Nene Valley-inspired community songbook looking for ivory-tinklers, horn-blowers, warblers, box-squeezers and strummers

The songs can be from any genre but must be inspired by the River Nene, its valley and communities

By Alison Bagley
Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 6:00 am

Organisers of a county-based environmental group, that champions the Nene Valley, are looking for talented musicians across the county to compose songs for a new creative community book.

Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme is calling for pieces of music and songs inspired by the places in the Nene Valley to create a book of songs.

In partnership with Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Nenescape will be launching a community songbook.

Hot air balloon over wetlands in the Nene Valley credit: Rose May photography

Alison Brand-Barker, Nenescape's interpretation and community engagement officer, said: "From classical to pop rock to folk, the type of music or instrument do not matter, and the team would love to hear from people who have never written music before or have been writing for decades.

"What matters is that the music is inspired by a place in the Nene Valley, so get creative and write your own ‘Northampton Number’, ‘Oratorio for Oundle’ or ‘Rushden Rap’."

In November 2017, a 25-minute piece of music, ‘Nene’, was performed by over 1,500 local young people at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal & Derngate in Northampton and Peterborough Cathedral.

It has since been rearranged by Higham Ferrers-born composer Benjamin Till into nine short sections for community choirs and singing groups to perform, and it is now available for free and in full on Nenescape’s website.

The pieces follow the flow of the river downstream, starting at its source at Badby and ending where the River Nene meets the sea at the Wash. While so many of us are spending much more time at home, Nenescape is calling for composers and music writers of all genres to record their musical creations and send them in.

Alison added: "So many of us are now exploring our local area more, taking time to get inspired by the wildlife, plants and trees you see, as well as the River Nene.

"If you’re unable to head out and about, visit to see an archive of hundreds of photos, stories, videos and more that is sure to get your creativity flowing."

Mr Till will choose a winner, which will feature on the Nenescape website and all entries will be shared on social media.

Please visit the Nenescape website at for more information about this and other things to do in lockdown.

The National Heritage Lottery Heritage fund brings together River Nene Regional Park, with Nenescape project partners: University of Northampton, Wildlife Trust (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire), Natural England, East Northamptonshire Council, Nene Park Trust, Rockingham Forest Trust, Destination Nene Valley, The Environment Agency, the Angling Trust, Screen Northants, the University of Nottingham – Horizon Digital Economy Research, Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, Icarus and the One to One Development Trust.

A message from the Editor: Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper when you do your weekly shop.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you