Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Earth 2016: the fate of climate songs

Two U.S. and one Australian composers are vying to write the official song for next week’s UN climate conference in Poland. It’s the world’s biggest summit on climate change and there are expectations of unprecedented financial and political cooperation to limit rising temperatures. The final countdown is on to the event, which begins on 19 April and ends in Warsaw on 30 April. A winning song and video will be unveiled on Wednesday with the help of Coldplay singer Chris Martin and some 100 representatives from the civil society sector. The winner is chosen in a partnership between the United Nations Office at Bonn and the music website Vevo. Here’s who’s entered the race:

2. Bronx Daisy by Robert LeVeau-Harris, Sydney, Australia. Uses breathy vocals with slow, monotonous percussion and bursts of handclaps to create an urgent, melodic song

A likable tune with a catchy chorus, but it’s not particularly original, is it? Written while Robert and his family and friends stuck around New York after Hurricane Sandy devastated their neighborhood, the chorus sums up both the emotional anger and reality of people who can no longer afford to live:

They live in New York City,

They don’t see there as hurricanes

As they used to

Lift them up in our arms when we had a storm

So they wonder why we never said anything.

3. Message of Earth by David Lamond, South Sydney, Australia. A fast and funky melody with simple lyrics and a tribal tribal drumming base

There is no better songwriter for the climate summit than David Lamond, who has written for you before. In an online promo for the UN deal deal, he wittily and beautifully summarizes the complexities of the ongoing climate negotiation:

To get it,

We will have to give up on trusting people we had found.

We are not machines

We’re just as human as you

And we’re going to ask for your help

We’ll give the rest of our life to make

The deal we want

But we’ll have to make it our own

To stay human.

The song leaves me wondering what an amazing climate summits could look like. I can picture all sorts of instruments, ranging from electronic music synthesizers to big tree rings on top of a massive hi-fi.

4. Audience for Planetary Earth by Bryan French, New York, United States. An uplifting electronic track which culminates in a celebratory jam drum. With a beautiful, subtle violin and rubato guitar, the track has a throwback feel, which appears to be a fair reflection of the opening proceedings.

Bryan, is an expert in soundscapes and ambient music and was nominated for a Sundance award in 2010. His prize was for a film he made about the environment and space. His video for Audience for Planetary Earth demonstrates how songs such as these can change the way people feel about their environment.

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

More articles

Latest article