To mark World Earth Day it’s great to announce the second running of the Tune Into Nature Music Prize. The launch in 2020 saw 180 entries and resulted in the inaugural winner, I Eden by LYDIAH. The Oak Project is supporting the the prize this year and with a judging panel including musicians Martyn Ware, Sam Lee, Supriya Nagarajan and poet Zena Edwards we are in search for a piece of original music that tunes into nature – helping to highlight the need for a new relationship with nature and provide vital support for young creative practitioners.
The Tune Into Nature Music Prize is a strand of artistic programming by the Oak Project, a newly established partnership between Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), the University of Derby and the Bronze Oak Project Ltd, a not-for-profit that promotes contact with the arts to create nature connection. The Oak Project is an initiative that aims to inspire and motivate public action for nature and climate through arts, culture and creativity.
The winning entry will receive a £500 grant to support their work and also benefit from a free professional remix produced by award-winning songwriter and producer Martyn Ware, Principal of Tileyard Education. They will also be invited to perform at Timber, the International Forest Festival, in 2022 – last year’s winner LYDIAH will perform at the 2021 festival. In addition, two further selected entrants will each benefit from a £250 grant.
The Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby has found that the connection between young people and nature dips during teenage years and takes more than a decade to recover. Research also shows that references to nature in contemporary music have decreased consistently since the 1950s. This matters as a close connection with nature helps both the wellbeing of people and our planet, as people who are tuned into nature are more likely to care for it.
As highlighted in the recent pandemic, the human relationship with the rest of nature is essential for our wellbeing, yet the climate and environment emergencies show that the human relationship with the rest of nature is broken. Nature means less and less in our lives and is disappearing as a reference in our music. We need, now more than ever, a new and more connected relationship with nature and music is a great way to celebrate nature and it’s essential role in our lives.
The competition is open to anyone aged 16-29 and resident in the UK. The track should not be longer than six minutes, contain lyrics and, this year, spoken word entries are welcome to be submitted to the prize. Applications close on 30 July 2021.
The idea is simple: To tune in and celebrate nature.
For inspiration – research shows that a closer, healthier and more sustainable relationship with nature comes through tuning into nature, noticing it, finding beauty, joy, calm, meaning and compassion. Further details and how to enter can be found at www.ysp.org.uk/tune-into-nature-music-prize
For some further inspiration, here’s some of my favourite classics and more recent tracks (and as a playlist) that are tuned into nature through the pathways to nature connectedness: senses, beauty, emotion, meaning and compassion:
- Stevie Wonder – Summer Soft
- Cosmo Sheldrake – Cuckoo
- Anamanaguchi – Flora Fauna
- Bill Callahan – Jim Cain
- Martyn Bennett – Blackbird or Swallowtail or Peewits or many others
- Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
- Concept Of Thought – Misty Blue ft. Daisy Drage
- Nina Simone – Feeling Good
- Childish Gambino – Feels like Summer
- OneRepublic – Truth to Power
- Gil Scott-Heron – I Think I’ll Call It Morning
- Johnny Flynn – Queen Bee
- Kool & the Gang – Summer Madness
- Joe Corfield – Wildflower
- Jo Hamilton – Think of Me
- Xavier Rudd – Follow The Sun
- Rufus Thomas – Funky Bird
- Jon Hopkins – Autumn Hill
- The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
- Rachel Unthank & The Winterset – Blackbird
- Simon & Garfunkel – April Come She Will
- Nick Mulvey – In Your Hands
- The Mutton Birds – Nature
- Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World
I’m looking forward to listening to the entries later in the summer.