Two years ago when German environmental activist Uwe Friedel was busy participating in the biodiversity conference in Japan, he realised that such an elaborate and hectic schedule of talks and discussions could become very taxing. He wanted to add a bit of entertainment to the conference, so that the delegates are able to think better, discuss better and work better. “Various ecologists, environmentalists and other delegates get together and brainstorm at the conference to come up with ideas to protect our ecology. They work more, sleep less, with a very hectic schedule over a long period of time. All this made me think that music -- which involves all our senses, can be a good medium, which will give them a way to relax, and reflect better,” recalls Friedel, who then approached his musician friend Volker Staub with the idea to form an orchestra, which portrays nature and diversity in the form of music.
Staub was already experimenting with sound installations for 25 years and sounds of the nature always fascinated him. Thus came into existence One Earth Orchestra in early 2011. “There are so many different sounds in nature -- sound of the wind, raindrops, animals, and a lot more. And we are just one of the many sounds. The idea is to make people realise how beautiful it is to have diversity in everything -- how amazing it is to be able to listen to varied sounds from different parts of the world. The diversity is what makes life interesting,” explains Staub, who is the artistic director of One Earth Orchestra.
The band members want to make people realise the value of biodiversity, which according to them, is not just about wildlife, but also about agriculture. Says Friedel, “The word agriculture itself has the term “culture” in it. It is unique to every country, and its citizens must work towards protecting it.”
But, how will they connect music with biodiversity? “We believe that music is not just about having fun --- it is about coveying a message. Also, environmental issues are not the problems of ministers and ecologists --- even artists and musicians have to make their contribution towards its protection,” says Staub, adding, “So, one of the ways we will be connecting music with biodiversity is by making the audiences listen to different sounds of the nature, which have been around them, but they may not have paid attention to. It could be sounds from the forests, the backwaters, the rainfall, anything.”
While they will incorporate sounds from the nature, their music will also have influences from European, Arabic, Jewish and North American (indigenous) cultures. Staub says that they try to pick up sounds and influences from whichever part of the world they visit. So, can we expect them to incorporate Classical Indian music as well?
“Well, that is going to be very challenging,” admits Staub, adding, “Classical Indian music and Western music are very different and unique in their own way. I learnt a bit of North Indian music during my college days and I have an idea of how the musical instruments in this country work. While accomodating Classical Indian music in our ensemble will be a challenge, we would love to do so.”
Apart from Volker Staub and Uwe Friedel, One Earth Orchestra consists of acclaimed artists like Eva Zöllner and David Kuckhermann and some young ones like Lea Polanski, Larissa Nagel and Ruben Staub. The ensemble will perform today at the Indira Priyadarshini Auditorium, 7 pm onwards.
They will also get an opportunity to showcase their music at the ongoing Conference Of Parties-11 on Thursday.