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Innovative Soundscape Launches To Celebrate Peak District National Park’s Anniversary

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Poet and audio artist Mark Gwynne JonesNote: the new soundscape will be available to download from Friday April 17.

An audio artwork of voices and sounds from the Peak District is being launched to start the countdown to the Peak District National Park’s 70th anniversary in 2021.

Created by poet and recording artist Mark Gwynne Jones, the new soundscape called Voices From The Peak, has been a year in the making and weaves together people’s stories, places and wildlife into an artistic audio recording.

Mark Gwynne Jones (51), said: “I wanted to create something memorable to mark the 70th anniversary of the Peak District National Park coming up in 2021 – I have lived on the edge of the National Park my whole life and it has had a huge bearing on who I am as a person and as a poet and sound artist.”

One of the inspirations for Voices From The Peak came to Mark quite early on: “I’ve had this idea for a long time… As a youth I remember listening intently to a skylark and realising just how varied their song is. But sometimes it’s the sounds of more mundane things, like the squeal of gate that suddenly strikes you as quite musical or otherworldly. When coupled with people’s stories it’s like listening to the landscape talking. And that’s what we wanted to bring out in this new soundscape.

“We want to take the listener on an audio odyssey through the Peak District. The words and sounds we have brought together evoke the atmospheres, wildlife and stories of this strange and beautiful land of contrasts.”

In the months leading up to the recent Coronavirus restrictions, Mark has recorded sounds in tunnels and old mines as well as sleeping out under the trees to catch the dawn chorus. He has spoken to miners, farmers, archaeologists and more to bring together the first chapter of the work.

“Over the next year, ahead of the National Park’s April 2021 birthday, I’ll be releasing a number of chapters. For now, Chapter One – titled Burning Drake – draws on the mysterious elements underground that have shaped not just the Peak District’s landscape and geology but also its people.”

Tom Marshall, Peak District National Park head of communications, said: “Mark’s project has always been an exciting prospect for us as we look forward to sharing our 70-year story in 2021.

“With so many of us now understandably restricted in our ability to be immersed in the Peak District in the ways we’re so often used to, Mark’s recordings will no doubt take on an added resonance as they allow us to continue hearing the National Park we know and love, from our homes.”

Voices From The Peak, Chapter One, is being released on Friday (April 17), which is the 69th anniversary of the Peak District being designated a National Park in 1951.

The soundscape can be downloaded for free from the Peak District National Park Authority’s website www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/voicesfromthepeak from Friday April 17.

You can read more about Mark Gwynne Jones and how the Peak District National Park has shaped his personal outlook and inspired his work in the latest edition of ParkLife, available to view for free at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/parklife.

Voices from the Peak has been funded by the Arts Council and supported by the Peak District National Park Authority.

More information about Mark Gwynne Jones is at www.markgwynnejones.com.

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