Songsmith – Jenna Burchell (SA)

 8 – 29 Feb 2016 | Free

  • Bangor Cathedral
  • Bangor University
  • Garth Pier

Soundlands’ second season concludes with South African artist Jenna Burchell’s specially commissioned installations for Bangor.

For Songsmith, Burchell has discovered forgotten cracks in Bangor’s architecture and filled them with sound art. Three cracks, fractures and gaps found in the walls, objects and streets of Bangor have been ‘mended’ with a sound instrument called a songsmith.

Each songsmith has a unique QR code nearby which allows you to reveal site-specific audio soundscapes via your smartphone.

You can find the artworks at Bangor Cathedral, on Garth Pier and at Bangor University.

« These exquisite fractures are chosen for their age-long histories and rich narratives, they tell of the beauty of life despite complications and imperfections. » ― Jenna Burchell

To repair the cracks, Jenna has created unique casts following a method based on the Japanese art and philosophy of Kintsukuroi – repairing broken crockery with golden lacquer.

During a month-long residency in Bangor, Burchell collected ‘aural ballads’ through her encounters with local people. These soundscapes tell the stories of the everyday citizens who navigate their understanding of home, land, memory and culture in relation to each site.

How it works

  • You will need a smartphone and internet data at site.
  • Download a QR scanner app for iPhone or Android.
  • Scan the QR at site using the installed QR reader app on your smartphone.
  • Listen to the soundscape at site on your smartphone.

About the Artist

Jenna Burchell is an award winning South African artist who’s work often takes on the form of interactive sculptures, performances and large-scale installations that bring art, technology and people together in meaningful ways. She believes it is through the connection of these elements that we can inspire the future of human experience.

Burchell’s collaborative process crosses multiple industries and involves communities, places and countries around the world. Her work has been seen at national and international exhibitions.

Press quotes from reviews of previous work:

« a true master piece » – After Nyne

“[her work is] a universal creature, building delicates links between people and cultures from various countries.” – Be Art Magazine

“What is most striking is her [Burchell’s] use of sound to create an impressionistic record of place and memory” – Artsy

Soundlands Commissions

Jenna Burchell was chosen from over one hundred artists from around the world who submitted proposals to Soundlands sound art commissions for Bangor and Cwm Idwal.

Selectors: Ceri Hand, Annea Lockwood, Janek Schaefer, J Milo Taylor, Yann Seznec, Guto Roberts.

You can also experience Teffradot – Rebecca Horrox’s opera walk commission for Cwm Idwal.

Songsmith | (noun) informal | An interactive sound instrument temporarily embedded into a crack, fracture or gap found in a wall, urban object or street. Upon touching, it sings an aural ballad of the area, the history and the people who call the site home.

Kintsukuroi: (n.) (v.phr.)
“To repair with gold”; a Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Although the Songsmith exhibition is now finished, you can still listen to Burchell’s ‘aural ballads’:

Thank You

This project would not be possible without the following contributors and sponsors:


Key Project Contributors

« I met a wealth of souls during my time in Bangor, if only I could record each and every name. I would like to thank the following key contributors but please know that I am grateful to you all. » – Jenna Burchell

Alex Bailey

« Alex was a key collaborator in the creation of the soundscapes. All ambient sounds within these soundscapes are generated from voice and environment recordings captured at each relevant site in Bangor City. “Working with Alex is like having the universe hear all the sounds floating off the pier, university and cathedral and swirling them around in primordial magic.” – JB

Wyn Thomas

“For welcoming a stranger to a new town, unwavering support and connecting me to Bangor city’s residents, I would have been lost without this guidance.” – JB

Tim Cumine

“It is not an easy thing to produce new interactive work within a month in a foreign city. Local creative Tim Cuming put aside his time to help with mine unconditionally. Thank you Tim, I could not have done it without you.” – JB


“This creative haven is filled with song, laughter, artists, musicians, foresters and even a kitchen sink. They put up with me hammering, drilling, sanding, messing and chemical mixing. Thank you TOGY for setting me up in your studios and for the great company.” – JB

image TOGY

The Old Goods Yard (TOGY)

Sioned Davies

“A huge thanks to this capable young lady, she was my rock and support in unsteady moments.” – JB

Dominic Chennell

“Thanks for working with me through the last days on site. We may have missed the train, but certainly not the boat.” – JB

Leinster Grimes

“I’ve been fortunate to work with you for many years often in the early hours of the morning soldering circuitry. Thank you for your time, passion and unwavering electronic engineering support.” – JB

Songsmith in production image

Songsmith in production

Bangor image


Special Mentions

  • Colin Daimond (TOGY)
  • Dawn Worsely (site permissions)
  • Andrew Lewis (for allowing me to work in Bangor University Electroacoustic Music Studios)
  • Emyr Wyn Hughes (Bangor University Estates Dept. Technical Officer)
  • Mark Warwick (for cleaning out his studio for me to work in)
  • Stanley Stewart (for installing power at the pier)
  • Susan Booth (DAC Secretary/Churches Conservation and Development Officer)
Meeting the mayors of Bangor image

Meeting the mayors of Bangor

Audio Contributors

  • Bangor Cathedral congregation
  • Bangor University Chamber Choir
  • Bangor Cathedral Youth Choir
  • Ben Agenten
  • Bethan Parry
  • Caenwen
  • Canon Dr David Fisher
  • Derek Hainge
  • Doreen Madge
  • Doug Madge
  • Eve Butler
  • Hedd Thomas
  • John Martin
  • John Ogwen
  • Joseph Harper
  • June Marshell
  • Keith Marshell
  • Mared Emlyn
  • Penrhyn Male Voice Choir
  • Sally Harper
  • Terry Thomas
  • Wyn Thomas
Mared Emlyn's harp image

Mared Emlyn’s harp

Penrhyn Male Voice Choir image

Penrhyn Male Voice Choir

Terry on Garth Pier image



« Lastly to Kate Roden at Mount House for housing me, and to my Bangor friends Adrian Mendonca, Elly Chang, Pavni Mehra, Jaremdi Wati Longchar, Louie Pereira, thanks for keeping me company and feeding my soul with laughter, may we meet again. » – JB

images courtesy of the artist

Funders & Sponsors