Embark on a musical and sculptural odyssey of epic proportions with HERD: a spectacular sonic feast for the eyes and the ears

11-16 July 2023
Various locations across Kirklees
Finale event, 16 July, St Georges Square, Huddersfield

  • 23 singing sheep
  • 7 sound artists
  • 21 soundscapes
  • 200 schoolchildren and one ancient sheep counting song
  • 400 community singers & musicians
  • 5 future songs
  • 1 extraordinary finale that will stay in the memory forever

HERD is aground-breaking project devised by composer Orlando Gough and produced by leading arts production company Artichoke as part of Kirklees Year of Music 2023.

This vast, multi-layered, musical odyssey and exhibition – 18 months in the making –is a unique collaboration between artists and local people. It traces the cultural and industrial story of Kirklees, through its many musical traditions, past, present and future. From 11-16 July, a series of original soundscapes will echo across Kirklees, punctuated by the music of hundreds of local musicians, from brass bands to boliyaan, choral to gospel, beatboxing, Carnatic singing, school choirs and much more. The soundscapes were commissioned from local artists and then mixed together by Orlando Gough and sound designers Sebastian Frost and John Del’Nero with the recorded performances by the choirs, bands and soloists involved in HERD.

HERD begins with a single giant mother sheep (Aina), broadcasting her soundscape into the distance. Over six days, 23 larger-than-life sheep sculptures of various sizes will appear across Kirklees, each singing their own individual soundscape. As the week progresses, the sheep will move from more rural locations into the towns, their sounds reflecting a more urban and industrial reality as they go. Look out for appearances in Batley, Cleckheaton, Dewsbury, Mirfield, Slaithwaite and elsewhere. The HERD will finally arrive in St George’s Square, Huddersfield on Sunday 16 July for an epic sonic spectacle, that will bring together all the hundreds of musical contributors for a stunning concluding performance of five specially-commissioned future songs for Kirklees.

Why sheep?  The history of Kirklees is rooted in the textile industry.  Wool and water brought succeeding generations to work in the mills, bringing with them their own unique musical traditions.  HERD weaves a captivating tale of movement and sound, industry and labour, and pays homage to the profound influence of the wool trade on the rich tapestry of Yorkshire and its people.

The Sheep

The musical sheep sculptures are designed and created by Huddersfield-based artist Dave Young, in collaboration with heritage craft practitioners. Ranging in size from 1 – 4 metres high, they are made from a variety of materials including textiles, willow, salvaged and recycled junk. They will be wired for sound by Sebastian Frost and John Del’Nero, experts in sound design. 

The sheep sculptures all have their own unique sound and character, and are each named after the ancient sheep-counting song, Yan Tan Tethera, which is derived from the Celtic Brythonic language. The sheep names in alphabetical order are:

Aina, Bumfitt, Covero, Dix, Eddero, Fethera, Giggit, Hant, Ix, Jiggit, Kindra, Ludd, Methera, Nant, Odra, Pethera, Qethera, Ranadik, Sesan, Tethera, Umphit, Vedero, Wix.

Yan Tan Tethera and Schools

900 local schoolchildren have been involved in helping to design and decorate Kindra, one of our 23 sheep.

As part of the schools’ programme for HERD, primary school pupils have been taking part in workshops to learn the words and music to Yan Tan Tethera. They will perform the song to Kindra as she tours Kirklees schools during the week that HERD takes place.

HERD has spread its woollen web wide amongst local youth across the Kirklees region. Rap artist Donovan Christopher (Debo) has worked with groups of schoolchildren and young people to create two spoken word pieces that will form part of the soundscape for Jiggit, the youth sheep. Sing & Sew is another strand aimed at young people, with creative workshops focused on the cultural and industrial heritage of Kirklees, working in partnership with Woven and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Artists and Musicians

HERD is an extraordinary collaboration between artists and musicians and the local community, working with Orlando Gough and Artichoke and developed over 18 months. Seven sound artists were commissioned to create soundscapes, which were then mixed together by Orlando Gough, Sebastian Frost and John Del’Nero with the recorded performances by the choirs, bands and soloists involved in HERD. 

