Giving Birds a Chance to Sing and Save the World from Ruin

Published: 17th September 2015 03:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2015 03:39 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Ever listened to the birds in your backyard? The crooning of cuckoos or the chirping and tweeting flock in your garden? A unique musical collaboration comprising bird songs awaits nature lovers in the city this week.

The state Forest Department is hosting a unique event, ‘Give birds something to sing about’ that brings together foresters, researchers and music composers to create melodies for the soul through bird songs. A presentation combining songs of birds and original music will be staged on Friday at Vanasree auditorium at Forest Headquarters, Vazhuthacaud, at 11 am.

Bird ecologist V V Robin of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, along with scholar-in-residence Ben Mirin from New York and photographer Prasenjeet Yadav from Bengaluru have come together, and have joined hands with the state foresters to host the collaborative Sky Island Beatbox to delight nature-lovers with the magic of bird songs.

The unique collaboration aims to create original music with a combination of bird songs and beatbox music. Ben uses beatbox to create music with bird songs, while Prasen plans to make a video that will include the images of rare birds around. Having more trees in our natural surroundings means getting to see more birds in our backyards.

Their attempt is to create a storytelling package through photographs and videos to help spread awareness about birds. Music is mixed with photos and footage of birds to create a video. The participants can also attempt to create musical score through a combination of bird songs and beatbox.

The programme is curated by Aparna U Banerjee and Sudebi Thakurata. The Forest Department, which is an active supporter of sky island research, is also a collaborator for the events in Kerala.

Western Ghats host a delightful array of birds that exist nowhere else in the world. Research indicates that some of these birds are very rare, especially those that live only on the tops of mountain areas called ‘sky islands.’ These mountaintop habitats are fast disappearing because of deforestation and climate change. ‘Give birds something to sing about’ is also aimed at spreading awareness on conservation.

Nature’s melodies are said to be the sweetest. But nature is gradually becoming silent with less birds around. As well-known naturalist Bernie Krause, who has been recording sounds of nature for over four decades, has observed, a great silence is spreading across nature. The attempt is to bring back the melodies of nature. And what better way to start than by planting trees, ask nature lovers. 

Musicians in India have always been inspired by birds.

It’s pointed out that three of the seven notes in raga are based on bird sounds: sa - the cry of the peacock, ma - the call of the heron and pa - cuckoo.

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