Conservation Music’s Expedition #K2K

A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER:

“2017 WAS A LANDMARK YEAR FOR CONSERVATION MUSIC. SINCE I BEGAN THIS JOURNEY IN 2015 WITH A GUITAR, A CAMERA, A MIC AND A MOTORBIKE, WE HAVE EXPANDED TO A SMALL BUT GROWING FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH, SPREADING KNOWLEDGE AND MOBILIZING MUSIC CREATORS AND LOVERS ALL OVER THE WORLD! IT’S BEEN A GREAT TWO MONTHS BACK HOME, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO GET BACK TO THE FIELD FOR WHAT IS SURE TO BE A POWERFUL AND IMPACTFUL YEAR OF STRONG COLLABORATIONS. 2018 IS OUR YEAR TO SHINE, AND IN THIS TIME OF GLOBAL CRISIS IT’S IMPERATIVE THAT WE DO SO. I’LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD. LET’S DO THIS!”

 

ALEX PAULLIN
FOUNDER/CEO
CONSERVATION MUSIC, 501(C)3 NONPROFIT

Kaapstad (Cape Town) to Kilimanjaro

After a couple of months in the United States, the CM Field Crew is heading back to Africa to launch Expedition #K2K, a sea-to-summit caravan from Cape Town’s drying coast to Tanzania’s melting glacier! Conservation Music (CM) will be forming eco-educational music collaborations, while working with and amplifying the existing efforts of local NGOs along the way. Throughout our travels, we will work with incredible local artists, collaborate with many new and existing partners, and document it all in a number of ways so that you can join the 13-month journey!

Alex Paullin, CM’s founder, will be flying down first to lay some groundwork for the mission, and we will be joining him in Cape Town this March. Once the crew is united, we will complete one song and music video in each destination, resulting in a compilation of 12 educational productions, recorded in many different languages. Using the same #CrowdStudio tactics from our travels in 2017, we will also develop a thirteenth song through collaborations with local artists. At the Bushfire Festival last year, we recorded our first #CrowdStudio track, “Heal it Now,” with dozens of artists in twelve different languages, recording over 50 tracks in total, which were then arranged and mixed down into one empowering song. Now, imagine one of these across 8 different countries!

Expedition Itinerary

  1. March 2018 – Cape Town, South Africa
  2. April 2018 – Maseru and Malealea, Lesotho
  3. May 2018 – Malkerns and Ezulwini, Swaziland
  4. June 2018 – Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa
  5. July 2018 – Maun, Botswana
  6. August 2018 – Livingstone, Zambia
  7. September 2018 – Hwange, Zimbabwe
  8. October 2018 – Harare, Zimbabwe
  9. November 2018 – Lusaka, Zambia
  10. December 2019 – Malawi
  11. January 2019 – Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  12. February 2019 – Zanzibar, Tanzania
  13. March 2019 – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Want to know more about these countries? Check out CM’s Where We Work!

Learn more about who we will be working with!

Conservation Music (CM) would not be where it is today without the help of our friends. Read more about a few of the many organizations that we will be working with throughout Expedition #K2K.

Greenpop

We are thrilled to have Greenpop as an NGO partner for Cape Town, South Africa! Greenpop is leading the Treevolution across Southern Africa, planting trees, spreading environmental awareness, and hosting eco-festivals and workshops. We are inspired by the work they’ve done and cannot wait to collaborate in Cape Town come this March. For more information on Greenpop, check out https://greenpop.org/. Feel free to log on to: www.conservationmusic.org/k2k to see the full list of artists and NGOs, find more information about the expedition, and discover how to get involved!

Explore4Knowledge

Environmental education is a key component in what we at Conservation Music do. Our friends at Explore4Knowledge do just that by promoting “environmental education through adventure” expeditions across Southern Africa. They have agreed to partner with us in Cape Town, South Africa for March 2018 and we couldn’t more excited. For more information, check out: http://www.explore4knowledge.com/

Conservation Music Lesotho

We’re heading back to the Mountain Kingdom and can’t wait to make Malealea, Lesotho our home again for April 2018. We’ll be partnering with our friends at Conservation Music Lesotho! CM Lesotho is an organization of Basotho musicians, eco-advocates, and private sponsors that decided to make Conservation Music local. We hope that CM Lesotho becomes a model for surrounding countries across Southern Africa.

