(click to enlarge)


It is the year 2001.Men are still setting eel traps and trawling the riverbed as they have done for hundreds of years. People are crossing the river on the Woolwich Ferry. The Thames barrier rises and sinks to protect London from possible floods. Water laps the banks. Boats sail the river, their wash hisses along the shingle. Foghorns boom, piers creak, barge sails flap. Shipyards clang distantly and iron buoys strain against the tide. People work and play along the river or its shores- mudlarks squelch, tour guides blare from their boats. And the river is rich in wildlife - Canvey Island seals bark, Shelduck cry on the Isle Of Sheppey, and the heronary on Grain goes through another breeding season. All of these threads, and many more, have been captured and woven into a sound scape and short film about the River Thames, made by site specific sonic artist, Lee Berwick.

by Lee Francis, Feb.2001


Your treasure my trove OFT in my hand
Your surface my mirror OFT in my gaze
Your company my refuge OFT at my side
Your past my fascination OFT in my thoughts
Your tides my measure OFT through the year
Your depths my unrest OFT in my dreams
Your path my pilgrimage OFT at my feet


In 1998 Lee Berwick had the idea to record the sounds of the River Thames throughout the last year of the millennium, and to present them in 2000 as a historical glimpse of this great river. Lee then contacted "The Museum Of", an organisation that had been running a series of temporary museums on London's Southbank, after hearing that their next exhibition was to be about The River Thames. During discussions with them, Lee mentioned that he had a boyhood dream to walk to the source of the Thames. This admission eventually resulted in the museum commissioning the piece "Yatra, a short walk to the source". A Yatra is a pilgrimage made by the holymen of India to the source of a river, often to that most sacred of waterways, The Ganges. So, after some planning and sponsorship, Lee decided to undertake the walk of 175 miles from Tower Bridge to the source of The Thames, between Swindon and Cirencester. In January 2001 he set out with a digital camera and the intention of filming in both directions from each of the 130 bridges that spanned the river. He then edited the footage into a short film accompanied by a soundtrack made entirely from the sounds he had recorded of the river the previous year,along with a few collected on the walk. This film is now on show at The Museum Of The Thames ,The Bargehouse, Bargehouse Street, London from March 24th to July 1st. A dance piece performed to a score composed entirely from Thames sounds, is to be performed in Stockholm, Sweden at an experimental dance festival by The Su-en Butoh Dance Company. The piece is entitled "Yatra, a journey to the source of the body" and will take place in May 2001.


(Click to hear)

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About Lee Berwick

Lee has lived in Bermondsey, South-East London, on the banks of The Thames for the past ten years. Prior to that an interest in mudlarking and fishing often brought him to the river. From an early age he has had a deep appreciation of the river and is keenly aware of its continually changing nature and life. After a career in computer networking and much world-wide travel, he opened the Digidub Recording Studios in 1989. A record label soon followed, along with many record and CD releases. Experimentation and focus on art has always been of prime importance in his work. For more info on this part of Lee's work, check out the rest of this site


The Museum Of
Tascam Electronics
Video Europe
Thames Water
All the Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts
who gave Lee a free meal and a bed for the night


Links: www.thames.org.uk

e :mudskipper@digidub.net

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