The therapeutic qualities of music are well known and this new release from award-winning British composer, sound artist and pianist Helen Anahita Wilson is intended to help people who are undergoing cancer treatment.
“Every single sound that you hear comes from a medicinal plant and the bioelectricity generated by living organisms” (Helen Anahita Wilson)
The music was created by taking unique, natural bioelectricity readings from plants at Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical garden which contains a unique collection of over 5000 plants species using in healing and medicine. Helen took readings from plants specifically associated with cancer treatment and then converted these readings into musical data. These unique plant signals – 28 in total – were then each assigned a different sound.
Helen says, “Each of the 28 plant recordings express their own special patterns of pitch and rhythm: the petal recordings are very active with a variety of different notes and rhythms whilst the branch and trunk recordings are slow moving, with drone-like textures. Once the bioelectricity recordings were converted into separate musical data tracks, I assigned an instrument to each of these 28 parts. For example, the petals of the Madagascan Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus – pink form) are played by the harp and the bark of the English Yew tree (Taxus baccata) is played by the viola. The birdsong and rainstorm are field recordings triggered by signals from a small Sisal (Agave sisalana) and an Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), respectively.”
This beautiful, atmospheric, calming and ambient music can be enjoyed by anyone, but the piece, over 40 minutes of continuous music, is dedicated to people undergoing treatment for cancer, and was inspired by Helen’s own challenging but ultimately successful experience of cancer treatment. Many chemotherapy and other anti-cancer treatments are derived from plants: exactly the same plants recorded in this piece of music.
Helen Anahita Wilson: Linea Naturalis
Cancer treatment can be extremely challenging; added to this, the hospital environment, full of unfamiliar, often frightening, sights and sounds, is not necessarily conducive to a positive experience for patients. Helen hopes that her music will “demystify cancer treatment through highlighting the natural derivation of many drugs” and will help support people undergoing treatment by offering calming, immersive music as a distraction from the sounds of medical equipment, and other people.
“…very atmospheric. It really made me feel like I was somewhere else, in a summer garden” (Catriona, patient)
‘linea naturalis’ is available to download via Bandcamp on a “pay as you please” basis. All proceeds will be donated to Maggie’s, a charity offering care and support to people with cancer across the UK.
For more of the best in classical music, sign up for our E-Newsletter