MTN Bushfire Festival

In May 2018, Conservation Music will be traveling to Swaziland’s biggest music festival of the year, MTN Bushfire Festival. Last year, the Bushfire crew launched the “Green Your Fire” campaign, committing to become a more eco-friendly event by promoting environmental sustainability to festival participants. The Bushfire Festival was the birthplace of our CM #CrowdStudio, resulting in over 50 musicians collaborating to create “CM Studios: Heal it Now – The 2017 Bushfire #CrowdStudio Project” seen here: https://www.facebook.com/conservationmusic/videos/1969370016672596/ For more infomation on MTN Bushfire and the incredible work that they do, click here: https://www.bush-fire.com/

Big Game Parks

Swaziland is home to beautiful wildlife and our friends at Big Game Parks are committed to promoting sustainable eco-tourism and environmental literacy. We will be partnering together in Ezulwini, Swaziland for May 2018. For the past 50 years, “Big Game Parks has remained a pioneer in both conservation and tourism in Swaziland.” For more information, check out: https://biggameparks.org/

Projekt 23

June 2018 will bring Conservation Music to the South African cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg! We will be working with our main NGO, Projekt 23. Projekt 23 aims “to create an awareness of environmental challenges prevalent in local communities and vulnerable natural environments.” Through their Conservation Awareness and Participation approach, they empower local communities to find sustainable solutions addressing environmental challenges. We are grateful for their partnership and can’t wait to see their work in person. For more information, check out: http://www.projekt23.org.za/

African Bush Camps Foundation

The African Bush Camps Foundation empowers rural communities to become economically sustainable and ensure that natural resources are protected and cared for. With a mission like that, it’s no surprise that Conservation Music is partnering with them in Hwange, Zimbabwe for September 2018! For more information, check out: https://www.africanbushcamps.com/

Agents of Change

Conservation Music is heading to Lusaka, Zambia for November 2018 to partner with Agents of Change Foundation Zambia. They use story tellings and the power of radio to spread HIV/AIDS awareness, environmental sustainability, and inform youth about human rights across Lusaka.

To fulfill our mission, we will need your help! Here’s how you can contribute:

Artist Partners — Join the movement!

We exist to amplify our fellow artists’ voices towards a better world to live in. If you’re based along our route and you would like to get involved, please get in touch!

NGO Partners — Join the movement!

Are you an environmental or musical nonprofit based along our route? We want to tell your story and reinforce your impact! Please get in touch!

Production Partners — Join the movement!

Are you based along our route and experienced in audio/video/photo production? If you want to lend your skills to our movement, let’s find a way to work together!

Lodging Partners — Join the movement!

Are you able to sponsor us lodging at any points along our route? We will happily share our experience at your establishment(s) with our growing global following!

Food Partners — Join the movement!

Are you a grocery, restaurant, or catering company with locations along our route? We cannot do any of this without food! If you’d like to join our movement we will gladly spread the good word.

Transport Partners — Join the movement!

Can you provide us with vehicles, fuel, maintenance, parts, or repairs along our route? Please get in touch about a partnership or sponsorship!

Media Partners — Join the movement!

Are you a producer, writer, editor, DJ, social media specialist, or another person at a media outlet anywhere in the world?

We’ve already been featured online, on the air, and in print around the globe. Be it individual interviews or missives from the field, please get in touch if you take interest in our story!

Financial Partners — Join the movement!

Are you a philanthropist, large NGO, corporate representative, famous musician, or otherwise in a position to donate?

We’re raising money to cover expedition expenses, incentives for artists and local collaborators, carbon neutral sequestration, and other costs required to continue our work.

We are excited for CM’s growth alongside our partners throughout this next year, and we are honored to bring you along on our journey. Stay tuned and be sure to connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube for even more updates and stories!

This post was written by the Conservation Music Crew for Conservation Music.

About Conservation Music

Our Musical Nonprofit For Conservation

of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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

Alex Paullin

of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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.

 

2017: A Landmark Year for Conservation Music

Welcome to our Review of 2017!

Dear friends and colleagues,

Alex Paullin here, Founder of Conservation Music (“CM”) and National Geographic Explorer. It is with the utmost of gratitude and respect that I’m writing this letter today. It’s certainly a long time coming… the first month of 2018 has already nearly passed us by! Needless to say, it’s been a very busy start of the year, as we wrap up last year’s projects (Especially Our Music, Our Environment [OMOE] with the National Geographic Society) and prepare for our upcoming 13-month #K2K Expedition.

I am grateful for the chance to sit down now and extend my thanks to all of those who have gotten us this far. I am excited to fill you all in on the numerous accomplishments we made throughout our nine months in the field, thanks to your help! It didn’t come easy, but the organization grew in so many positive directions. So… before diving into what we were up to as we worked towards last year’s end, I want to summarize some of the specific steps of progress we were able to make because of your support and generosity.

