Berlin is the city of nightingales. The birds love the big city’s undergrowth and, according to the jazz musician and philosophy professor David Rothenberg, also its urban noise level. Nightingales take up the sounds of their surroundings – whether human voices or street noise –, imitate them and react to them.
Their peculiar compositions of twittering, chirping, buzzing and whirring and their fast rhythm of trills, clicks and whistling noises, gurgling and chuckling sound more like techno than dulcet melodies. Rothenberg, who has created music with whales and insects, wind and water, processed his encounters with Berlin’s nightingales in an album, a film and a book. He jammed with nightingales in Hasenheide, Treptower Park and Tiergarten and spoke to neurobiologists and behavioral biologists about the sound and communication of the songbirds. The result is both a poetic cultural history of the nightingale and an exploration of the relationship between noise, music and poetry.
For the beginning of the nightingale season in Berlin, Rothenberg invites the audience to join him on a nightly concert stroll with Berlin musicians and the nightingales of the Tiergarten.
On Music: Nightingala with David Rothenberg
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, | John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10 | 10557 Berlin