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Forest of esquelles /
Forest of Cowbells

Bosc d'esquelles, is a sound project for the intervention of the natural space of the high mountain meadows and fields around Pallars sobirà, using an ancient musical instrument such as the cowbell (the esquella takes this nomenclature A las “Vidas de Sants Roussillon”, Catalan translation of the 13th-century Leyenda Àuria, where it can be read: “enaprés el se·n puyàpor la cuerda a una esquela al cluquer” (III, p. 161), thus calling the bell esquella and the cloquer the bell tower), which almost disappeared from the rural environment with the decline of grazing and livestock, the industrialization of rural areas and the loss of inhabitants of these places.

The project addresses and reflects on the idea of the specific soundscape of the high mountains, where this musical instrument converted into a rural instrument acquires relevance for shepherds when it comes to identifying and not losing any head of cattle, and how the descent and change of an economic model in the Pyrenees, it has transformed the way of life of its inhabitants, who have gone from the hard work of livestock and agriculture, to the economy of tourism.

When we talk about this new economic model for the towns of the Pyrenees, we are also talking about the change in the natural landscape and the soundscapes that are located in its surroundings. The idea of the Bosque de esquelles, aims to address this paradigm shift that has transformed both the visual aesthetics of the environment (not only due to the increase in buildings on old pasture meadows), but also many other of these places dedicated to pasture due to the lack of use, of making the beasts run through them, they have been losing the battle against the forest, which little by little has been winning the game and taking root its shoots, has been transformed into thicket, and has been transformed in less than half a century , from grasslands to forest. In this way, the project wants to highlight the transformation of the environment and the loss of the landscape, both visual and sound.

The project will be approached as an investigation into the sound of the Esquella, looking for the different types of bells that we can find for different types of beasts, and analyzing whether the different valleys or areas of the Pyrenees built these items with different materials, sounds and shapes. of being.


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