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Conservation Music's Expedition #K2K

March 2 2018

For over two years, Conservation Music has honed its ability to reach people in Southern Africa and around the world with information about conservation, climate change, and grassroots sustainability. Since October of 2015, we've developed a beautiful portfolio of educational songs and music videos, a healthy list of partners including the National Geographic Society, and an impressive array of accomplishments see 2017 report here, including a quantitative study and a documentary film.

In March 2018, the Conservation Music field crew is launching a sea-to-summit caravan from Cape Town’s (Kaapstad's) drying coast to Tanzania’s melting glacier, forming eco-educational music collaborations and working with and documenting the existing efforts of local NGOs along the way. This expedition is our third iteration of long-term field work, and it is by far the most exciting. Follow us to get updates from field as begin our 13 month mission.

Also, please note that contributions made below are indeed tax deductible in the US, because Conservation Music is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Any support goes a long way in achieving our mission!

March 2 2018


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Preparation Stage

“When I grew up, we were lacking water here in Tlokoeng. We used to walk far away to collect water. Sometimes, the rains would cover the world, and there was still nowhere to collect the water. We had to use our spades to make a spring.... ...I think music can be a good teacher for the people, because some people are too lazy to read, so when listening to music, they get the message.” ~Limatakso | Tlokoeng, Lesotho 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #K2K #FacesOfCM


As the project continues to grow here in Tlokoeng, so does its effect on the community. Yesterday we gathered at our normal meeting spot on the mountain. Within an hour, crowds of children from the surrounding village descended upon our rehearsal in the pictured cave. Until sunset, many gazed in fascination as local musicians practiced their parts for “Metsi A Rona” (“Our Water”) and simultaneously educated those listening about climate change and their environment. It has been a very successful weekend and we can’t wait to begin shooting the music video next week! 🎵🌍❤ #conservationmusic #k2k


“My ancestors and other settlers in this country are in this part of Tlokoeng. This part of Butha-Buthe used to be a place to take their animals up the mountain, all the way up, for grazing. Then later at night they would bring them down into the caves... These people used to graze and own this place, then Moshoeshoe came and settled on top of the mountain, intending to also take the caves for shelter. The clan that had already resided and lived up the mountain had to chase him away, and that was the fight of Butha-Buthe (between Moshoeshoe and the Batlokoa Clan). These caves actually help us a lot. There are people living up there in these small places. We call them ‘motebo.’ Actually where people take their animals to stay when we don’t want them grazing on the fields... Now we use them as settlements for people around the mountain.” ~Mokotjo | Tlokoeng, Lesotho 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #K2K #FacesOfCM


To continue our progress on this month’s #K2K track in Lesotho, we are back in Tlokoeng to continue our workshop. Today, many locals gathered around the group of musicians partaking in the project to form an exuberant space under the pictured cave. We further tuned up the song and are beginning to formulate parts with the female vocalists as well! We are so excited to share the evolution of this piece with you as it unfolds! 🎵🌍❤ #k2k #conservationmusic


The final product from the first leg of Expedition #K2K is almost here! The production of the #DayZero song was full of exciting experiences as well as emotional ones. From witnessing the desolate Theewaterskloof Dam to grooving with the Phillipi Dance crew, as well joining GreenPop at Reforest Fest to assist in planting trees, we are beyond excited to debut this music video to the world! This song was produced hand-in-hand with our friends at African Sun Studios and we’re amped about its quality. Check out this preview, and be on the lookout for the full video this week!

