Welcome to our 2018 Mid-Year Review!
As a global community, it is our responsibility to take care of one another and the planet that we all inhabit together. Over the past six months at Conservation Music (CM), we have continued to empower music as a tool to spread this message across the globe and radiate a sustainable beat from the motherland, Africa. Join us on Expedition #K2K, as we trek from Cape Town, South Africa to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to create thirteen globally-inspiring eco-songs and music videos with local artists in local languages.
Expedition #K2K is our third iteration of long-term field work, and it is by far the most exciting. To learn more about CM, and to stay connected throughout the mission, please check out our blog on National Geographic, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. For live updates from the field, be sure to check out our page on National Geographic’s newest digital journaling platform, OpenExplorer. If you would like to contribute to Expedition #K2K, please visit our Patreon page, where you can schedule monthly donations of any amount.
Year after year, as we trek through Southern Africa’s environmentally threatened areas, our voice grows louder and our mission spreads further. Messages of climate change, land management, water scarcity, and tree planting spread from the hearts of local artists and NGO’s. Here are a few of our latest stories and eco-productions from 2018:
Cape Town, South Africa
In late February, we finalized administrative work in the United States and then flew to Cape Town, South Africa to kick off leg one of Expedition #K2K. Our first project aimed to raise awareness on Cape Town’s water crisis, an issue rapidly heading towards #DayZero. Learn more about the issue by heading to the Day Zero Dashboard. Throughout the production, we worked closely with local artists to record eco-song and music video, “Day Zero.” Our new friend and owner of Africa Sun Studios, Philip Pells, graciously shared his home, studio, and sound engineering expertise for the production of the track. Tune into Episode 5 of CM’s Webseries: On The Beating Path, as we recap on March and take you through the drying Theewaterskloof Dam, a hopeful Philippi Township, and the rebounding Platbos Indigenous Forest. (Read More on Leg 1)
CM’s eco-production, “Day Zero,” featuring Jack Mantis Band, Gershan Lombard: KhoisanBoy.Man, and Chuma Preshy Mgcoyii, was recorded this past March to raise awareness on Cape Town’s water crisis. After three years of catastrophic drought conditions, Cape Town was hit by intense flash floods. As the conditions continued to get worse, Mmusi Maimane, of the Democratic Alliance political party, announced that #DayZero would be pushed past the end of 2018. Their plan is to desalinate ocean water, a practice which can cause significant environmental damage. CM encourages decentralized grassroots solutions to these issues. As Cape Town’s population continues to grow, the people will need to continue their grassroots action to ensure a better future.
In early April, CM kicked off leg two of Expedition #K2K with a 12-hour drive from Cape Town, South Africa to Maseru, Lesotho. A few weeks prior to our arrival, Lesotho’s climate swung from harsh droughts to historic rain and hail storms, highlighting exactly why we are here. Our focus for the month resided in the rural village of Tlokoeng, where our music theme was set to raise awareness on “Rural Water Challenges,” a project in partnership with Conservation Music Lesotho and Professor Tsepo Mokuku from the National University of Lesotho (NUL). The second leg concluded in the village, with a community screening of the eco-production and a brief impact evaluation to compare to the pre-evaluations taken earlier in the month. Our final days were filled with unity, as we all gathered to celebrate a successful song and music video, one that the Tlokoeng community can be proud to share with generations to come. Take a visual leap into CM’s fieldwork by checking out Episode 6 of CM’s Webseries: On The Beating Path. (Read More on Leg 2)
CM’s eco-production, “Metsi A Rona” (“Our Water”), featuring members of the Tlokoeng village community in northern Lesotho, was produced to share true stories of Tlokoeng’s deep history of droughts and harsh storms. We were assisted by Conservation Music Lesotho, Professor Tsepo Mokuku from the NUL, and several local artists. In this production, people living in Tlokoeng tell their own stories in their own way, using Famo music to highlight their rural water challenges. The music video was shot atop a nearby mountain, once home to the Batlokoa people who lived inside its giant caves. We wrapped up the shoot in the valley below, surrounded by sorghum, maize, rivers, and dongas. We are so grateful to have spent such quality time in Tlokoeng, and are eager to return and continue our collaboration with the community!
