S.O.A.B.: The Choir

The duet of Maltese bird-trappers, perform the calls and songs of seven migratory songbirds; Linnet, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Serin, Greenfinch, and Hawfinch.

The choir is composed of men who, like the artist’s father, have studied their parts for twenty to thirty years. The aim is to collect sounds, preserve knowledge and give others access to this micro-community of Maltese bird trappers.

In June 2018, a ruling by the European Court made it illegal to trap these birds. The Maltese bird-trapping community are now on the other side of EU law.

by Jimmy Grima with Michael Grima and Louis Camilleri Choir Michael Grima Louis Camilleri Sound Yasmin Kuymizakis Camera Chris Goa Farrugia

This audio piece directly responded to an EU ban on trapping in Malta. Michael Grima and Louis Camilleri self-organised the recording, and I facilitated the crew. I wanted to bring their sounds and voices to Europe without them travelling. They came up with the idea of the field recordings and chose to perform in the Buskett Gardens, a centuries-old hunting reserve planted by the Knights Hospitaller.