*In the midst of our production, Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance political party announced for better or worse that Day Zero would be pushed back beyond the end of 2018, and that desalination plants were on the way to start making use of the ocean, a practice which itself can cause significant environmental damage. Conservation Music encourages decentralized grassroots solutions to environmental problems often caused by mismanagement by central government and corporate interests. We do agree with Mmusi that the people of Cape Town, the grassroots, are the "Day Zero Heroes" the city needed, and furthermore they will need to continue to be as Cape Town's population grows, its water is continually mismanaged, and the climate keeps changing in negative ways in this already semi-arid region of the world. This message must go out to Cape Town and to the world at large... the battle is not won! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic

This past weekend we worked alongside our musical friends in the village of Tlokoeng, a beautiful cluster of homes and good people encapsulated within rolling mountains, caves, and sheer cliffs. There, we’re making strides on our Lesotho production for #K2K! Lyrically focusing on the climate’s effect on the access to quality water, the accompanying traditional instruments and rich harmonies add a depth and vibrancy to an exciting production here in Lesotho! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic

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At the start of our second leg of Expedition #K2K, we set out for rural Tlokoeng, Lesotho, where we began locating artists for this month's climate song collaboration. After arriving in this stunning village, we ventured on a short hike over the closest mountain. This is where artists in this place often convene around sunset. As we approached the artists in question, their eyes revealed their musical nature immediately. It's incredible to realize that musicians from any combination of cultures can somehow identify one another through a common wavelength. On top of this, the surrounding landscapes were jaw dropping,
and we cannot wait to return to Tlokoeng to continue building this project! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic

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The odds were in our favor on our first day of shooting at Theewaterskloof Dam. As the team prepared to embark into the dust bowl, we met a fellow filmmaker along side of the road. Luke Rafferty was also in the area to document the water crisis. We invited him to our shoot, and he immediately captured this drone shot as Gershan Lombard: KhoisanBoy.Man, Jack Mantis, and Chuma Mgcoyi walked into the dust. To see the full length clip, check out Webseries Episode 5, LIVE now on our YouTube and Facebook platforms. Also be on the look out for the #DayZero music video... we can’t wait to share the result. 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #k2k

With this year’s Expedition #K2K fully underway, we are excited to bring you all the best monthly (and weekly!) content illustrating to our travels, the people we work with, the process behind producing every eco-song collaboration, and of course our feature song and music video productions. The full Webseries Episode 5 debut is LIVE now on our YouTube and Facebook platforms. Take a look to see what kept us busy in Cape Town for the full month of March. We are excited to be able to bring this episode to you at the start of our second leg here in Lesotho, where plenty more stories and faces are still yet to come! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic

The month of April marks Conservation Music’s return to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. The team is getting settled in to our base in the city of Maseru once again. We’re excited to touch base with our good friends, as well as make new ones.

As production wraps up from our first leg of the expedition in Cape Town last month, and as we gear up for this month’s collaborations, we’re thrilled to debut the video for Day Zero, a song that highlights the water crises and how we as a collective can overcome and combat climate change and our effects on the environment. Get a behind the scenes look at the production of Day Zero in the fifth episode of our web series dropping shortly! 🎵🌍❤️ #k2k #conservationmusic


To close out an eventful month in Cape Town, our artists and crew joined GreenPop at their Reforest Fest in Platbos! This festival focuses on tree planting to aid in carbon sequestration for a healthy climate, the recovery and expansion of native forests, and community building among those involved. We were grateful to be a part of such a unifying event at the end of our first leg of #K2K, to get in touch with the soil and plant trees, and to film a beautiful scene for the #DayZero music video!


It is a very poignant #WorldWaterDay for the Conservation Music artists and crew in Cape Town, as we edit our dustbowl footage from #TheewaterskloofDam. This dam used to provide many thousands of people with water for decades, but now it lies near-dormant, its constant wind a form of silence only broken near the pumps along its edges, which spurt and drip as they attempt to carry water to another place. This is Southern Africa's #NewNormal in 2018... what are you doing to keep your earth safe? Let your voice be heard, the time is now. 🎵🌍❤️ #k2k #conservationmusic


Today marked our second remarkable location shoot for Leg 1 of 13 of #K2K... Cape Town’s #DayZero production. We are so grateful to this Phillipi township community for granting us their space, to these incredibly talented young dancers and dreamers for their rain dance, and to Cosmos and Suzi of the Phillipi Dance Crew and Amandla Development! We cannot wait to work with them again, and we strongly encourage anyone in need of a dance troupe with a powerful presence and a beautiful attitude to reach out so that we can put you in touch with these wonderful people! #phillipi #townshipdance #capetown #conservationmusic


