It was in 1924 when the BBC, for the very first time, succeeded with an iconic outside broadcast – featuring the song of a nightingale live on the radio.

Over 20 thousand letters were sent by listeners to express the joy caused by that experience. Nearly a century later Sam Lee puts the same idea into motion again, but takes it to a whole new level, as his show combines ecological, biological and anthropological knowledge with musical talent and a bodacious attempt to bring people closer to nature.

As a learning experience his show is simply stunning. Until the 18th century, people in Europe did not know that nightingales migrated from sub-Saharan Africa to reach the UK in mid-April, filling the air with their tweets. In many cultures nightingale song became the audible sign of the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

According to Sam, lovers used nightingales – “sonic beacons of love” – to meet in the dark.

Anthropologically, Sam and his fellow musicians Alice Zawadzki and Kadialy Kouyate do an absolutely superb job, travelling back and forth in space and time to perform nightingale-themed folk songs from cultures all over the world. From medieval England to ancient Greece, from Persian poems to French lullabies, our tiny, plain brown bird is a universal symbol of spring, rebirth and joy.

A scientific approach prevents Lee’s show from sliding into tawdriness, allowing the audience to experience something strange and rarely present in modern cities. It resembles staring into the fire or stars or listening to waves breaking. It is undoubtedly cheesy and awkward to admit, but Sam manages to enchant the audience so deeply that not only did we immerse ourselves in the experience, but when asked, we sang in French.

READ MORE: Singing to the birds: Sam Lee on his nightingale project

For about two hours, the trio kept us focused and waiting for the grand entre of a nightingale’s song streamed live from the woodlands of Sussex. And when the bird’s tune finally reached the the Old Fire Station’s auditorium, it was true magic – the little feathery performer completely stole the stage and the hearts of his audience.

The question now remains, whether we are able to change our ways of living to make some space for the nightingales.

At current rate they will be extinct before the end of the century.