A GUIDE TO THE BIRDSONG OF SONG AMERICA.
A GUIDE TO THE BIRDSONG OF SONG AMERICA.
Previously, the only way to release an album was via a record company. Not any more. Nowadays, there are numerous ways to release an album. This includes crowd-funding, which since 2010, has raised $89bn. Crowd-funding, however, is far from a new phenomenon. Although the term was first coined by Michael Sullivan, in August 2006, its roots can be traced to 2003, when ArtistShare was launched.
ArtistShare was a groundbreaking venture, which was essentially, the first crowd-funding site. It was marketed as a “record label and business model for creative artists.” With the slogan “where the fans make it happen/ first in fan funding,” ArtistShare promised an alternative to the traditional model for releasing an album. This alternative model proved successful.
A total of eighteen projects funded by ArtistShare were nominated for a Grammy Award. Nine of these projects went on to win a Grammy Awards. Other entrepreneurs, realising the potential in the ArtistShare model, jumped on the bandwagon.
Soon, similar sites to ArtistShare followed. Sellaband was founded in 2006, with Indiegogo following in 2008 and Pledge Music joining the fray in 2009. Then a year later, came Kickstarter in 2010. Since 2010, it’s received pledges totalling £1.5bn from 7.8 million backers. This has allowed Kickstarter to fund 200,000 creative projects. This includes in the summer of 2014, A Guide to the Birdsong of South America, which is billed as a project where “Art Meets Activism.”
The man behind the Kickstarter campaign that resulted in A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, is environmental activist and music lover, Robin Perkins. For many years, Robin has been a keen bird watcher. Recently, he has become increasingly concerned about the problem with endangered species in South America. From Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, through to Peru the situation looked grave. According to the IUCN’s Red List, the number of endangered species across South America were increasing. Something had to be done. However, Robin was only one man.
After some thought, Robin decided that by combining two of the passions in his life, music and birds, he could raise awareness and much needed funds for the endangered species across South America. The answer lay in a Kickstater campaign.
The Kickstarter campaign took place during the summer of 2014. To help publicise the campaign, Robin used his global music blog Rhythm and Roots, which later, funded the production, mastering and distribution of A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, which is sui generis and innovative.
As projects go, A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, is totally unique. It’s safe to say, it’s never been done before, and is a truly innovative project. The inspiration behind this crowd-funded project is birdsong. Not just any birdsong though. This is endangered birdsong from South America, including the Royal Cinclodes, Yellow Cardinal, Grey-Breasted Parakeet, Hooded Grebe and Sun Parakeet. The birdsong of these eleven endangered species is incorporated into a track by eleven of South America’s most talented young musicians and producers.
Among the musicians and producers who feature on A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, are Lulacruza, Chancha Via Circuito, Alessandra Leão, Nicola Cruz, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Tremor and Matanza. They each take the recording of an endangered species from their country, and create an original track. These ten tracks then feature on A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, which hopefully, will release awareness of these endangered species. It will be released on 3rd March 2015.
When A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America is released on 3rd March 2015, the album will be available in three formats, digital download, CD and LP. Fittingly, the proceeds from sale of A Guide To The Birdsong Of South will go towards those charged with protecting the endangered species featuring on the album.
All the proceeds to A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America will be donated to two Ecuadorian non governmental organisation birding charities. The first of these charities is Fundación Jocotoco. They work with the local community to protect the last habitat of the endangered Jocotoco Antpitta. Aves y Conservación are the second charity that A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America will fund. It has been an important part in the conservation of birds, their habitats and the biodiversity of Ecuador, for nearly thirty years. Part of the proceeds will also go towards paying the salary of chief ranger of the Tapichalaca reserve, Franco Mendoza. All this should make a huge difference to the various endangered species. This wouldn’t have been possible without the founder Robin Perkins, the backers and of course, the ten artists and producers, who made A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America possible.
The ten artists who feature on A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, had a choice of twenty different recordings of birdsong. Recording the various birdsongs wasn’t easy. It took time and patience. Even then, Robin says “many birdsong haven’t ever been recorded or at very poor quality which created a big challenge.” So to source the required birdsong, Robin began working with Xeno-Canto, who are a global online community that are dedicated to recording and sharing bird songs worldwide. This allowed Robin to find recording of the twenty endangered species. After that, it was game on.
With all the recordings in place, Robin asked each of the ten musicians and producers to choose their song and species. After that, it was up to how each of the musicians and producers utilised the recording.
Some put the recording at the forefront of their song, using it throughout the track. On other tracks, the recording places what can only be described as a walk on role. Regardless of which approach the musicians and producers take, the ten tracks are very different. Indeed, eclectic describes them. They are a representation of contemporary South American music. Essentially, A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America is an introduction to some of the most ambitious, innovative and inventive musicians and producers South America has to offer. One listen to A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America and you will realise that.
A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America is an eclectic album that showcases some of South America’s most talented musicians and producers. These are no ordinary musicians and producers. No. They’re innovators, who produce an eclectic selections of music. That is the case from the get-go.
Lulacruza’s Cucarachero de Niceforo opens A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America. It’s an understated, ethereal soundscape. The chirping sample flits in and out, while Lulacruza’s tender, sweet vocal is surrounded by an arrangement that veers between minimalist to hypnotic. Always though, Cucarachero de Niceforo is bewitching and captivating. The same can be said of Chancha Via Circuito’s El Macá Tobiano.