  • Purchased Liam Nissan, our 4×4 (SUV) vehicle (CM began on just a motorbike!)
    • Upgraded with roof rack and tow bar
  • Expanded CM’s field crew to 3 members
    • Myself (Alex Paullin), Founder/CEO
    • Chris Volosevich, Audio Production Manager
    • Bryan Murphy, Visual Production Manager
  • Facilitated 2 #CrowdStudio recording workshops (What’s a #CrowdStudio?!)
    • Heal it Now (Swaziland, May 2017)
    • Over The Lands And The Oceans (Zambia, July 2017) (launching soon!)
  • Held our first village Conservation Concert in Malealea, Lesotho as part of Our Music, Our Environment (seen in Featured Image above)
  • Wrote, recorded, performed, and/or produced 17 new eco-songs and videos:
    • Lesotho (compilation album on the way…!)
      • Manyabolo (Alex Paullin, Pitso Rah Makhula feat. Mapule Masioua: Climate)
      • Notsi (Pitso Rah Makhula feat. Reekelitsoe Molapo: Bees)
      • Temo Ea Moshoelella (Rebel Sol feat. Reekelitsoe Molapo: Conservation Agriculture)
      • Puta, Puta, Puta (Mapule Masioua feat. Tsepang Khobotle)
      • Climate Song (Reekelitsoe Molapo, Mookho, Tsepang Khobotle: Climate)
      • Mother Earth (Mookho: Drought)
      • Ngope la Musi (Sotho Sounds: Erosion [2016])
      • Lifate (Sotho Sounds: Trees)
      • Thutsoana Ya Ebaka Thaba (Sotho Sounds: Burning)
      • Lekhulo Meraka (Pitso Rah Makhula feat. Qacha Leine: Responsible Herding)
      • Makhulo (Puseletso Seema feat. Pitso Rah Makhula: Responsible Herding)
      • Rato La Naha (Selimo Thabane feat. Pitso Rah Makhula: Responsible Herding)
    • Swaziland:
      • Heal It Now (#CrowdStudio feat. Bholoja, Velemseni & Black Rhino: Climate)
      • There Goes the Bee (Buddy Masango: Bees)
    • Zambia:
      • Over The Lands And The Oceans (#CrowdStudio feat. Flying Bantu: Nature)
      • Tushange Isamu (Mosi Oa Tunya Band: Trees [2016])
    • Mozambique:
      • Somos Academia (Peri Urban “Spice Girls”: Girls Empowerment & Conservation Agriculture)
  • Visited Phelisanong Children’s Center (a home for orphans and disabled children) for some musical fun
  • Planted trees with King Letsie III of Lesotho
  • Joined and documented a community cleanup in Morija, Lesotho
  • Conducted a successful research project to quantify our impact
  • Created our first documentary film, Our Music, Our Environment (link to teaser)
  • Registered our first satellite organization, Conservation Music Lesotho
  • Received our first corporate funding, from Metropolitan Lesotho
  • Won our first contract from a large international NGO
  • Received a sponsorship of 5 guitars from Mitech Direct
  • Increased our network in all locations listed above, plus the eastern cape of South Africa
  • Met with stakeholders in Cape Town to plan launch of 2018 Kaapstad to Kilimanjaro Expedition
  • Began planning for Expedition #K2K

It was truly an honor to work alongside so many wonderful partners and individuals to create impactful, beautiful works of art with a message! A beautiful chapter in the story of our vision for a global community that stewards the Earth, in which the memorable, emotional, and unifying power of music contributes to the balance between humankind, nature, and society.

As you can see, we stayed busy in 2017, and 2018 is no different. This year we’ve planned a 13-month sea-to-summit caravan from Cape Town’s drying coast to Kilimanjaro’s melting glacier, forming partnerships with eco-NGOs and musicians along the way. This eco-musical expedition intends to amplify the messaging of all of our NGO partners, both locally and globally, and to empower our fellow musicians with knowledge that they can use to foster better futures for their communities, their country, and the world.

To learn more about our upcoming Expedition #K2K, and to join us in making this impactful effort possible by partnering, supporting, or referring your friends and your colleagues to such opportunities, please visit the Kaapstad to Kilimanjaro website and get in touch!

Thank you for your interest and gracious support thus far… I look forward to taking you on this next journey with us through social media posts (facebookinstatwitter), our webseries, and of course, through this blog and other platforms of the National Geographic Society.

All my best,

 

 

 

Alex Paullin
Founder, Conservation Music

Get In Touch with Alex and Conservation Music:

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Field Notes: Conservation Music Gains Momentum

CM’s Field Crew Grows

With a solid experience at GreenPop’s Festival of Action in the books, we took advantage of the remaining time in Johannesburg, South Africa to plan the next stages of Conservation Music’s (CM) trek. Not only were there big projects on the horizon, but Bryan Murphy, CM’s Field Photographer from the United States, was due to join us for the remainder of the journey. We are pumped for Bryan to land on African soil, as he offers a specialized skillset and expertise in the realm of professional photography and video production.

