Emergence Magazine

The Nightingale’s Song

by Adam Loften & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

The voices of nightingales have lit up the forests of England at night every spring for thousands of years, inspiring generations of writers, artists, and musicians. But as climate change and development harm their habitats, nightingales may disappear from the country within the next fifty years. What would be forgotten if we no longer heard the call of this beloved bird? In The Nightingale’s Song, we meet Sam Lee, a folk singer who draws on an ancient lineage of traditional folk music as he joins this elusive bird in spontaneous song. Through his practice of devotion to the nightingale, Sam opens a pathway into a deepening relationship of care, stewardship, and love with these songbirds and the living world we share.


Adam Loften is an Emmy- and Peabody Award–nominated filmmaker and producer of virtual reality experiences and podcasts. His films include Sanctuaries of Silence, The Atomic Tree, Counter Mapping and Welcome to Canada. His work has been featured on PBS, National Geographic, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.


Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an Emmy- and Peabody Award–nominated filmmaker and a Sufi teacher. His films include Earthrise, Sanctuaries of Silence, The Atomic Tree, Counter Mapping, Marie’s Dictionary, and Elemental. His films have been screened at New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, and Hot Docs, exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum, and featured on PBS POV, National Geographic, and New York Times Op-Docs. He is the founder and executive editor of Emergence Magazine.


Featuring Sam Lee
Directed by Adam Loften & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Produced by Adam Loften, Devin Tellatin, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Director of Photography Jeremy Seifert
Edited by Adam Loften
Music by Logan Stahley, H. Scott Salinas
Additional Cinematography by Adam Loften

Aloha ‘Āina

Kanaka Maoli poet and activist Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio immerses us in the concept of aloha ‘āina—a love for and of the land embodied by her poetry, her family, and the movement at the foot of Mauna Kea—as she fights to protect the sacred mountain from the construction of a thirty-meter telescope.

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