In the Canopy: Meditations from Paparoa and Kapiti Island (part 3 of 3) Sarah Peebles

In the Canopy was inspired by my experiences recording birds and bees in Aotearoa/New Zealand, by various people I met on my journeys there, and by sounds I encountered in Singapore and Canada en route to Aotearoa. A Māori concept shared with me by Gary Millan in Paraparaumu, across from Kapiti Island, especially resonated with my experiences gathering recorded sounds there: “That which is just beyond our perception,” an English translation of a concept within the Māori Ngā kete wānanga (Baskets of Knowledge). It reflects the essence of my experiences listening to birds and insects that were all around me, but seemingly invisible, and spending long, focused periods of time on the land while recording or simply being; taking time.

The idea of pollinators became important to me, since historically many varieties of birds and only a handful of indigenous bee species were responsible for pollinating many of the flowering plants in Aotearoa. Those native bees are all solitary ground nesters, whose biology differs from the European honey bees and bumble bees later introduced from Europe. I began to wonder about that unique mix of indigenous pollinators, how it had come into being and how these native birds and bees and the plants that they’ve coevolved with have been affected since the first human presence in these islands. In the Canopy (Part 1) is also the sonic underpinning to Arborrations, a hypnotic meditation on movement, light, shadow and color within a forest, created by Toronto filmmakers John Creson and Adam Rosen in 2013 (appearing online at

In the Canopy is a 40-minute work in three parts (previously titled, Clear Dawn), commissioned by Radio New Zealand/Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa for the programme “RPM” (produced by Matthew Leonard), with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. This remix for SONUS was assisted by Ted Phillips.

  • Year of composition: 2005
  • Duration of the submitted work: 19:36
  • Production: Studio Excelo, Toronto, 2003-2005

Linked project

More works by Sarah Peebles

By continuing browsing our site, you agree to the use of cookies, which allow audience analytics.