Alex Paullin, CEO/Founder, and Chris Volosevich, Project Manager, wrapped up a few of CM’s loose ends, and then it was time to head over to the OR Töambo Airport in Johannesburg to welcome Bryan. The flight was longer than expected, and Bryan was experiencing minor culture shock, so Alex decided to take the crew out for some genuine African food. We unloaded Bryan’s gear at a friends place in Kensington, our home for the next few nights, and then hit the streets in search for the promised grub. The first place that we walked into was called “Africana Restaurant,” which sounded ideal, but ended up being some sort of makeshift computer lab. We laughed off the awkward encounter and then headed to a nearby pizza joint, selling cheap slices and 2-liter ginger beers. Stuffed and satisfied, we headed back to the pad and caught up on overdue sleep.

Over the following week, we showed Bryan all the local hot spots, which mostly consisted of food joints. Cafe J’s waffle topper, a plate stacked with two waffles, an egg, bacon, avocado, and hollandaise sauce, seemed to be the crew favorite. Despite the copious amounts of comfort food, it took Bryan a few days to fully ground himself to the African lands. We used the extra downtime to fit in a few jam sessions and set solid plans for the next months to come.

After a long hiatus, we decided to return back to Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho. We spent four hours winding through congested city streets, dodging pot holes and impatient drivers, before finally arriving. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a place to stay in the city, and ended up driving 45 minutes out of town to the Trading Post in Roma. It’s a much different scene here, as mountains and trees jutted above the skyline in place of the tall buildings that we were expecting. We arrived at the Trading Post and decided to rent a rondavel, a structure similar to a yurt. The place was amazing, but too expensive and far from the city. Luckily, after a few days, Tsepo, a musician, friend and avid supporter of CM, invited the crew to stay at his house for the week. This was definitely an upgrade, as we managed to save money, but we were still a good ways from the city. Tsepo shared his endless advice and support for CM’s mission, even claiming that he would make the Our Music, Our Environmentdocumentary the biggest film to ever hit Africa. Over the next few days, we gathered and activated everyone who will be involved with the film’s production. Alex made use of our trips to the city by meeting with partners, investors, and several talented, local musicians.

UNEP’s Young Champions of the Earth Grant

On our last day in Roma, we rose with the early morning sun to get started on a new filming project for the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Young Champions of the Earth (YCE) grant. Among a large group of applicants, Alex was chosen to be one of two North American finalists. In the next voting round, an international jury will choose six young environmentalists from the remaining contestants to receive $15,000 towards helping their ideas come to life. This grant could boost CM to a new level, so everyone put all of their energy into producing the video. We shot footage all morning, with a break for lunch, and then hiked a local mountaintop that overlooks Ha Thetsane, one of the nearby villages. With yet another spectacle of natural light, Bryan captured breathtaking footage of Alex’s testimony, lit by the backdrop of a dazzling sky. Over the next few days, we continued to record footage that would be wrapped up by the end of the week. Bryan was pumped with how everything was turning out, and couldn’t wait to share it with the world. Watch the full-length video here!

Energizing the System

With the video complete, and no immediate plans, we headed out to the mountains in Ha Ramabanta for a community gathering and campout led by friends, Tereo and Langa. These two are environmentally charged artists, who are escaping the busy city life in Maseru by creating an artistic community in the mountains. We didn’t know what to expect, but after driving through the beautiful mountain roads, we arrived and were warmly embraced by a group of like-minded individuals. Everyone spent the evening joined around a fire, while singing songs and playing a wide mix of djembes, guitars, and shakers. We shared beans and porridge, and then everyone slowly dispersed into their personal dwellings. The nights were frigid and hard to sleep in, but well worth the amount of wisdom and energy exchanged each day. As Bryan and Chris hiked through the surrounding areas, they had a chance to take in all of it’s natural beauty. Sadly, it was evident that the lands were affected by environmental issues, such as burning, erosion, low water tables, and pollution. Bryan felt CM’s purpose come full circle, and had a first-hand encounter with why the earth truly needs our help.

The Field Crew Wraps Up Loose Ends in Maseru

As the weekend came to a close, we were unsure of our next destination. Luckily, as everyone was packing up the car, Langa’s parents invited us to stay at their place in Maseru. With the comfort of week long plans, we tied up loose ends in the city, polished digital content, and laid further groundwork for the Our Music, Our Environment documentary. Tsepo continued to contribute to the project by connecting the team with supporters and fundraisers. Finally, after catching up on our work, we headed to Thaba Bosiu with Pitso Rah Mahkula, on the outskirts of the city. This was the birthplace of “Manyabolo,” a climate change and water scarcity song,and the plan was to complete it. It wouldn’t have been the same without the unexpected contributions by local female artist, Mapule. Her eloquent voice meshed right into “Manyabolo,” which gave us the idea to include it in the webseries video as well. That night we all crashed in one of Pitso’s cabins, and woke up the next morning completely surrounded by his beautiful gardens. 