It’s a welcome addition from a musical innovator, whose partly, been responsible for the reinvention of cumbia. Last year, Chancha Via Circuito released his fourth album Amansara. It was best described as genre-melting. The same can be said of the moody, broody, cinematic sound of El Macá Tobiano.
There is no drop of the quality on Alessandra Leão’s Saíra Apunhalda. A a fusion of Latin percussion, probing drums, a broody bass and a rocky guitar set the scene for Alessandra. She delivers a soul-baring, vocal. Meanwhile, the arrangement quiver and shimmers, growing dramatic and moody. This proves the perfect foil for Alessandra’s vocal powerhouse.
The samples play a more prominent role on Barrio Lindo’s Capuchino de Pecho Blanco. They’re akin to aural sunshine, as they assail you. Soon, a thunderous drum makes its presence felt. Gradually, drums and a myriad of flutes enter. They go on to play their part in a joyous, slice of of musical sunshine from the Argentinian producer.
Equally uplifting and joyous is Ecuadorian producer Nicola Cruz’s Jocotoco Antpitta. Here, Nicola makes good use of the birdsong recording. It flit in and out of the dubby soundscape, which takes on a contemporary sound. Elements of ambient, dub and dance music unite with birdsong. It’s a truly enthralling experience, as the arrangement pulsates along.
Just like the two previous tracks, Algodon Egipcio’s Cotorra del Sol is feel-good music. You can’t help be won over by the charms and delights of Cotorra del Sol. A tender, pensive vocal sits amidst a cacophony of disparate sounds and instruments. This includes the birdsong and swathes of strings. Seamlessly, they unite to produce a what can only be described as feel-good music.
One of the biggest names on A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America, is Peru’s very own Dengue Dengue Dengue. They’ve played a part in the reinvention of Peruvian cumbia. To do this, they’ve introduced synths to cumbia. The result is Remolinera Real, a dark, dramatic, atmospheric and reggae tinged slice digital Peruvian cumbia. It’s quite simply, irresistible and the equivalent of a journey through the Peruvian rainforest, with Dengue Dengue Dengue as your tour guides.
Argentinian rhythm trio Tremor, contribute Cardenal Amarillo, another captivating and musical adventure. It veers between understated and minimalist, to atmospheric, bold, broody, dramatic and even ethereal. Tremor combine disparate sounds, instruments and influences which eventually, reaches an elegiac ending.
Psilosamples’ Soldadinho d Araripe/Periquito Cara-Suja glides wistfully along. Then Psilosamples starts to throw curveballs. What follows is a groundbreaking, genre-melting fusion of the old and new. Latin music’s past combines with the moderne sound, of electronica. The result is an innovative, genre-melting track, where musical boundaries are pushed to their limit, and sometimes, way beyond.
The futuristic, space-age sound of Matanza’s Gallineta Chica gradually unfolds. From what was an understated arrangement, thunderous, pounding drums, washes of ghostly synths and birdsong unite. Throw in some handclaps, and what follows is a pulsating dance-floor friendly anthem in waiting.
There are several ways to describe A Guide To The Birdsong of South America. One would be a celebration of the eclectic and innovative music that currently, is being produced within South America. It comes from some of the continent’s most talented musicians and producers. These however, are no ordinary musicians and producers. No. They’re innovators, who produce an eclectic selections of music. That is the case throughout A Guide To The Birdsong of South America, which I would also described as where “art meets activism.”
This example of “art meets activism,” was the idea of Robin Perkins, who became increasingly concerned about the problem with endangered species of birds in South America, wanted to raise awareness of the problem. Robin also wanted to raise funds for two birding charities. To do that, Robin decided to combine two of the passions in his life, birds and music.
Before he could do that, Robin launched a Kickstarter campaign. This proved successful, and allowed Robin to move to the next stage. That was collecting twenty recordings of endangered species in South America. Ten artists were then asked to make a track, incorporating one of the recordings of the endangered species. The result is A Guide To The Birdsong of South America,
As compilations go, A Guide To The Birdsong of South America, is variously captivating, dark, dramatic, elegiac, enchanting, joyous, moody and up-lifting. No two tracks on A Guide To The Birdsong of South America are the same. They’re all unique. That is quite fitting, given A Guide To The Birdsong of South America is a unique project.
Nobody has tried to do anything similar before. A Guide To The Birdsong of South America is a first, that is innovative and ambitious way to raise money for two very worthwhile charities. Hopefully, when A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America is released on 3rd March 2015, it will raise much needed funds for the two charities. Just as importantly, A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America aims to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered species in South America. I’m sure that will be the case. After all, as products go, A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America is one that oozes quality.
That is down to the way each of the musicians and producers use the recording of birdsong. Some put the recording at the forefront of their song, using it throughout the track. On other tracks, the recording places what can only be described as a walk on role. Regardless of which approach the musicians and producers take, the ten tracks are very different. Indeed, eclectic describes them. They are a representation of contemporary South American music. Essentially, A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America is an introduction to some of the most ambitious, innovative and inventive musicians and producers South America has to offer. One listen to A Guide To The Birdsong Of South America and you’re bound to agree.
A GUIDE TO THE BIRDSONG OF SONG AMERICA.