Soundtracks created to accompany those walking the Artpark trails will be launched this weekend.
Park visitors are invited to grab their headphones and download a smartphone app to appreciate original compositions and musical collaborations created especially for Artpark.
The app, tested to great response last summer, was created by sound artists from Los Angeles, The Holladay Brothers, and will be available for users on Saturday.
Artpark director Sonya Clark said the composers write music that is “site selective” and “site reactive.”
“When you put your headphones on and turn on the free app, you can go walking through Artpark and there is music created for you. No matter where you turn, the music and the sound changes.”
Clark said Artpark launched the app last summer with a composition called “Cover the Water,” and she and her staff were surprised and pleased with the response.
“It was a quiet project. We didn’t advertise it much. But we discovered there were 800 downloads through August and even more in September. We didn't expect that," she said.
The app, she added, is a great way to connect with both music and nature and “see the park with different eyes.”
Also launching Saturday is a collection called "Her Moccasins Talk," focused on the park’s indigenous roots, curated by Michele-Elise Burnett, producer of the park’s Strawberry Moon Festival in August.
“Michele did an incredible job of recording that remotely,” Clark said. “It was a technological feat.”
Burnett believes the collection of music and stories from her collection may help soothe the challenges of COVID-19 and encourage park visitors to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them.
“We are in a critical time right now with the impacts of the pandemic continuing to reveal themselves with environmental challenges. With our upcoming season, we aim to show Mother Earth our love and gratitude for all the life-sustaining gifts she provides us,” Burnette said.
The Sonic Trails app is available from Saturday through Sept. 30 at www.artpark.net/sonic-trails.
A list of the compositions and collections and their launch dates on the app include:
Cover the Water
Available for download on Saturday, this piece was created by The Holladay Brothers, composers and multimedia artists, pioneers of location-aware experiences who use GPS to dynamically alter the music as the listener explores their surroundings. " Cover The Water," was birthed during their artistic residency at Artpark in 2020.
Her Moccasins Talk: Honoring all our Relations
Launching Saturday, this piece is an Indigenous journey exploring the natural world based on the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. Curated by Indigenous bridge builder Michele-Elise Burnett, along with local First Nations knowledge keepers, storytellers and singers, this music will take visitors through a mindful journey led by a nurturing matriarch voice, songs, sounds, and effects based on giving thanks to all our relations and being one with the natural world. The path along the Mighty Niagara will help guests to look inward, facing oneself, and using this time to reflect, think analytically and critically, and with the key goal of ensuring balance and harmony with all living things.
Juneteenth: From the Past to the Living Present
Launching on June 19, Grammy Award-winning musician, historian and Silkroad Ensemble Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, in collaboration with celebrated Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma, will debut "Juneteenth: From The Past To The Living Present." Weaving banjo, folk music, and storytelling, this guided walk centers the profound contributions of African Americans on American culture, music and history, seeking to imagine a society of inclusion, connection, empathy and justice.
On July 3, Paul Miller AKA DJ Spooky brings his unforgettable transcendental sound to Artpark trails with a high-energy electronic music experience, premiering three new tracks for the park visitors to hear first. You can take these heart-racing beats for a run or bike ride through Artpark to experience the trails in a whole new way.
50 for the Future
The last composition to be available on the app this season, also launches July 3, is from the world-renowned Kronos Quartet and its series of global commissions, called "50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire." Original compositions from select women composers will weave together to transport visitors through an intricate musical legacy of tradition and innovation. The experience focuses on optimism, beauty and discovery to compose a global story of interconnectedness.
The apps project is funded by M&T Bank Foundation, Grigg Lewis Foundation, Cullen Foundation, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the National Endowment on the Arts.