Minsmere has long been known as a great place to watch wildlife, and as somewhere where the RSPB has pioneered new conservation techniques. It’s also a popular place for photographers and wildlife artists, with our regular art and photographic exhibitions attracting lots of interest.
Last night, for one night only, Minsmere also became a live music venue, as we welcomed Kate Doubleday and band for the latest leg of her Hideaway tour.
Kate Doubleday is a talented singer/songwriter whose folk music is inspired by the natural world, especially around her home town of Borth in West Wales. Her latest EP, for example, is titled pied flycatcher, with the title track celebrating one of the special birds found at RSPB Ynys-Hir nature reserve, home of this year’s BBC Springwatch series, where Kate has spent some time volunteering.
The Hideaway tour is unique, as Kate has been performing in hides and visitor centres at RSPB reserves, in aid of the RSPB. Kate has been joined on the tour by multi-talented instrumentalists Trevor Lines (on acoustic bass and ukulele) and Dan Wilkins (guitar and kora). As well as singing, Kate plays guitar and flute.
For the Minsmere leg of her tour, the visitor centre reception was converted into an informal, cosy venue for live music in front of a small but enthusiastic audience.
As well as the pied flycatcher, Kate’s gorgeous, and at times haunting, lyrics take their inspiration from the sea, wild flowers, and her own family. Her voice is superbly complimented by the simple acoustic instruments. Dan’s kora – a West African 24 string harp (below) – has a particularly impressive sound.
Kate’s tour is continues on Monday at Thatcham Discovery Centre, Berkshire, followed by further gigs at RSPB Rye Meads, Hertfordshire, RSPB Rainham Marshes, London and RSPB Conwy, North Wales. For further details, see Kate’s website.