YOU HEAR the call of the Jamaican black bird while the keel-billed Motmot of Central America emerges from behind gentle rhythms, together with the cries of Mexico’s thick-billed Parrot, blended with a finger-snapping background.
It is musical activism like none other, as they make up the exciting tracks on the album, A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
“Released online in June (2020) by ShikaShika, sales of the music and merchandise have raised over US$30,000 to date, the non-profit label announced. The non-profit BirdsCaribbean and three other conservation organisations in the tropics will benefit,” said a news report from BirdsCaribbean, an international network of members and partners committed to conserving the region’s birds and their habitats.
Building Thriving Bird Populations
BirdsCaribbean works to raise awareness, promote sound science, and empower local partners to build a region where people appreciate, conserve and benefit from thriving bird populations and ecosystems. More than 100,000 people participate in their programmes each year, making BirdsCaribbean the most broad-based conservation organisation in the region.
“The 10-track album is a unique fusion of music and birdsong. The artistes incorporate the songs and calls of endangered birds into their compositions. Single tracks, the full digital album, and limited numbers of the vinyl edition are available for sale. You can also buy limited-edition posters, prints, and T-shirts with the album’s colourful artwork on the ShikaShika website,” the release added.
In celebration of this fundraising milestone, ShikaShika has produced a podcast in English and Spanish. The podcast includes interviews with the directors of the four non-profit organisations, who explain how the funds will help in their conservation efforts.
“We are delighted to learn that the album is such a success, and we are grateful for the partnership with ShikaShika and the funds raised so far. We encourage music lovers and bird lovers to buy this wonderful music in support of our birds. The album also makes a great gift,” noted BirdsCaribbean’s Executive Director, Lisa Sorenson.
“All these bird species, many of them forest dwellers, are threatened by development and the destruction of their habitats. BirdsCaribbean works with local partners for the conservation of birds and their habitats,” she added.
The project is the brainchild of Robin Perkins, also known as ‘El Búho’ (‘The Owl’), a UK-born music producer and environmentalist. It is a follow-up to A Guide to the Birdsong of South America, released in 2015.
Perkins first researched the most endangered birds in various countries. He then invited locally based electronic DJs and composers to produce one track each featuring the song of a particular bird. The contributors include some who are passionate birders themselves. The bird-loving guitarist of the well-known group Garifuna Collective in Belize composed a song featuring the Black Catbird.