Soaring Birds and Soaring Sounds Converge on Mare Island for 'Migration'

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An old munitions storage building on Mare Island, where Re:Sound concerts take place. (Photo: Lakshmi Sarah/KQED)

It’s not every day you get to read the phrases “bird migration,” “experimental music” and "decommissioned Navy base" in the same sentence, but here we go!

Coinciding with the 2019 San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, an annual weekend-long celebration of shorebird, duck, geese and hawk migration through the Bay, the experimental music series Re:Sound returns for its fourth year of super-resonant concerts on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Re:Sound is the brainchild of Jen Boyd, herself a Vallejo-based sound artist, who began organizing performances in A-168, a former munitions storage magazine in the Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve, in February 2015. The concerts take place in a concrete building in the middle of a 215-acre park at the southern end of the island, across the Napa River from Vallejo. Re:Sound brings experimental and abstracted sound into conversation with a forgotten, extremely echoey space (there's a six-second reverb in the concrete building), and the surrounding natural environment.

Every year, the Flyway Festival draws thousands to Mare Island—casual nature lovers and professional birders alike. And if our own KQED Arts contributor Lakshmi Sarah is any judge, Re:Sound is likewise for all audiences.

The interior, resounding space of the Re:Sound building.
The interior, resounding space of the Re:Sound building. (Photo: Lakshmi Sarah/KQED)

Which is all to say, do not be intimidated when composers Manfred Werder and Michael Pisaro are described in the Feb. 9 "Migrations" program as “members of the international Wandelweiser collective,” and you have no idea what the international Wandelweiser collective is. Rounding out the bill is Oakland-based electroacoustic duo OMMO (Julie Moon and Adria Otte), whose collaboration began as a way to investigate the complexities and histories of the Korean diaspora—and both artists’ place in it.


Come for the ethereal, abstracted sounds, stay for the epic display of wildlife in motion.

Re:Sound Migration takes place Saturday, Feb. 9 at (doors at 3:30pm, sound at 4pm) in Magazine A-168 at Azuar Ave and Mercado Ct, Vallejo. Tickets are $10–15 sliding scale. Details here.