Blinky Bill (Instagram)

Kenyan among global artistes in UN initiative to conserve nature

Musician Blinky Bill is among renowned global artistes in UN Live’s Sounds Right initiative that gives Nature a voice to generate its own funds for environmental conservation.

The Museum for the United Nations – UN Live this week announced the campaign’s launch in New York (United States), as a global initiative to help protect Mother Nature.

Blinky Bill is joining the campaign from Kenya for the track ‘Oh Wah (Feat. Nature)’.

“It’s a big honour to be involved in this project. I’ve always been fascinated by the artistry of Nature from when I was a child. I remember being in the village and seeing fireflies and being in awe of them. But I don’t see them as much anymore.

“The full range of Nature’s artistry must be protected, and this is one of the ways I would like to be involved; plus, it was really cool to have the sounds of birds singing and ocean waves as instrumentals in my track,”; he said.

A diverse mix of global artistes have joined Sounds Right, releasing new tracks or remixing hits to ‘Feature Nature’.

Launched in the lead-up to Earth Day (April 22), the initiative aims to spark global conversation on the value of Nature and encourage millions of music fans to take meaningful action to protect the planet.

With timeless classics featuring ocean waves, wind tunes, rainstorms and bird songs, Nature has a long history of contributing to music. Now, Nature will be recognised as an official artiste, with its own profile on streaming platforms.

“Sounds Right is a groundbreaking music movement. It unites people around the world in a shared commitment, recognising the intrinsic value of Nature. Together, we must act now to protect our planet for our common future,” said Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

Diverse mix of artists

Through the project, music fans can relax with ambient natural sounds and ecosystem recordings from The Listening Planet and VozTerra. A significant portion of the royalties will go to high-impact conservation initiatives.

From Colombia to India, Norway, Venezuela, Kenya, Denmark, United Kingdom, United States, to Indonesia, there is a truly global selection of artistes, all highlighting natural sounds from a vast range of ecosystems. These include David Bowie x Brian Eno, Ellie Goulding, Aurora, UMI with V of BTS, Anuv Jain, MØ, London Grammar, Bomba Estéreo, Cosmo Sheldrake, Louis VI, Tom Walker, Aterciopelados, Blinky Bill, Navicula x Endah N Rhesa, and Los Amigos Invisibles.

Ellie Goulding’s ‘Brightest Blue: Nature Remix’, uses sounds from the lush rainforests of Colombia, recorded by VozTerra –from the Speckled Chachalacas in Caquetá to the birdsong of Amazonian Oropendolas.

Brian Eno brings a visceral aspect to his David Bowie collaboration ‘Get Real’, with the harsh cries of hyenas, rooks, and wild pigs, while Anuv Jain’s ‘Baarishein’ features the sounds of rain in India.

Cosmo Sheldrake’s ‘Soil’, is a homage to the powerful transformative and generative capacities of subterranean ecosystems, while Louis VI collaborated with acoustic ecologist Martyn Stewart of Biophonica for ‘Orange Skies’, a track featuring Mick Jenkins and Jelani Blackman. It focuses on the environmental destruction caused by forest fires, with enthralling sounds from the Borneo rainforest.

“The world is calling for us. And it has been for a long time. We can feel deep inside our core that something is wrong. Working with my friend Fredrik on ‘A Soul with no King’ has mended something in me. I understand where my anger comes from. And what to do with it. And having Brian Eno do a remix of our baby has been a dream. He and I are so connected; it felt very right to do something together. For the Earth. From the Earth,” said Aurora.

On her part, Cathy Runciman, co-executive director of EarthPercent, stated: “It’s been fantastic to see so many brilliant artistes engage creatively with the sounds of nature and being supportive of Sounds Right’s core objective of seeing that Nature is fairly compensated for her musical contributions.

“We know that many artistes care deeply about protecting and restoring Nature and it’s a privilege to launch these collaborations via the Feat. Nature playlist, and together generate positive impact on biodiversity,” she added.

