taiji (tai chi) since 1987. In 2017 Phil was honoured to be accepted as a 13th Generation disciple of Master Chen Bing, which was formalised in a ceremony in Chen village in 2018.


He has visited China multiple times, studying with some of the top masters in the world today, as well as studying meditation at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery since 1990. He is a qualified Mediator and both of these are a strong influence in his approach to studying & teaching Taiji.

Martin Roscoe


During his illustrious career, Martin Roscoe has become one of the UK’s most loved and respected pianists. With his extensive repertoire, consummate musicianship and immediate connection with audiences, he is in great demand as a concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. Martin appears regularly at Wigmore Hall and has long-standing associations with many of the UK’s leading orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Scottish Symphony.

Kate Saunders


Dr Kate Saunders is an Associate Professor a the University of Oxford, specialising in areas such as mood instability, Borderline personality disorder, Bipolar disorder, and medical education. The focus of her current research work is digital phenotyping, sleep and circadian rhythm, and student mental health.


Digital phenotyping has the potential to provide significant insights into psychiatric disorder as well as enhance clinical care and self-management. Alongside colleagues in the Department of Maths and the Alan Turing Institute she is developing mathematical tools to better quantify the data such approaches generate and crucially to ensure that it has clinical relevance.

Balbir Singh Dance Company


Balbir Singh Dance Company (BSDC) is a leading intercultural dance company based in Leeds, blending contemporary western dance and classical Indian Kathak. Founded by artistic director Balbir Singh, their unique and innovative approach embraces diverse influences to tell stories, excite the senses and generate conversations.

Protecting, enhancing and respecting the natural world is central to BSDC’s practice. They recognise that it is our responsibility to promote sustainable choices and protect future generations. This environmental consciousness inspires BSDC’s artistic expression to address some of the planet’s most urgent and compelling issues in a unique, creative, and optimistic way. These environmental conservations are evident in creative walks undertaken in “Roots and Routes” in Gledhow Valley Woods, “Tranquility Walks” in Becket Street Cemetery with Thackray Medical Museum, Wentworth Woodhouse Museum, Dilston Physic Garden and the Botanics at Durham University. By fostering collaboration among diverse communities and forging strategic partnerships, BSDC endeavors to champion the conservation of verdant green areas and serene blue spaces. 

Vahid Taremi


Vahid is an Iranian composer and a skilled player of traditional Iranian instruments such as the Tar, Setar, and Shurangiz.


A notable figure in the world of Persian music, he studied at the Tehran Conservatory of Music, and notable performances include the Maah-o-Nava festival in 2021, the Sipa Festival in Jakarta in 2020, Indonensia, the Glasperlenspiel Festival in Tartu, Estonia in 2019 and performances internationally in Belgium, China and Iran.


He has also made significant contributions to radio, televsion and cinema as both music critic and composer.

Kate Wakeling


Kate Wakeling grew up in Yorkshire and Birmingham and is a writer and musicologist. She has been described in The Guardian as ‘a poet to watch, her work an April rainbow of freshness and surprise’.


Her debut collection of children’s poetry, Moon Juice (The Emma Press) illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa won the 2017 CLiPPA and was nominated for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Kate’s second collection for children, Cloud Soup (The Emma Press) was shortlisted for the 2022 CliPPA and selected as a Book of the Month by the Guardian and the Scotsman.


Kate’s work for adults has been commended in the Forward Prizes for Poetry and published widely, including in the Guardian, Magma, Oxford Poetry, The Rialto, Butcher’s Dog and Stand Magazine.


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