On June 23, the National History Museum will open its doors for a special free evening event that brings together the worlds of English folk and international literature as part of Exhibition Road Music Day.
The world premiere of Live & Roar: An Axolotl Odyssey will be the first musical performance to take place in the museum’s magnificent Darwin Centre Atrium – a wildly imaginative venue for a project with some truly original inspiration.
Following a unique composer residency at ZSL London Zoo, Man Booker Prize winning author DBC Pierre, Andy Mellon of folk titans Bellowhead, and The Seth Lakeman Band’s Ben Nicholls endeavored to create their vivid collaboration that fuses spoken word with music, the arts and conservation.
DBC Pierre far-reaching narrative charts the plight of the curious and heavily endangered Axolotl, which today struggles to survive in the wet lands of Mexico City.
The tale touches on ideas of fate, extinction and being on the edge and has been described as a playful yet poignant tale of our time, existing somewhere between Hunter S Thompson and Peter and the Wolf.
Growing up in Mexico City himself, DBC Pierre became enthralled by the weird and wonderful amphibian species, keeping one as a pet which he named Ernest, who remains with the author to this day.
Bridget Nicholls is the Creative Director of An Axolotl Odyssey and Pestival, the organization behind Live & Roar, says she is excited by the ambition and scale of the performance:
“This performance brings together Mexican culture, fashion, film, music and spoken word. We wanted to create a new way of relating to the natural world to see how connected we are with it.
“DBC Pierre is the perfect wordsmith to weave a folk tale and the musicians with their traditional background have decided to pull out the Mexican cultural heritage in their music. The idea is to have a great quality night, what a high energy performance and celebrate the Axolotl, a little know creature living on the edge of existence.”
The National History Museum Live & Roar event will also feature a performance by experimental opera vocalist Loré Lixenberg, who has previously worked with Jerry Springer the Opera, Stelarc and Bruce McLean. Loré will open the evening at sunset with a premiere of her new work, Bird, summoning the birds of the traditional British garden to appear using only her voice.
Vanessa Reed, Executive Director for PRS for Music Foundation, one of the partners behind the event, also commented on the evening and how new music and creativity is supported and promoted by the PRS:
“PRS for Music Foundation funds composer residencies in a wide range of settings to enable new audiences to enjoy new music by some of the UK’s most imaginative artists. The Live & Roar premiere at the Natural History Museum’s Darwin Atrium is the result of a unique composer residency at London Zoo. This will be a fascinating performance.”
Live & Roar: An Axolotl Odyssey is part of the London 2012 festival and has been organised in a partnership with Pestival, Arts Fellow at ZSL London Zoo, Discovering Places and the PRS for Music Foundation.
The event is for adults and children aged over 14. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance online.
Ever written a song about a rare amphibian? What other strange subject matter has inspired you or your favourite artists?
What’s the strangest music venue you’ve ever been to or played at?