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A Madrigal of Magpies

by Andrew Skeoch

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The Australian Magpie has - for many - one of the most beautiful voices to be heard in the Aussie bush. If there were a collective term for a family of magpies warbling and carolling together, a madrigal (a traditional, multi-part, vocal song) would be most appropriate.

Magpies are highly intelligent and evolved songbirds with rich social relationships. Vocalisations are a big part of how they negotiate their lives, and their songs are highly fluid and quite individual. The complex sonic elements they contain convey nuanced information to other family members close by, and simultaneously advertise their presence to neighbours who may be some way distant.

This album begins with Magpies singing pleasantly among a symphony of spring morning birdsong. Then we travel to the outback, where Magpies are frequently heard singing quietly, as if to themselves, in the depths of night and into the pre-dawn. It is a quite beautiful and soothing sound.

Next, suburban Magpies call sweetly, along with Bellbirds and Rosellas, and then a family of Magpies are heard singing across a more rural landscape. We conclude with an additional track on this expanded edition; a dawn chorus of West Australian Magpies, which are a separate race with their own subtly unique repertoire.

This recording is a celebration of Magpie song - A madrigal of Magpies indeed.

Expanded edition: The final track of West Australian Magpies is an additional track not present on earlier versions of this album.


released April 10, 2009

Recording Locations:
1. Capertee Valley, NSW
2. Near MacDonnell's Peak, outback South Australia
3. Yarra Valley, near Melbourne, Victoria
4. Baringup, central Victoria
5. near Donnybrook, West Australia


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Andrew Skeoch Australia

Andrew is a master wildlife field recordist. For over 30 years, he and partner / photographer Sarah Koschak have been documenting the voices of the world's ecosystems and wild creatures. The resulting recordings have been published through their dedicated label: Listening Earth ... more

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