Sound artists taking part include Chris Ruffoni, Jaydev Mistry, Jo Kennedy, Yorkshire Sound Women Network, Monty Adkins, Rob Crisp, HOOT, Sunil Kalyan, and Sam Hodgson, the host and researcher of Kirklees Year of Music’s oral history podcast TOWNSOUNDs. Featuring Ruby Wood (of Submotion Orchestra), Thabo Mkwananzi, Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones, Supriya Nagarajan, Donovan Christopher (Debo), Huddersfield Choral Society, Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir, Shepley SingersHade Edge Brass Band, Skelmanthorpe Brass Band, school choirs and many more…

HERD Grand Finale & the “Future Songs”

On Sunday 16 July, the whole herd of 23 sheep will gather in St George’s Square, Huddersfield, for a spectacular immersive day of sound and music. Open to the public from midday, everyone is invited to come and see the sheep installed in the square, and listen to them broadcast their soundscapes to the world and each other. 

HERD will conclude with a grand finale event at 5pm, choreographed by Charlie Morrisey. Five specially-commissioned “future songs”, will be performed by the hundreds from the Kirklees community, including primary and secondary schoolchildren, who have contributed to this epic event, with special appearances by Seyed Mohammedreza Beladi, Jaydev Mistry, Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones. The songs have been composed by local musicians including: Rob Bradley, Noah Burton, Martin Chung, Thabo Mkwananzi, Ruby Wood, Supriya Nagajaran, Sunil Kaliyan and Testament. Future song 5 is composed by Orlando Gough.


Notes to Editors
For more information about HERD and the Kirklees Year of Music, please visit the official website at https://herd-kirklees.co.uk/about/ or contact info@kirkleesyearofmusic.co.uk.

For further press information, to arrange a visit or interview please contact Herd@Kallaway.com

HERD is supported by:
Kirklees Council
Arts Council England
National Lottery Heritage Fund
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Canal & River Trust
One Community Foundation

About Orlando Gough
Orlando Gough is a composer (and sometimes lyricist, librettist, music director, MC, recording engineer, cookery writer), who writes operas, choral music, music-theatre, music for dance and theatre, and creates large-scale site-specific work.

About Artichoke

Founded in 2005, Artichoke is one of the UK’s leading creative companies and a registered charity and is part of Art Council England’s National Portfolio. The company’s aim is to work with artists to create unique, large-scale experiences that appeal to the widest possible audience and to use art to disrupt the everyday to create a new kind of world that we’d all like to live in. They believe the arts should not take place behind the closed doors of theatres, concert halls or galleries. Instead, they work in the street, public squares, along the coast and in the countryside across the UK, bringing communities together through learning and participation work leaving a legacy of skills and new-found potential behind.

Artichoke.uk.com | @artichoketrust | https://herd-kirklees.co.uk/

About Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOMO23)
Kirklees Year of Music in 2023, is a unique, place-based, cultural change programme initiated and led by Kirklees Council, part of the wider cultural offer in the region of West Yorkshire over the coming three years.  2023 is designated as a Year of Music for the district and, through investment in the district’s diverse music talent, communities and businesses, the year-long programme of events and projects, will strengthen the music ecology of Kirklees from its roots.  2023 will celebrate the richness and diversity of Kirklees music heritage, the music created and performed today, and the ambition for the future, inclusive of all music genres, all communities and in all forms. 

Kirklees is a place where everyone can hear world class music through festivals and programming; where children and young people have access to high quality musical experiences and education; and where the next generation of musicians and music professionals can build and sustain a high-quality career, with access to the very best industry advice, career opportunities and performance routes.

@musicinkirklees | #kirkleesyearofmusic | #YearOfMusic2023 | #kyom23 | https://www.musicinkirklees.co.uk/

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £440 million of public money from Government and an estimated £93 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk.   

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies responsible for administering the Government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund of which we delivered over £1 billion to the sector in grants and loans. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspirelead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.  

Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund.

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK.

WOVEN is a biennial festival that began in 2019, with the next event running from 3rd June to 9th July 2023. WOVEN was created and funded by Kirklees Council, but is owned by everyone, including community groups, textile businesses, cultural and educational organisations, artists and heritage sites across the district.

WOVEN’s theme focuses on generations of innovators, connecting West Yorkshire’s Kirklees’ strong heritage with today’s innovative developments in industry, university research, a strong arts and crafts scene and the creative expression of the district’s rich and diverse communities.

Though the big festival event will happen in June every other year, there will also be long term projects and smaller events happening in between.

Sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date on events and ways to get involved.

#WOVEN23 #GrowingColourTogether Website|Facebook page|Instagram @WovenInKirklees|Twitter @WovenInKirklees