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Hant, one of the HERD sheep sculptures, on a floating dock.
Hant at The Old Mill on 12 July, HERD 2023, devised by Orlando Gough, produced by Artichoke, part of Kirklees Year of Music. Photo by Matthew Andrews.

A genre-defying musical mash-up of epic proportions 

A major new project produced by Artichoke as part of Kirklees Year of Music 2023

herd-kirklees.co.uk

A life-affirming musical exhibition as part of Kirklees Year of Music 

Devised by composer Orlando Gough and produced by Artichoke, HERD took place around Kirklees during July 2023 as part of Kirklees Year of MusicThe KYOM23 flagship project was a ground-breaking collaboration between artists, musicians and hundreds of schoolchildren and community members.

This musical and sculptural odyssey of epic proportions involved a community of makers, hundreds of local schoolchildren and many hundreds more members of music groups including brass bands, bleatboxing, choral groups, boliyaan music, and many other musicians.

Over six magical days from 11 – 16 July 2023, 23 larger-than-life sheep, unlike any you’ve ever seen or heard, appeared in surprising places across the beautiful Kirklees countryside. Designed by Huddersfield-based artist Dave Young, working with heritage craft practitioners, each sheep sculpture had its own unique identity. Wired for sound, these musical sheep sculptures sang original compositions into the landscape, moving from the rural boundaries of Kirklees as they were herded towards town and city.

This epic event culminated in Huddersfield’s St George’s Square on Sunday 16 July as thousands gathered for an immersive day of sound and music. Positioned around the square and loaded with speakers, the sheep sculptures effectively created a surround-sound environment that the audience could hear from wherever they stood.  

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23

singing sheep across Kirklees

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350

community singers & musicians

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900

schoolchildren and one ancient sheep counting song

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21

soundscapes

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15,000

attended the HERD finale

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Event of the Year 2023

Yorkshire Post Tourism Awards

Watch the highlights

Audience at HERD event in St George's Square

18 months in the making, HERD forged deep connections within the community, participants and passers-by alike.

The monumental work intertwined the industrial and cultural narratives of Kirklees and paid homage to its rich musical heritage and its historical ties to the textiles industry. At the heart of the project, the 23 handcrafted musical sheep sculptures wove together tales of movement, sound, industry, and labour, symbolising the enduring significance of the wool trade for Yorkshire and its people.

Throughout the week, passers-by across Kirklees stumbled upon the sheep broadcasting original soundscapes into the landscape, leading them on an epic sonic journey around Kirklees’ rich musical culture. The diverse range of soundscapes were commissioned from local sound artists, and expertly mixed by Orlando Gough and sound designers Sebastian Frost and John Del’Nero. They drew together found sounds from Kirklees past and present, with recordings of the musical performances. 

Why sheep?

HERD celebrates the enormous influence that sheep have had and contribution they have made to this part of Yorkshire and its people. The history of Kirklees is rooted in the textile industry. Wool and water brought succeeding generations to work in the mills, bringing with them their own unique musical traditions.

The musical sheep were designed by Huddersfield-based artist Dave Young, working with heritage craft practitioners, each having its own unique identity. Ranging in size from 1 – 4 metres high, they were made from a variety of materials including textiles, willow, salvaged and recycled junk. They were wired for sound by Sebastian Frost and John Del’Nero, experts in sound design.

The sheep were each named after the ancient sheep-counting song, Yan Tan Tethera, which is derived from the Celtic Brythonic language. The names of the sheep are:

Aina, Bumfitt, Covero, Dix, Eddero, Fethera, Giggit, Hant, Ix, Jiggit, Kindra, Ludd, Methera, Nant, Odra, Pethera, Qethera, Ranadik, Sesan, Tethera, Umphit, Vedero, Wix.

The Soundscape

Boliyaan group, led by Swarnjit Kaur, featuring Hardeep Sahota in St George’s Square performing in the finale on 16 July. Photo by Studio Bokehgo

The richly layered soundscape for HERD celebrates a district with a culture rich in music of all forms. The piece traces the cultural and industrial story of Kirklees, through its multicultural musical traditions, from rural idyll to the present day. Inspired by the woollen trade, its industrial heritage and the people who came from all over to work in the textile mills, HERD’s soundscape knits together multicultural musical traditions and identities.

