Bethan Huws

Singing to the Sea

This book commemorates A Work for the North Sea, an Artangel commissioned project by the artist Bethan Huws, which took place in Northumberland in 1993.

Where the end of the land meets the edge of the water, eight Bulgarian women sang to the North Sea. The women were the Bistritsa Babi (Bistritsa Grandmothers), whose repertoire included traditional songs such as Vai Dudole (A Prayer for Rain) and Sultz Saide (for the Sunset).

They sang at the edge of the North Sea near Craster on the unspoilt Northumbrian coastline over three evenings in late July. Beginning at the turning of the tide, as the repertoire of songs built, the tide began to recede.

Pitched into the wind, these haunting melodies combined with the rumbling of the sea to create a unique polyphony of sound and voice. A Work for the North Sea brought a tradition from the cradle of European civilisation to its Northern edge.

It was the first visit of the Bistritsa Babi to Britain. Includes essays by Michael Archer, Iwona Blazwick, Ulrich Loock and Pier Luigi Tazzi.

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