The Glee Instinct

The Essay, Earth Music Bristol Episode 1 of 5

Richard Mabey

The Glee Instinct

Richard Mabey reflects on how and why we like to sing together. The first of five essays inspired by the musical content of the first Earth Music Bristol festival.

Richard Mabey reflects on the compulsion of so many organisms, from humans to cicadas, not just to sing, but to sing together, ensemble, to "join in" - rowdily, competitively, harmoniously. Largely a personal story: the revelation of early music at school and the romance of singing with girls, listening to roots flamenco in the Extremaduran outback and cranes duetting at the nest in Norfolk (and to David Rothenberg jamming with marsh warblers). Does this choral impulse spring from archetypal group dancing? Is it encoded in us as social glue, a precursor of language?

Richard Mabey is the foremost nature writer in Britain today: among his books are Food for Free, Nature Cure, Flora Britannica, and Whistling in the Dark
Producer: Tim Dee.

Release date:

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 21 Nov 2011 22:45

The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

The Essay podcast

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Listen Online First

The Essay Online First

Hear all five episodes of the latest episodes of the Essay before they're broadcast