The sound artists that took part include Chris Ruffoni, Jaydev Mistry, Jo Kennedy, Yorkshire Sound Women Network, Monty Adkins, Rob Crisp, HOOT, Sunil Kalyan, and Sam Hodgson, Ruby Wood, Thabo Mkwananzi, Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones, Supriya Nagarajan, Donovan Christopher (Debo), Huddersfield Choral Society, Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir, Shepley Singers, Hade Edge Brass Band, Skelmanthorpe Brass Band and school choirs.

“I always like to make work that encompasses all kinds of different types of music and make connections between musicians who don’t normally work together. HERD was my dream commission. It was an honour to be able to work with so many great musicians from different cultures, all local to the area, and to have them working together in exciting ways.”

~ Orlando Gough, composer and creator of HERD ~

Turn your sound on to hear an excerpt of the soundscape...

Artists

A profile photo of composer Orlando Gough. He has dark curly hair and appears to be deep in thought
Artist Profile

Orlando Gough

Orlando Gough is a composer (and sometimes lyricist, librettist, music director, MC, recording engineer, cookery writer), who writes operas, choral music, music-theatre, music for dance and theatre, and creates large-scale site-specific work.

 

Website Link

An image of a man in a green and black checkered shirt. The large torso of a puppet made from chicken wire and stuffing can be seen behind him. He is holding a huge partially finished puppet head infront of his face. The wire skelleton of the human head is mostly covered in white cloth. It has eyeballs and eyelids installed aswell.
Artist Profile

Dave Young

Dave is an artist, maker, bodger, artificer, and apprentice rogue alchemist. Since 1995 he has worked as a sculptor, animator and film-maker, blacksmith, metalworker, pyro-technician, set-builder, puppeteer and workshop leader.

He works closely and collaboratively with many other artists, dreamers, makers, musicians, performers and technicians, designing & making giant puppets, mechanical beasts, installations and machineries of joy for outdoor arts events, festivals & processions.

He started his working life with the pioneering celebratory arts company Welfare State International and has worked closely with companies such as MacnasPa-Boom and Walk the Plank.

His work is collaborative, wistful, and humorous, filled with joy, created for the love of it, and made with genuine blood, sweat and tears. He is based in West Yorkshire, UK, although he mostly lives in a country of his own imagining.

Website Link

A face-on headshot of Sebastian Frost in black and white. He is wearing a flowery shirt
Artist Profile

Sebastian Frost

Sebastian has designed sound for plays, musicals and opera in London’s West End and on Broadway, and from Cape Town to Sydney.

In 2008 he received the first ever ‘Best Sound Design for a Musical’ Tony Award nomination for Sunday In The Park With George. Immersive soundscape design is often a focus for his work. Sebastian has created the sounds for a unique range of exhibitions, visitor experiences and art installations.

Website Link

Charlie Morrissey profile in black and white
Artist Profile

Charlie Morrissey

Charlie has worked in live performance since 1988. He has collaborated on, devised and directed large and small scale pieces in different landscapes: on the shoreline, in the sea, on cliffs, in the street, in parks, theatres, galleries and buildings ranging from a castle to a glass house. He’s also worked as a performer, teacher and director in many different countries around the world.

Charlie organises and produces Wainsgate Dances, a programme of dance at Wainsgate Chapel in Yorkshire, with his partner Rob Hopper, which aims to make dance happen in a non-institutionalised space.

Website Link

John recording sounds of the sea
Artist Profile

John Del’Nero

John began his career in London’s West End on productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Billy Liar and Jeeves.

He designed the sound for the original Rocky Horror Show and has been Sound Designer for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for the past 20 years. He has worked for Royal Families in the UK and abroad including Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

John has worked with Artichoke on Ready to Drop in collaboration with Orlando Gough, Hilary Westlake’s Dining with Alice and Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw’s Peace Camp.

Website Link

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