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Project Details

Project dates
12/02/2024

Alex Chen

Project Lead

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The Adventures of Kelp Creature is a narrated musical story introducing audiences to Pacific kelp forest ecosystems. Perfect for at home, in the classroom, or on the road!

Project Description

Get ready to embark on a journey off the coast of British Columbia as we follow Kelp Creature (a famous Salish Sea humpback whale!) and his oceanic friends through life in the kelp forest. Immerse yourself in a world of orcas and otters, where every sound brings to life the magic of the kelp forest.

This new, free musical narrative is created for young people aged 7-11 and the young-at-heart. The approximately 15-minute piece is perfect for listening at home, for use in the classroom, or for your next commute.

For added fun and learning, you can print illustrations of our ocean cast for colouring and cut-outs, as well as activity guides and teacher resources.

Officially released on Monday, February 12, 2024, this project and its bonus materials can be accessed at the following locations:


Listen to The Adventures of Kelp Creature


Art Materials and Teacher Resources

All these resources can also be found at www.alexchenpiano.com/AKC


Featuring
Alexander Richards on sopranino and alto saxophones
Shannon Lewis on flute
Vaughan Cooke on French horn
Shruti Madhusudan on sitar
Melissa Goodchild on clarinet
Alex Chen as composer, lyricist, voice of Kelp Creature, and pianist
Salish Sea field recordings from Jude Abrams (of “Welcoming Whales”)
Dramaturgical work from Jonathan Nash
Visual artwork from Lis Xu


Additional sounds sourced from:

Fishsounds.net – Wilson, B., Batty, R. S., Dill, L. M. 2003. Pacific and Atlantic Herring Produce Burst Pulse Sounds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 271(Suppl_3): S95-S97.

Freesounds.org – Augdog’s Crab.wav

Orcasound.net

What was your biggest challenge?

While I have experience making soundscapes and recording music, this was my first project building a musical score in conjunction with a soundscape & narrative! It was a lot of fun, but definitely had corners that took longer than anticipated!

Coordinating a project team that spans several provinces was tricky sometimes! Finding ways to support artist equipment needs when at a distance required some flexible problem solving.

While researching for the project, it was interesting to see what information was easily accessible and then what details were hard to find! For example, it was very tricky finding good reference photos for swimming sea otters – it seems like everyone photographs river otters swimming instead! Additionally, while researching how different species interact with kelp forest environments, I was left thinking that we have a lot more to learn about these wonderful ecosystems!

What was your most valuable takeaway?

Through making this project, I’ve become much more aware of challenges facing ocean ecosystems and particularly the state of kelp forest conservation! Ocean Wise’s work on seaforestation and learning about the real-life KC (Kelp Creature) while on the Ocean Bridge Remote Learning Journey in Desolation Sound inspired this musical piece and really opened the door to caring about these vital ecosystems!

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