After travelling to France, Spain and Holland, I returned to the studio with the new field recordings. We had one more session to record the voices which could not have gone better. We approached the spectral analysis graphic score in many new ways which reflects very nicely on the end result.
I recorded in Rouen in the courtyard of the Joan of Arc Church. Here is where she was executed in 1431. In the small park visible in the photograph, stands a very tall cross in her memory along with a plaque marking the historical event. One of the quotes I used in the piece we created for this location is 'Hold the cross high so that I may see it through the flames'. I believe they must have had this thought in mind when they placed the cross here. It stands very high about the park. We created the piece for this location around her execution.
Next, I walked down to the river Seine. I recorded under a bridge named after Joan of arc at Pont Jeanne d'Arc. Her ashes were scattered in the river Seine so I wanted to capture what the sonic environment was like today. Rather then the perhaps expected sound of running water, I captured sounds of city traffic, the conversation of passers by and my favourite; the sound of the tram passing over the bridge above.
For María Cambrils, writer of socialism and feminism, I chose to record in the neighbourhood where she lived and wrote. This is the neighbourhood of El Cabanyal in Valancia, Spain. I recorded during siesta hours in a quiet park with a playground in El Cabanyal. I patiently recorded the sounds of some nesting swallows singing and the occasional sleepy motorbike engine passing by in an otherwise sleeping town on a hot day in April.
On the way back from Spain to England, I stopped once again in France to record one last time for Joan of Arc. This time I travelled to the city of Orléans where Joan of Arc led the French troops to victory by ridding France of the English siege. I recorded in a beautiful plaza in the centre of Orléans city. The pride and glory of this plaza was a powerful statue of Joan of Arc on horseback. The soundscape I was able to record includes the sounds of people playing football in the plaza, a fountain that was built into the floor and would occasionally shoot flumes of water into the air. Along with these sounds were the sound of bicycles passing by, conversation and the sounds of a merry-go-round and cafés that lined the plaza. A peaceful place for people to enjoy.
Last but not least, my final trip was to Holland to record for the Hannie Schaft part of the project. I had originally planned on recording in Kenau Park in Haarlem where a statue of Hannie stands. However, after learning that Hannie Schaft was shot dead at The Dunes of Bloemendaal Aan Zee I wanted to record here instead. Hannie Schaft fought for freedom during the Dutch resistance. She was 1 of 422 freedom fighters who were buried in these dunes, she was the only woman. Today these dunes are a place of leisure and partying for younsters. The beach is dotted with clubs as you can see in the photograph. I think it is poetic that where so many died for freedom now lies a haven for people to enjoy themselves without worry.
I have put together a 'making of' video of the project which is available now on the main page for the Sound Map.