Environment

Sounds of Canada explored in new series from Sarika Cullis-Suzuki

Canadian Audible Original takes listeners on a cross-country journey through sound
  • Dec 17, 2020
  • 530 words
  • 3 minutes
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We talk a lot about what Canada looks like — from lakes to oceans, mountains to forests. But what does Canada sound like? A new series from Audible Canada aims to answer that question.

Sarika Cullis-Suzuki narrates Wild Sounds of Canada, a Canadian Audible Original series that takes listeners on an intimate tour across Canada, immersing them in the natural sounds of the nation. From the Tombstone Mountains of the Yukon Territory to the coastal plains of Newfoundland, each episode is alive with the buzzes, warbles and howls of Canada’s wildlife, allowing listeners to discover the spectacular sounds recorded by a team of researchers during their adventures.

“I was already spending a lot of time listening to animals under the waves in the ocean,” says Cullis, who was doing a PhD that involved underwater audio recordings of a specific fish. “I was already tuned in to this audible world and so when Audible approached me about this series I thought it was a perfect fit.”

Cullis-Suzuki never thought her research listening to animals would lead to her narrating an Audible series, but she says it was a perfect time to do it. 

“When people listen to these episodes, they’re full of calm. It’s a nice feeling to get right now when things are so unknown and scary. There’s something about being in nature that just calms us and centres and relaxes you,” she says. “It’s been a really rewarding experience.”

The team of researchers collected the nature sounds from across the country before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Cullis-Suzuki narrated the series mostly from her home in Vancouver.

“It’s about getting to know this country through a different lens,” says Cullis-Suzuki. “From the shores of B.C. to Newfoundland and across the Yukon into the Arctic … there were a lot of familiar sounds, like birdsong, but there were also cougars and wolves and whales and caribou.”

Cullis-Suzuki says that until she became involved with this project, she hadn’t realized how much the land is responsible for creating the sounds we hear in nature. 

“We also got to hear the landscape itself. We could hear the thunderstorms in the prairies and the waves crashing into the coast, plus the ice cracking up in the Yukon.”

Her favourite sound? Of course the fish that started it all. 

“I’m definitely partial to that animal,” says Cullis-Suzuki. “I must have heard the sound of this fish before [from my research], but you don’t automatically think it could be a natural sound. It sounds like a generator or an airplane landing … it woke up residents of this neighbourhood in the 1980s and people thought it was UFOs or the sewage system … no one thought a fish could generate that racket.” 

Cullis-Suzuki says she’d love to one day do a series completely underwater. 

“For anybody, listening to nature and animal sounds immediately gets your attention,” says Cullis-Suzuki. “Everybody can gain from listening to the series.”

Wild Sounds of Canada is part of an all-new collection of Canadian Audible Originals. It launches Dec. 17, 2020.

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