CM heads to South Africa

The following morning we continued our journey to the much anticipated Pump For Peace event in Pretoria, South Africa. Pump for Peace is a global initiative, created by Velosolutions, that unites the community through multi-genre music events combined with mountain bike races. The venue was fully stacked with pump tracks, food vendors, and a huge stage. The concert featured a plethora of music with amazing acts such as Karen Zoid, The Parlotones, Tidal Waves, Desmond and the Tutus, Black Cat Bones, and The Sweet Resistance. Alex and Chris set up CM’s booth, while Bryan photographed the event’s most incredible moments. Towards the end of the weekend, MiTech Direct granted CM a sponsorship fully loaded with five brand new guitars, one of which was symbolically handed off to Alex on the main stage after being invited to promote CM’s movement. Alex was also interviewed live by StreamIt360 shortly after. This event boosted CM more than anyone could have imagined.

Following another long weekend of field work, we headed over to Shoshanguve to visit Albert, the “Drum Whisperer,” who the crew met earlier this year at the MTN Bushfire Festival (Bushfire Festival). We were able to catch up and spend quality time together by heading out to a local Jazz Injection event. It was an open jam session, where musicians collaborated with bass, keys, guitar, djembes, and drums. The music being produced sounded incredible, as the various instruments naturally melted together, laying a perfect platform for poets, rappers, and singers to lay lyrics on top of. At the end of the night, Albert was kind enough to let us crash in his room, allowing for enough rest to complete the next leg of the adventure.

The next morning we grabbed a quick breakfast with Albert and then hit the road for our five hour journey to Swaziland. The accommodations for the next two weeks were with Rob, who generously offered his giant studio building as a homebase. If you aren’t familiar with Rob, he’s the legend who housed us for awhile after the Bushfire Festival, and connected CM with many artists and musicians. Once again, Rob showed off his amazing pizza making skills and made sure everyone was well fed. His guidance, hospitality, and support for CM cannot be replaced.

Throughout the first week, Alex discussed a contract for next year with executives from the Bushfire Festival, while Chris and Bryan focused on post-production work. We were able to release our first web series, detailing CM’s past work, and then immediately began documenting for the next episode. We had many opportunities to explore the surrounding area, including a visit to the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Rob had to conduct business in the area, so we all traveled to the other side of the mountain together. The ride over was gorgeous, but the real views were waiting for us inside the reserve. It wasn’t long before we saw countless antelope and impala scattered throughout the grassy plains. Further in, we saw warthogs and zebras, but we really wanted to catch sight of the iconic wildebeest. Alex had to stop at the headquarters to meet with the reserve’s marketing team, and then we set off to experience more of the lands. As the sun was setting, we ventured up a mountain road and found a small herd of wildebeest. Bryan snuck on the roof, where he was able to capture beautiful photographs of the moment. After traversing down the backside of the mountain in the dark, we stopped at Execution Rock in search of an abandoned railway that supposedly cuts through the mountain. We hiked all the way to the base of the mountain, but decided to turn back due to the realization that wild animals were in our presence. We returned to Rob’s, and rested up for another day of work. 

The next morning, CM geared up to attend Swaziland’s Umhlanga Ceremony, the “Reed Dance.” Unfortunately, we had an issue locating our press pass, but after that we were quickly immersed in the grand celebration. The entire event is a tribute to Indlovukazi, the “Queen Mother,” where thousands of women scantily wrap their bare bodies in brightly coloured prints, carry hand cut reeds, and dance in grand formations. It lasts for eight days, but CM only attended for one. Bryan captured spectacular footage of the event, and then we all headed back to prepare for our morning travels back to Johannesburg, then Maseru. 

Back to Maseru

On September 8th, we landed back in Maseru to begin the production of the Our Music, Our Environment documentary, and preparation for the concert in Malealea on October 28th. We have been seeking out local, as well as corporate, funding to help with logistical costs for the project, while rallying artists and musicians to help with the songwriting and performance. Shortly after reaching our destination, CM was graciously invited by Alliance Francais de Maseru, to hold a fundraiser during one of their recurring wine tastings. The goal was to help secure additional funding and support from the local businesses and philanthropists attending the event. We had a successful evening, as several businesses pledged generous donations towards CM’s mission. These locally raised funds will be exclusively used to give back to the volunteers and artists involved in our projects.

The next morning we completed further production work for the documentary, and then began writing the responsible herding campaign for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German NGO helping to shape the future of global sustainability. CM and GIZ agreed to a contract, including the creation of three songs, with accompanying music videos centered around responsible herding. We managed to step away from the heavy workload by making a visit to the Phelisanong Children’s Orphanage in Pitseng, a beautiful home for orphaned and disabled children. It was an unforgettable experience for everyone, as we played music for the kids and enjoyed the day together. Just when the children thought it was over, Alex pulled out the drone and sent them all into pure excitement. CM will certainly be making another visit in the near future.

