Electronic musicians are sampling the sounds of endangered birds as a way to save these lyrical creatures. In a new album called A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, artists are combining their own beats with the sounds of our feathered friends. And best of all: the proceeds from all album sales go towards conservation efforts to save them.
A Guide to the Birdsong project was started in 2015 by Robin Perkins, a DJ, composer, and producer from England. “The whole project,” Perkins explains, “was born out of this idea of taking the songs of endangered birds and challenging musicians to make a piece of music from them, and so trying to marry these worlds of activism of conservation, birdsong and electronic music.” During the first album, Perkins and his team focused on South America and produced the aptly titled A Guide to the Birdsong of South America.
For the newest release featuring Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, Perkins invited musicians from around the region to each create a song for it. There was only one stipulation: their track had to include a birdsong from a bird in that area that was in the range of “near threatened” to “critically endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List. By incorporating this aspect into the project, the artists had a personal connection to the music and the overall message of the charitable effort.
Listen to A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean and you’ll hear the sounds of creatures including the black catbird, bearded screech owl, and thick-billed parrot. Artist-wise, the album features tracks from Garifuna Collective from Belize, Di Laif from Guatemala, Tamara Montenegro from Nicaragua, and many more.
The money raised from the latest A Guide to the Birdsong will go towards three endeavors that are focused on birds and the conservation of them. This includes educating young people about birds, building aviaries to help ones that are injured, promoting birding, and training local guides.
Purchase A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean through Bandcamp. In addition to the music, you can also buy art prints of the birds featured in the album that were designed by illustrator Scott Partridge.