The weather creates so many sources for making sound and music. On a typical West of Ireland winter’s day, we hear the wind turn telephone wires into string instruments and make flutes out of gate-posts, while rain makes a drum of the roof. Inspired by this natural symphony, Hope it Rains artistic director Ríonach Ní Néill and sound artist/musical instrument designer Ed Devane collaborated on a suite of hand-held musical instruments that are played by the weather.
Each instrument is played by two musicians – human and meteorological. The weather – wind and rain – is the lead musician, plucking and bowing strings, striking chimes, beating drums, while the human musician responds to and channels the weather’s dynamic force. Standing into the wind (i mbéal na gaoithe), we become the wind’s mouth and let it sing through us.
The Béal na Gaoithe instruments can be viewed on www.hopeitrains.ie and when it is safe to do so again, we will have opportunities for people to come outdoors to create a musical map of the weather, and duet with the elements.