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The Kid Should See This

The Dawn Chorus: Bird puppets play in a jazz band

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In the short film titled The Dawn Chorus, a jazz quintet celebrates avian morning song with “a mix of high-end style alongside playful puppetry inspired by Alexander Calder, fingerbobs, and simple automata.”

Written and directed by George Wu, the 2018 short was commissioned by the UK’s Channel 4 Random Acts. From her interview with Designboom:

“‘My work explores both the beautiful and the ridiculous,’ says Wu. ‘I loved cheeky hand puppets from the 70s and 80s TV we saw as children, and so I’ve set hand-crafted funny little characters to elegant jazz.’”

The musicians: Doug Kemp on double bass, Athos Tsiopani on piano, Finlay Hetherington on trumpet, Murray Wham on clarinet, and Terry Peng on drums.

The term “dawn chorus” refers to the melodious chorus of birdsong that occurs during the early hours of the morning, usually just before sunrise.

Dawn chorus is a natural phenomenon. Songbirds, in particular, engage in these intense vocalizations. From The Woodland Trust:

“Early mornings are too dark to search for food, and too dark to be spotted by predators. That makes it the perfect time to sing. As there is less background noise and the air is so still, sound carries around 20 times further than it would later in the day.”

dawn chorus quintet
Watch these related puppet, bird, and jazz videos next:
Mummenschanz on The Muppet Show (1976)
Three classic “Muppet Hands” films (1971)
How to make puppets with Jim Henson (1969)
• Mechanical singing bird box automata of the 1700s
• British Birdsong, an illustrated montage of sound
• How do birds learn to sing?
• Plantpot Parabolic, a DIY reflector for recording birdsong on a smartphone
• Glas, Bert Haanstra‘s Oscar-winning documentary short film (1959)

Bonus: Talkin’ Scat with Hoots the Owl and Gordon on Sesame Street.

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