‘If you had to leave your house in a hurry, never to return, what would you take with you? Think carefully, for the decision is a grave one that will have consequences in the topography of your life, past and future. What would you take? Photographs? Letters? Anything that could prove that what you are about to leave did once exist? I took a bag of soil and a packet of seeds.
I had them still when I landed on this island, a fortuitous arrival that came to feel like a homecoming, in time. And what would you do? Leave a note? Close the shutters? Lock the door and pocket the key, hoping to return? I knew there would be no return. I scratched the names of the dead, opened the doors of the birds’ cages in the patio, and left.’
First paragraph from Packet of Seeds c. Mercedes Kemp
Various international artists and writers were asked by London International Festival of Theatre and BBC Radio 3 to contribute to an adventure of story telling, each taking as their starting point a packet of seeds. Ruth and writer Mercedes Kemp created a work for harp and voice, combining word and sound to create levels of meaning and layers of memory. Their collaboration was inspired by Ruth and Mercedes’ own places of origin, respectively the North of Scotland and the South of Spain and the nature of ‘home’ was a central thread in the work. Themes of growth and transformation are explored in musical and verbal motif, intonation and structure, as the distinction between the voice and the harp are merged to create a new strange language. The finished work was broadcast in December 2004 by BBC Radio 3.