All the tracks can be enjoyed on the Feat. Nature playlist on Spotify, as well as on the major streaming platforms.


An evergreen initiative

Other goals of this evergreen initiative include: To activate fans, raise funds, spark global conversation on Nature, and inspire urgency in humankind’s collective efforts to protect the planet.

Fans will be encouraged to follow up with actions to conserve Nature, such as recording morning birdsongs for biomonitoring and adopting sustainable behaviours, thus building a wider movement for change.

Knowledge partners estimate that Sounds Right will generate over $40 million for conservation, with over 600 million individual listeners, in its first four years.

“Popular culture, like music, has the power to engage millions and millions of people, ignite positive global change, and get us all on a more sustainable path.

“In a world where empathy is declining, and many people often feel that their actions hardly matter, Sounds Right and UN Live meet people where they already are – on their screens and in their earbuds – with stories and formats they can relate to, and actions that matter to them.

“Recognising Nature as the valuable artiste it truly is will be a game-changer,” said, Katja Iversen, chief executive officer (CEO) of Museum for the United Nations – UN Live.


A critical time

The initiative comes at a critical time. Wildlife populations have declined by an average 69 percent in the past 50 years, while at least 1.2 million plant and animal species are estimated to be at threat of extinction.

Sounds Right hopes to flip humankind’s extractive relationship with the natural world on its head while recognising nature’s contribution to the creative industries.

Donations and music royalties

The royalties and donations to Sounds Right will be collected by UK- and US-registered charity, EarthPercent, then directed to biodiversity conservation and restoration projects in threatened ecosystems around the world.

Funds will be distributed under the guidance of the Sounds Right Expert Advisory Panel, a group of world-leading biologists, environmental activists, representatives of indigenous people, and experts in conservation funding.

“Biocultural heritage will greatly benefit from music royalties and donations. In a way, it is about paying back to life systems that have inspired the human spirit through the magic of sound. The time has come to live in permanent reciprocity,” said Mindahi Bastida, Otomi-Toltec Leader, and Sounds Right expert advisory panel member.

Sounds Right is the culmination of a unique collaboration between global artistes, nature sound libraries, renowned producers, creatives, and environmental groups.

“Action at scale is crucial to address the current global biodiversity crisis. That’s why the Hempel Foundation seeks to help organisations accelerate their conservation impact. We have partnered with UN Live almost from day one and supported the development of the Sounds Right initiative. It has the potential to significantly accelerate both public engagement for Nature and the financial resources available for biodiversity conservation,” said Anders Holm, CEO of The Hempel Foundation.

Nicolai Smith, executive creative director, AKQA, said: “It has been an honour to have been an integral part of establishing Sounds Right and introducing Nature as an artiste. From storytelling to designing the visual identity, and launching the global campaign, Sounds Right is a project that we, at AKQA, really believe in.

“It has the power to do good for good. By working with artistes to credit Nature in their music, everyone can help fund environmental conservation by simply doing what they already do every day: listen to their favourite artistes and tracks”.

PAYING BACK BY PLAYING ON: The initiative was developed by the Museum for the United Nations – UN Live in close collaboration with EarthPercent, AKQA, Hempel Foundation, Dalberg, Count Us In, VozTerra, Axum, Music Declares Emergency, Earthrise, Eleutheria Group, The Listening Planet, Biophonica, Community Arts Network, Limbo Music, LD Communications, No. 29, and Rare, among other partners.

Spotify is supporting Sounds Right through a charitable donation to the Sounds Right fund, managed by EarthPercent. It is also promoting the campaign through its app, OOH Media and social channels.

Sounds Right has been developed in consultation with the UN Department for Communications, and is joining forces with The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, APCO, Riky Rick Foundation and AWorld x ActNow to encourage millions of music fans to recognise the value of Nature.

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Source:By Zablon Oyugi