Once we had returned back to the city, we started the next stages of preparing for the documentary, which consisted of a couple of weekend trips to Malealea. We had to meet with the Sotho Sounds and find someone to fill the role of a young shepherd boy. Meanwhile, we have continued to hold meetings with musicians and vocalists, and produce songs of climate change and conservation. Bryan and Chris also managed to catch a ride to Lesotho’s 51st Anniversary of Independence event in Matsieng, where they were a part of a tree planting and donga-filling ceremony hosted by King Letsie. Get an inside view of CM’s story by checking out the latest CM Webseries!

CM is busier than ever before, but we are managing to balance it all. Luckily, CM consists of many volunteers that are willing to donate their time and talents to ensure success. Be sure to stay tuned into CM’s web series, blog, newsletter, and social media for updates on our field work, the UNEP’s Young Champion of the Earth results, as well as the production of the documentary film, Our Music, Our Environment!

 

This post was written by Charles Ross for Conservation Music.

About Conservation Music

Our Musical Nonprofit For Conservation

of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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

Alex Paullin

of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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.

Field Notes: Conservation Music Teams Up with GreenPop in Zambia!

On The Road to Zambia

After wrapping up an amazing, yet enduring week at the Bushfire Festival, the Conservation Music (CM) crew geared up for their next adventure to Livingstone, Zambia. Greenpop, an environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based out of Cape Town, South Africa, invited CM to contribute to this year’s Zambia Festival of Action. Alex Paullin, CM’s founder, was eager to accept this invitation, as his experience in 2016 was extremely memorable. The entire CM crew believes strongly in Greenpop’s mission and is excited to contribute to their efforts.

On June 18, 2017, the CM crew met up with Greenpop in Johannesburg to prepare for the journey to Livingstone. As Alex prepped his motorbike for the hefty journey, the rest of the crew shoved their gear into Greenpop’s Overlander. There wasn’t much space to work with, as Greenpop had all of their volunteer’s luggage and gear packed in already, but the crew remained extremely grateful for the ride. They spent all day on the road, and spent the night at the beautiful and quaint Tibane Lodge in Mokopane, South Africa.

On day two of the journey, with refreshed crews and hundreds of miles still ahead, Alex attempted to kickstart his bike, but having sat alone for four months prior to this journey, it decided to not cooperate. After several failed attempts at getting it started, he told everyone to hit the road while he stayed behind to work on the bike a bit more. The Overlander continued on through South Africa, weaving through the tall grassy plains and providing unforgettable views of elephants, giraffes, and other wildlife.

Eventually they made their way into Botswana, but not before one of the Overlander’s tires blew out. Setbacks are becoming a commonality on the road, yet the intensity of embracing each situation remains new. Although, high with jovial spirits, the crew of volunteers quickly rebounded and got the Overlander back on the road in enough time to complete their travels to the lodging area. As the evening hours set in, the crew still awaited Alex’s arrival, as his motorbike wouldn’t start, forcing him to leave it locked up at the lodge and hitch a ride with a straggling Greenpop vehicle. Alex did end up arriving later that evening, and everyone was able to get another successful nights sleep.

With the sun rising, the crews rose up again to complete the final leg of the journey into Zambia. Aside from driving for several hours, the main part of their day was spent loading and riding the Kazungula Ferry, which is the only current mode of transportation across the 1,300-ft wide Zambezi River. Watching the robust Overlander board the ship was quite a sight, honestly a little worrisome. After a successful crossing, the vehicles spent the next hour and half trudging down primitive dirt roads and then finally arrived at Greenpop’s campsite in Livingstone.

Week 1: Setting Up the Festival 

In just one week, the first set of participants were expected to show up, and aside from a couple dozen volunteer tents the campsite was pretty much undeveloped. Everyone spent their days cleaning the grounds, setting up tents, and building site features, such as the perimeter fence made from reeds. With all of the shuffling around and necessary site work, the CM workload began to take a backseat, and both Alex and Chris could feel the resulting pressures. To avoid a heavy decline in CM’s productivity, they accepted every opportunity to hitch a ride into town so that they could hunt down a quality Wi-Fi connection. Most of their work consisted of finalizing the mix for the first #CrowdStudio track and completing a rough cut of its music video. The plan was to debut it later that week during movie night at the campsite.

Weeks 2-3: Greenpop Welcomes Their First Round of Participants

As the volunteers wrapped up the festival preparations, the first round of participants piled in. Greenpop dedicated the first two weeks towards working with high school students that are inspired by environmental activism and adventure. The volunteers and participants worked together by planting trees, growing food forests, building with eco-methods, setting up recycling systems, brightening up schools with eco murals, attending sustainability workshops, celebrating with live music, and much more.

The CM crew capped off the week with a debut of the Bushfire Festival #CrowdStudio music video during Friday’s movie night. It was still a rough draft, but the entire audience wholeheartedly responded with support and positivity.  Over the next three weeks, they would continue to add finishing touches, as well as begin the Greenpop #CrowdStudio sessions. The energy and flavor that participants brought to the #CrowdStudio sessions during the first two weeks created a platform for yet another unique track. Just a few weeks ago, when the crew developed the #CrowdStudio concept, they had no clue that it would lead to this.

