July 03, 2014, by Hank Lentfer
My recording partner, Richard Nelson, is a raving advocate for the beauty and diversity of the never-ending concert of natural sounds playing throughout the valleys and beaches of Alaska. For the past decade, Richard’s passion has been channeled into the production of a radio program called Encounters: Radio Experiences in the North. Each half-hour segment, whether focused on caribou or caves, moose or mosquitos, porcupines or polar bears, is saturated with the man’s infectious enthusiasm. Whether recorded from a kayak in front of a tide water glacier, a cliff edge surrounded by mountain goats, or alongside a bearded seal’s breathing hole in the Arctic sea ice, each show is created live to tape. Richard’s insightful narration combines with the voices of the place to transport and engage listeners like no other program I’ve ever heard.
Here’s a link to a recent show called, simply, “Wild Sounds.” It’s a tour through the most riveting sounds to pour through his microphone throughout the past ten years. Listen in and hear musk ox bellow, bears fight over fish, ice tinkle in an Arctic river, petrels purr and patter in sub-terrain burrows.
And here’s a link to the entire archive of radio shows.
I listen to them while doing the dishes. No better way to make a dull chore fun than to listen in as Richard slithers and scrambles through the wildest places he can find.
Hank Lentfer, author of Faith of Cranes, is ear-deep in a new career recording the whistles, clicks, groans, and splashes of his wild neighbors.