Music with and for nature.

Multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer Cosmo Sheldrake dedicates his latest album Wake-Up Calls to endangered bird species. In a nine year period Cosmo Sheldrake created an album composed almost entirely out of recordings of endangered British birdsong. In the following short documentary COSMO SHELDRAKE – GOING PLACES, filmed by Orban Wallace, the sound artist talks about the fascinating process behind his music.

Sound – A powerful tool in conservation

Sheldrake recently wrote an article published by the magazine Resurgence & Ecologist highlighting the urgency of conservation action and his personal dedication:

“I am 31 years old and I grew up in London, and even within my lifetime I have noticed dramatic changes in bird population and the volume of birdsong. One in four UK bird species is now on the Red list of conservation concern. In the last 50 years we have lost 40 million birds in the UK. Some of Britain’s most celebrated songbirds have been added to the Red list in recent years, including nightingales, skylarks, song thrushes and cuckoos. These trends do not have to be a one-way trajectory, and with effective conservation initiatives is possible for bird populations to recover. Two recent success stories include the nightjar and the bittern, which have moved from the Red list to the Amber…. It is my hope that this music will serve as wake-up call to help us become more aware of the glorious polyphonic sound worlds that surround us before many of these voices become extinct, and to remind us not to take for granted any of these creatures and the music that they make.” (Sheldrake, 2021)

Sheldrake sees sound as a powerful tool in conservation and points to the successful conservation example of marine biologist and fish ecologist Steve Simpson, who uses a technique called “acoustic enrichment” in which sounds from healthy reefs are played in damaged reefs, helping fish to recolonize affected areas. While this effect may not be directly applicable to bird conservation, Sheldrake believes that “the way in which we design, conserve and contribute to our acoustic environment can have an impact on our biodiversity and the health of our ecosystems”. (Sheldrake, 2021)

I would like to invite you to listen to Cosmo Sheldrake’s delightful album Wake-Up Calls (which, by the way, is also available on vinyl) and his enchanting Evening Chorus (Live in the Bluebells).


Sheldrake, C. (2021). Wake-up call. Resurgence & Ecologist, Issue March/April: p. 46, Devon, Uk: Resurgence Trust

Image Sources:

© Cosmo Sheldrake, Orban Wallace, Galliant Film
© Cosmo Sheldrake, Tradigrade Records

Ingrid Ruegemer

Fields of Expertise: Art, Craft, Design