Week 4: The Second Round of Participants Arrive

It was a bittersweet end to the first phase of the festival, as the first group of participants had to say their goodbyes while the second group began to arrive. Greenpop devoted the final week towards working with participants of all ages. In the past, they have used this time to work with university students opting for an alternative school break, study groups searching for an opportunity of field work, families who strive for adventure, and pretty much any individual looking to get active within the environmental field.

Building off the musical platform that the first round of participants created for the #CrowdStudio track, Alex and Chris developed it further by working with the new arrival of festival participants. Everyone seemed to share the same vision, as the track naturally moved in an amazing direction. The endless effort, energy, and talent put forth by all of the participants was truly special, and made for such a great final week.

After the past few weeks of consistent hard work, the CM crew got the chance to escape for a relaxing outing to Victoria Falls, one of Earth’s greatest wonders. It exceeded any expectations they could of had, as they soaked in all of its thunderous glory. The river gently made it’s way over the edge of the falls and crashed down along the rocky trenches, creating a beautiful rainbow mist in the air.  Alex and Chris, incapable of fully taking a break from work, took advantage of the opportunity in front of them and captured magical footage for the music video. It was an unforgettable experience that they cannot wait to share with the world.

Mosi Oa Tunya, or Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe is pictured bottom center, Zambia bottom right.

With only a few days remaining in Zambia, the crew continued to record a few extra pieces for the #CrowdStudio track, including the crucial contributions of Flying Bantu, an afro-fusion band from Zimbabwe. They travelled out to meet up with CM and assist with the recording and arranging processes of the song. Their talent and insight was greatly appreciated, and certainly added some Zimbabwean spice to the track!

In their downtime, Alex and Chris ventured into town, where they met a local djembe designer named Javani. He shared his talent with the crew by graciously reheading one of their drums. The process was more intense than they had expected, as a local butcher slaughtered and skinned a goat right in front of them. As brutal as this might sound, it is a cultural tradition to use goat skin for the heading of a djembe, while it also feeds around 20 villagers. After Javani finished up the drum, the crew invited him and his drumming troupe back to the Greenpop campsite to conduct a drum workshop for the participants. One of the most beautiful aspects of field work is accepting the unexpected and seeing where it goes!

As the week finally came to a close, everyone worked hard to disassemble tents and clear any impact that they had made on the Greepop’s plot of land. Emotions swayed as the volunteers and participants knew their time together would be over soon. The CM and Greenpop crews really enjoyed their time spent together, while also sharing the beautiful experience with all of the participants.

What’s Ahead for CM?

The next morning CM set out on the road again, with a few stops prior to arriving in Johannesburg. Alex was dropped off to repair his motorbike, while Chris escorted all of CM’s gear to the lodge in Johannesburg. The crew is going to enjoy some downtime as they await the arrival of another CM field crew member, Bryan Murphy. Bryan has been volunteering his time at CM through professional photography, and everyone is excited to see the intensity that he will bring to the field.

Stay tuned for CM’s next adventures!

This post was written by Charles Ross for Conservation Music.

About Conservation Music

Our Musical Nonprofit For Conservation
of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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

Alex Paullin

of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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.

Field Notes: Conservation Music in Swaziland, Bring Your Fire!

The Crew Travels to the Bushfire Festival

In the final weeks of May, the crew said their goodbyes to Maseru, the beautiful capital of Lesotho. Having lived, worked, and socialized there for the past month and a half, Alex and Chris had begun to feel at home. However, they were thrilled to embark on the next leg of the adventure. On May 21st, 2017, they packed their livelihood from Ntate Tau’s Music Mansion and began the journey to Swaziland for the Bushfire Festival (“Bushfire”), one of the most culturally diverse and exciting music events in Africa, where they would set up their first festival booth in the “Bring Your Fire” activation zone (“BYFZ”).

On the way out of Maseru, Alex and Chris picked up their good friend Pitso Rah Makhula, a talented poet/singer and the co-creator of the influential song Ngope La Musi. As a previous CM volunteer, Pitso was an obvious addition to the CM crew for the festival. Not only would he be of great contribution to our booth, but the crew was excited to share the Bushfire experience with Pitso.

Prior to heading to Swaziland, the crew decided to stop in Johannesburg in order to pick up necessary musical equipment for the booth. It was a bit out of the way, but well worth the five hour ride. The journey was peaceful and filled with striking vistas of rural villages, flat grasslands, and distant mountains. However, as the team approached the city, the air thickened with smoke from multiple grassland fires. Fire is commonly used as an ecosystem management technique, but in this part of the world it is often excessive and unmitigated. As a group of conservationists, it was deeply unsettling to see huge portions of the land set aflame, just as Alex had experienced in Angola with the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project..

