“The wandering of the legs gives rise to the wandering of the mind…”

SongPath returns to Leeds Lieder for a second year with a unique outdoor walking trail blending music, nature and mental health. This year, the event will explore the rich natural world and history of the 900-year-old ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, where nature intertwines with spectacular Gothic architecture.

Singers Jess Dandy and Joanna Harries are joined by guest musicians and speakers to unearth a wealth of creative connections with the surrounding world through music, poetry, art and science.

SongPath at the 2023 Leeds Lieder Festival takes place on Sunday 11 June at Kirkstall Abbey. The event runs 11am – 12.30pm, preceded by welcome music from 10.45am. Find out more and book your place here.




SongPath are organising creative sound and nature workshops at Kirkstall Abbey in the run up to the SongPath Leeds event at the Leeds Lieder Festival. These relaxed and friendly workshops in the beautiful ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, explore environmental sounds and our creative responses to the surrounding natural world. The workshops will involve mindful breathinf and deep listening exercises, as well as the creation of a unique group soundscape inspired by the Abbey.

Workshops: Tuesday 23 May, 30 May and 6 June, 11am – 12.30pm at Kirkstall Abbey. All welcome, absolutely no musical experience required. Learn more and find out how to book here.

With Arts & Minds Leeds.


About the Artists


Jesse Bannister saxophone

Jesse is a unique musician, deviating from the constrictions of his jazz school curriculum to delve deep into Hindustani music, working tirelessly to adapt its subtle inflections and swooping melodies to the saxophone. He studied with British sitar maestro Dharambir Singh, and also received instruction from Benares vocal legends Pandits Rajan & Sajan Mishra.

As a performer, composer and educator he has pushed the boundaries of traditional and contemporary forms. A leading light in cross cultural work, he has worked for the Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of London Sinfonia and the Halle Orchestra.


David Haley artist

David Haley is an ecological artist, researcher and eco-pedagogue with specific interest in generating dialogues for ‘capable futures’ that question the nexus of climate, species and cultural crises.

He is a Visiting Professor at Zhongyuan University of Technology, Guest Professor at Universidad Iberoamericana and Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, and a member of the ecoart network, the Ramsar Cultural Network and the UK Urban Ecology Forum.

David’s recent arts projects include: A Dialogue With Clouds (2023) – 36 Haikus to consider life without clouds, written on to a gallery wall, EQUINOX: a day with an ocean’s edge (2023) – gallery installation featuring Tummer Hill Saltmarsh; and VIEWPOINT (2017-19) – commission for 12 Haikus and rocks installation at the Confluence Area, Cockermouth.


Jess Dandy contralto

Jess is a contralto from Cumbria. Shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Young Artist, she has been praised for her instrument of velvety plangent timbre. She was contralto soloist at the First Night of the BBC Proms in 2021 and recently made her Wigmore Hall debut. A co-founder of SongPath, she is passionate about rewilding the voice.



Joanna Harries mezzo-soprano

Joanna is a mezzo-soprano praised for “stylish” singing (Opera Magazine) and “emotional force” (The Times). She enjoys a varied career on both the opera stage and recital platform and is currently a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio. In 2019 she co-founded SongPath and was recently awarded a Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award for her new podcast Songs of the River.