Pretoria, South Africa
For the month of June, CM headed to Pretoria, South Africa, to complete Leg 4 of Expedition #K2K. Through the month, we worked with Greenpeace Africa and Projekt 23 – Greening Our Communities to spread environmental awareness throughout the cities, create eco-music, and educate the younger generations to build brighter future. In recent years, the water infrastructure in Pretoria has aged to the point of irreversible leakages and contamination. With growing stresses from population increases and mining activities, this issue has become more urgent than ever and poses a massive threat to the future of the northern communities of South Africa. Assisted by a wide-range of talented artists, we created the eco-song, “Protect Our Water,” to inspire action regarding socio-political disputes about the distribution and protection of dwindling clean water resources. Take a visual dive into our fieldwork by watching Episode 8 of CM’s Webseries: On The Beating Path. (Read More on Leg 4)
CM’s latest eco-production, “Protect Our Water,” features the students of Tlakukani Primary School, Xolani “Haikuu” Mhlanga, Thabiso Thabethe, Tribute “Birdie” Mboweni, accompanied by instrumentalists Albert Craftsman, Taelo Mpatsi, Gally Ngoveni, and Thulani Sithela. The track was recorded at Haikuu’s house in Pretoria, South Africa, and the Oakfields College Lynnwood Campus Studio. The music video was shot on location at Haikuu’s house, Slovo Village, the #DefendWater Greenpeace Africa mural in downtown Johannesburg, and Pretoria National Botanical Gardens. This song was produced to inspire action regarding issues surrounding clean water resources. In recent years, the water infrastructure in Pretoria has aged to the point of irreversible leakages and contamination. This is alarming, considering billions of Rand are required in order to curtail this crisis. The population in the Gauteng region is growing by the thousands each month, adding further stress to the infrastructure. Additionally, according to Greenpeace Africa, the major South African mining companies aim to utilize more of the already decreasing water supply for their new mining initiatives. The need to address this issue has become more urgent than ever and poses a massive threat to the future of the northern communities of South Africa. In this production, the artists from Pretoria share stories and warnings of the inescapable water crisis to come and urge listeners to increase and sustain their awareness, so as to prevent their beautiful landscape from becoming more desolate and arid.
As we moved into the second quarter of 2018, the team wrapped up a strong leg five in Botswana, and heads to Zambia to begin leg six. For the month of July in Botswana, we worked with Tomeletso Sereetsi, a big name in the local scene, and Gaone Ranthloiwa, a local female singer with an unbelievable voice and wide-range of skill. Together, our goal is to build awareness around trans-boundary water issues in the Okavango Delta, by calling upon Botswana and its neighboring countries to come together to preserve the delta. With music and environmental projects on our minds, we had to remain aware for the large wildlife that live about the locations we camped and recorded footage in. Stay tuned to hear more about our eco-music production, work within the communities, and close experiences with elephants and hippos!
Get Involved & Donate
Expedition #K2K is our third iteration of long-term field work, and it is by far the most exciting. To learn more about CM, and to stay connected throughout the mission, please subscribe to our Newsletter below, check out our blog on National Geographic, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. For live updates from the field, be sure to check out our page on National Geographic’s newest digital journaling platform, OpenExplorer. If you would like to contribute to Expedition #K2K, please visit our Patreon page, where you can schedule monthly donations of any amount.
This post was written by Charles Ross for Conservation Music.
About Conservation Music
Our Musical Nonprofit For Conservation
Conservation Music is on a mission to produce and promote musical media that educates listeners and viewers in conservation and sustainability, with an emphasis on rural developing communities, and to serve as a platform for similar efforts. Currently, the organization primarily collaborates with musicians throughout Southern Africa, catalyzing songs in local genres and local languages regarding local conservation issues in countries like Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, and more.
About the Editor
After years of soul-searching and months in the African wilderness with the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, musician and geographer Alex Paullin combined his foremost passions and founded Conservation Music, a non-profit aiming to foster a global culture of sustainability using music as the messenger. Throughout his life he aims to expand the Conservation Music movement globally, in hopes that his lifetime will see and hear songs of conservation being sung throughout the world.