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Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Wednesday, 21 July 2010 16:42 UK
Swansea artists' lament for the bees
image shows one person in beekeepers suit recording the sound of the bees
For the Bees project is part of International Year of Biodiversity celebrations

Artists Owen and Fern are worried about honey bees.

So they have formed a choir to sing a specially-commissioned piece of music, based on bee sounds, in an 'act of shared concern' for bees.

The choristers will sing For The Bees to hives in the grounds of Swansea University.

And their human audience will be encouraged to visit their mobile bee cinema, a gold caravan, to see a film called Vanishing of the Bees.

The idea is that this coming together to sing really is a poetic gesture to the bees, to reconnect and engage people, to see that the bees are in trouble.
Owen Griffiths

'B' side

The artists hope that the singing, along with the goodwill of the singers, will have a positive effect on the health of the bees.

They will record one performance and issue it as a ten-inch vinyl record with a recording of different bee species on the 'B' side.

In addition, their public performances are intended to raise awareness about the loss of the honey bee and the ecological implications.

The idea of testing the project's proposed positive effects on the bees' honey production did get as far as the shortlist for Radio 4's BBC Amateur Scientist of 2010 on the programme Material World.

Owen Griffiths said: "This all started because me and my partner Fern Thomas had a general concern about the honey bee."

He said that there was a tradition of visiting local beehives to talk to the bees.

"People would tell the bees their troubles," he said, "in a way they would offload."

"By stealing their honey for the winter, we have been taking away from them and we wanted to give something back."

Bee lament

Most of the choir members are amateurs who have been attracted to the project through social networking websites.

Mr Griffiths added that the music, which was composed in collaboration with musician Mial Watkins, will be sung acapella.

image of one of the artists spraying the caravan gold
Penny is their mobile cinema where they will show a film about bees

He said: "The idea is that this coming together to sing to the bees really is a poetic gesture to the bees, to reconnect and engage people, to see that the bees are in trouble.

"It's going to have a very haunting quality to it - it's like a lament to the bees."

So how do they know that the bees will enjoy their singing?

"They will make it abundantly clear if they want us to move away," he said, laughing.

It will be performed for the first time at the Royal Entomological Society's meeting at Swansea University on 27 July with public events being held on 6 and 9 August.

For the Bees is working in partnership with International Year of Biodiversity 2010, The Co-operative, Safle, Swansea Metropolitan University, Taliesin Arts Centre and Swansea Community Farm.

For the Bees is part of the world-wide celebrations of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.

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