The Dying Of The Ice

Episodes

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Frozen Music20190716

Andrew McGibbon explores the sounds and music of the ice, meeting the composers, musicians and indigenous artists in the Arctic region who use the ice to make music. He discovers the natural and haunting sounds made by the movements of deep frozen ice, ice melting and icebergs calving and colliding.

Terje Isungset is a drummer and ice music composer from Norway who makes his own instruments each winter and performs at festivals across the Arctic region. His beautiful sounds mingle with voices and even a string section providing a fitting and atmospheric backdrop to his environment.

In Northern Canada, Inuit musicians - including drummer and singer Kelly Fraser, rapper Mister, electropop vocalist Riit, and throat singers Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Qamaniq - perform sets to appreciative cheers and the muffled clap of thick-mitted hands. Their music reflects the restoration of their overlooked Inuit culture and the effects of global warming on their traditions.

Fathfully capturing the sounds of ice and making them art is the work of Jana Winderen who uses a range of sophisticated hydrophones across the melting and freezing seasons. Her music is hypnotic and beautiful.

We sample some of the recordings of the ice, courtesy of NOAA and NASA and other professionals who monitor the the rapid loss of Arctic ice.

This is the third of three programmes and, as with the rest of The Dying of the Ice series, features the sounds of melting and retreating ice in the Arctic along with the sounds of creatures living under the ice as an active, low volume soundtrack audible throughout the programme.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producers: Louise Morris and Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon explores the sounds of ice in the North Pole and the composers who use it.

How indigenous artists in Arctic regions are interpreting the loss of ancient Arctic ice.

01Olafur Eliasson2019070920190713 (R4)

An audio elegy and a lament for the lost, boreal ice of the north pole. The sound of ice melting, thawing, disappearing and shifting across a year is the essence of this tone poem, woven with song, poetry, art and music about the ice.

This first of three programmes features discussion with Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson who transported Greenland-bred ancient ice blocks to the country's old colonial capital Copenhagen, in a project titled Ice Watch. The blocks were arranged to resemble an ominous clock showing the amount of ice that disappears every hundredth of a second due to conditions of global warming.

His Weather project became one of Tate Modern’s most successful installations – with over two million people visiting the exhibition, watching themselves reflected on a ceiling mirror while being bathed in artificial sunlight and doused in a sweetened atmosphere of humidified water and sugar.

The programme examines Olafur’s relationship with ice, growing up in Iceland and how Ice Watch - a piece that fused art, reality and environmentalism - brought worldwide attention to the rapid loss of the Greenland Ice Shelf.

In July 2019, a major survey of Olafur’s work is mounted at Tate Modern, including around 40 works spanning three decades.

The Dying of the Ice features the sounds of melting and retreating ice in the Arctic and the under-ice creatures living in that boundary as an active, low volume soundtrack audible throughout the programme.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producers: Louise Morris and Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon talks with artist Olafur Eliasson about ice and his return to Tate Modern.

How indigenous artists in Arctic regions are interpreting the loss of ancient Arctic ice.

02The Reindeer Poets20190714

Andrew McGibbon explores the poetry, song and yoiking of the indigenous Sami people who live across the Western European Arctic - a region including Russia's Kola Peninsula, Norway, Finland and Sweden. 

The relationship between the traditional epic yoik songs and contemporary poetry is explored, along with the multimedia approach that several contemporary Sami poets and artists choose for their creative expression. The yoik is the distinctive form of cultural expression for the Sami people and comparable to the traditional chanting of some First Nations in the Northern American continent.

The United Nations has designated 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and the programme features Mikkal Morrotaja, aka Amoc, a poet who raps in Inari Sámi - a language spoken by fewer than 300 people in the world. He raps about Father Christmas being overwhelmed with selfish Christmas demands. Anna Morottaja is a traditional Inari Sámi "livde" singer, who can sing northern bird imitations and stories of mischievous birds of prey, while Elle Marja Eira tells stories from her family background as a reindeer herder using the tradition yoik, through poetry and through music.

Sami poetry takes tradition seriously, looking back to find the way forward, helping to give a small group of people in the Arctic north a voice.

This is the second of three programmes and, as with the rest of The Dying of the Ice series, features the sounds of melting and retreating ice in the Arctic along with the sounds of creatures living under the ice as an active, low volume soundtrack audible throughout the programme.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producers: Louise Morris and Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon explores the poetry, song and yoiking of the Sami people in the Arctic.

How indigenous artists in Arctic regions are interpreting the loss of ancient Arctic ice.