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Spell Songs sings nature back to life at the Natural History Museum as unique performance raises over £75k

A performance by Spell Songs, the musical ensemble born of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells books took place at the Natural History Museum.


A unique performance by Spell Songs, the exceptional musical ensemble born of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells books by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris took place this week at London’s Natural History Museum, raising over £75k for the Museum’s ground-breaking Urban Nature Project.

The evening, which was live streamed across the globe, offered viewers a heady mix of rich spoken voice, whispers, accents, dialects, native languages, proverbs, sayings, birdsong, river chatter and insect hum, alongside beguiling music, song and visual beauty.

The performance included the live premier of Red Fox, a new work that will appear on Spell Songs Volume II, while Spell Songs author and illustrator Jackie Morris conjured foxes and otters with words, watercolour and river water live on stage to the music.

Reflecting on the concert, Spell Song’s harpist, Rachel Newton says, “Since being a part of Spell Songs I’ve found myself more aware of the beauty and poetry in nature. I feel very lucky to have been gifted such rich material to work with in The Lost Words and Jackie and Robert’s art, and to then have the opportunity to perform at the Natural History Museum was simply incredible.”

Those who didn’t get a chance to watch the concert live need not worry as the event is available to view via the Museum’s YouTube Channel and website until 31 May.

All donations received will support the Museum’s Urban Nature Project, which will not only help to transform the Museum's five-acre outdoor site into a centre for biodiversity and conservation research, but crucially launch a UK wide urban biodiversity movement that will connect communities with urban nature and create advocates to protect our planet. An online auction and raffle with one-off Jackie Morris artworks and signed albums is also available to bid on here.

Discussing Spell Songs, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris say, “Undoubtedly one of [The Lost Words] most thrilling transformations has been into the music [of Spell Songs] brought about by the vision and brilliance of seven musicians, who have together taken The Lost Words and turned it into something diverse, hopeful, moving and new.” - Robert Macfarlane

Spell Songs Volume II is scheduled for release in the autumn with a UK tour taking in Glasgow, Perth, Gateshead, Birmingham and London, running from 27 January to 1 February 2022. For album pre-orders or to buy tickets go to

Praise for The Lost Words: Spell Songs

rapturously received” BBC Music Magazine *****

complex and beautiful and an absolute joy from start to finish” RnR *****

beguiling”- The Sunday Times****

a delightful homage to nature” The Times****

A brave and magical creation” The Observer


Notes for editors  

Natural History Museum Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654/ (0)779 969 0151 Email: or

A selection of Spell Songs images and videos are available via this dropbox link and this YouTube link

Production: JSL Productions    

Contact: Caroline or Adam Slough

Tel: 01432 277 463 / 07801 943983

E-mail: or Harriet

About the Natural History Museum 

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.  

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.  

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources. 

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year, our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.