After hours of driving, the city lights of Johannesburg began to dot the night horizon. This glowing metropolis was a stark contrast to Maseru. The smooth circulatory system of highway roads snaked through giant glass high-rise buildings and under passed modern downtown areas. They soon arrived in Greenside, a peaceful suburb of Johannesburg. The crew stayed there with friends for the next three days, and productively prepared for the festival.

In the early afternoon of May 24th, 2017, they left Johannesburg and completed the final leg of the trek to Swaziland, the mountainous home of Bushfire. They arrived in the evening, leaving little time to set up for the following day’s activities. The crew’s excitement for the festival began to grow as they started preparing their booth in the BYFZ.  The Bring Your Fire Zone hosts local and international NGOs whose work promotes social change, environmentalism, and sustainability. Our own unique form of activation was the first ever CM #CrowdStudio!

Alex and Chris recorded a basic chord progression that would later be developed into a five-minute multi-track song, as over 50 festival goers added their contributions to the piece. Under the glow of the sunset, the crew constructed a vocal booth by stuffing an old wooden box frame with “sound proof” foam, to improve recording quality. They tested it out with energized passersby, and felt confident with the impromptu musical stall. It was dark by the time the setup was complete. The crew wrapped up the long day, and knew they had even more in store for them tomorrow, so they decided to call it a night. This was the beginning of something beautiful!

Bushfire Begins

The next morning, the booth was armed with guitars, djembes, a keyboard, and other instruments for contributors to play and record with. By 10:00 AM, the people arrived and the music began! As the day warmed, the crowd expanded and the #CrowdStudio track began to breathe life. The crew continued to meet with many eclectic, enthusiastic artists, who brought the fire through their own musical individuality. The work seemed to be never ending but the energy brought through creating unique music, and meeting amazing new friends, powered the crew through the rest of the day. As the sun set over the horizon, the crew packed up the essentials, and made their way to the main stage to enjoy exceptional music with the company of new friends.

CM enjoyed two more days of successful recording, informational outreach, and live music. Endless people were turned on to CM’s work, the crew recorded a powerhouse of material for the #CrowdStudio track, and many more friends were made. On the evening of May 28th, 2017, the last act of the festival was performed by Bholoja, a soulful folk guitarist from Swaziland with an incomparable voice. If only he could make it to our studio!! After finishing work for the night, the crew enjoyed an amazing ending to an unforgettable weekend.

An Unexpected Turn

On Monday morning, the crew recorded some final #CrowdStudio contributions from a few more interested festival goers who stopped by while CM was packing up the gear. They also met folks from a performance art collective known as BDI, who graciously lent their talents for the development of the track, and another gentleman named Rob, who ran a pizza truck inside the festival. Curious and interested in what CM was about, Rob graciously invited the CM and BDI crews to head back to his property to crash for the night.

Pitso headed home the next morning, but Alex and Chris ended up staying at Rob’s for the following two weeks. The BDI crew hung around as well and contributed to the #CrowdStudio track by adding sounds from whimsical instruments such as the jaw harp, the water pipe flute, and the musical saw. Over the first few days at Rob’s, Alex and Chris began to realize how useful and enriching their stay there would be. They quickly learned that Rob is a long time veteran in the field of live sound production. He shared his connections with the crew, introducing them to even more artists, providing an even wider range of talent as final additions to the #CrowdStudio track.

During the remainder of the crew’s stay at Rob’s place, the crew edited and perfected the #CrowdStudio project. With each morning, they were welcomed by a glorious view of Execution Rock, a nearby summit surrounded by the grassy plains and diverse fauna of the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This view was a daily source of inspiration for the crew and certainly brought new life and energy to the track.

The final days at Rob’s place proved to be the most fruitful. Unexpectedly, the crew had the chance to meet Bholoja, their favorite headlining act at the Bushfire Festival! Bholoja and two other incredibly talented Swazi artists, Velemseni and Black Rhino, added a layer of environmentally charged lyrics to our #CrowdStudio song.

Eventually the crew had  to return to Lesotho in order to help the Sotho Sounds band put on a performance. They reluctantly said their goodbyes to Swaziland, and their new friends, and then hit the road. As the crew headed south, they also prepared for their next adventure, a month long stay in Zambia with Greenpop, a Cape Town-based environmental NGO who invited us to contribute to their yearly Zambia Festival of Action. The CM crew couldn’t be more excited for what was to come!

Stay tuned for our next blog post to hear more about our time at GreenPop’s Zambia Festival of Action!

 

This post was written by Lauren Mann and edited by Charlie Ross for Conservation Music.

About Conservation Music

Our Musical Nonprofit For Conservation
of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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

Alex Paullin

of Conservation Music

Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin

info@conservationmusic.org

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.