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Cheryl Beer: Cân y Coed Rainforest Symphony

9 August 20234 September 2023

A photograph of old moss covered tress with gnarled trunks and leafy branches extending upwards.

CÂN Y COED Rainforest Symphony is a unique collaboration between the rainforests of Wales and environmental sound artist Cheryl Beer. 

The composition is led by the vascular systems of ancient trees, ferns and moss, collated by repurposing hearing aid and biomedical sound technology, empowering nature from beneath the bark, where every note of the Symphony is led by the rainforests themselves.

Cân y Coed Rainforest Symphony reunites 5 fragile pockets of Celtic rainforest across Wales. Cheryl has unearthed a previously hidden song tapestry, weaving a biorhythmic composition from within the vascular system of trees, fern and moss. Made possible via an Unlimited Main Commission funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Cheryl spent a year working with the rainforests. Her Symphony launched at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in 2022 and has been touring since then. 

Cheryl explains how becoming suddenly hearing impaired with hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis, shaped the way in which she now composes with nature: 

​”Overnight, my life radically changed. Until that morning, I’d been a full-time musician. It was how I defined myself. Whilst waiting for my NHS hearing aids, I retreated to the woods and learnt an awakened understanding of how the natural world nurtures well-being. Compelled to ‘pay back’ nature, when I discovered that we have rainforests right here in Wales, it became my calling to raise awareness of their fragile existence. Their story, mine and that of the planet, resonated deeply. By repurposing spectral frequency, a form of visual and digital sound used in hearing aid tests, I was able to collaborate with one of the most significant ecologies across the globe and yet remarkably, we seem unaware of it. Before we can take better care of our fragile ecologies, we have to know they exist. Through my practice, I reconnect audiences with our carbon cousins by evoking emotion that inspires us to better nurture eco- fragility.”

Thanks to support from Unlimited, Cheryl is launching a new Cân y Coed / Song of the Trees Gallery reference book, giving a uniquely personal insight into her year residency at the rainforests.

See Cheryl’s Celtic rainforest photographs here

About the artist

Wales-based sound artist Cheryl Beer composes music in collaboration with the biorhythms of nature in crisis. She does this by repurposing hearing aid and biomedical technology and notating conductivity, literally from within the natural world. Every musical note placed on the stave is led by the environment, thus empowering nature’s voice, centre stage. Interested in the relationship between sound, well-being and nature, her work raises awareness of our fragile ecologies by embodying a visceral sense of place. 




9 August 2023
4 September 2023
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