Forgotten stumps of Theewaterskloof grapevines, exhumed by humanity’s failures to steward the climate and adopt sustainable lifestyles and policies, form geometric grids across a cracked, organic matrix of once-saturated mud. Of the locations that we shot at this apocalyptic remnant of a dam, the vineyard ruins were perhaps the most striking. The crushed remains of someone’s long-gone home served as a stage for our artists, Gershan Lombard: KhoisanBoy.Man , Jack Mantis, and Chuma Preshy Mgcoyi.


Today marked our first location video shoot for Expedition #K2K! We spent the afternoon in the dried out remains of Theewaterskloof Dam, capturing breathtaking footage of sandstorms and songlines, before settling in at our campsite for a warm fire and some delicious poitjie stew. The cracked clay, barren husks of trees, and scattered carcasses of fish whose puddles had finally dried up were a sobering reminder that what we are doing through music is part of a global numbers game of environmental conciousness. Our puddle is drying up, and we are at fault. Will we ever reach the grassroots tipping point that we need to reverse what we have done? It's time for musicians to do their part. #dayzero #tippingpoint #DOTchallenge


Our lead female vocalist, Chuma Preshy Mgcoyi, is a true asset to the group of artists writing and recording Cape Town’s #DayZero song this month. Through her mother tongue, Xhosa, the flare she brings to this track is truly tangible! Final vocals are being tracked this week and we are honored to have her onboard with us to spread this important message throughout the Mother City and beyond.
🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #k2k


Next Thursday the team will join Jack Mantis and Andre Geldy at Cafe Roux in Cape Town to debut the first production of the #K2K Expedition! This week we have begun tracking the song, and are so eager to share it with you all at the end of the month! Be sure to keep following the progress as we will start shooting the music video this weekend.
🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic

image-1 and Jack Mantis step outside the studio to work on their harmonies in the open air, as the song continues to pick up more momentum. We begin tracking this week! Keep following for more updates on our expedition #k2k!
🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic


Jack Mantis guides the flow and arrangement of the rest of the musicians in the rehearsal space provided by our friend Phil Pells, who also hopped on bass for this track, while KhoisanBoyMan lays down melodies and harmonies. Team members Alex and Chris also lend a hand on lead guitar and drums respectively. This first #k2k song is taking shape! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic


It was fantastic to check out the Valley of Desolation and the mini Giant Flag project in Graaff Reinet before heading out to link up with the crew at Cape Town International Airport. Some great wildlife sightings, too! Six and a half hours later, I found Chris and Bryan waiting at the airport, from whence we loaded up their gear and shipped out to Observatory, a creative hub and unique neighborhood in Cape Town where we will stay for a while during expedition!

After a few nights in Swaziland, I moved onto Lesotho to lay a few plans there, and to divide up the long drive to Cape Town. A few meetings later I was back on the road, using a border post and route I had never used before. I was on my way to Graaff Reinet, a halfway point to Cape Town, and the site of our carbon sequestering friends at Giant Flag.

Alex, this is awesome stuff! Drive safe

Today marks the first day of the #K2K Expedition, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to begin in the Mother City of Cape Town! We have been blessed to have these two talented and altruistic men, Jack Mantis Band & Gershan Lombard: KhoisanBoy.Man, on the bill for this month’s eco-song collaboration about climate change, unity, and water scarcity. The focus of this song draws from the pressing issue of Cape Town’s water crisis and the impending #dayzero. As this day looms over the city, this song will encourage not only the awareness and preparation for #dayzero, but long term conservation as well, so that this can’t happen again. The process was initiated by an inspiring brainstorm leading to an uplifting melody upon which to build. The grassroots movement is where it starts! We’re so excited to continue expanding the voice of environmental conservation through song, and are eager to keep you all informed on the process! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #k2k


Chapter Zero of our caravan begins - transporting the vehicle south from its resting place at Khazimula's Swaziland Studio to our first expedition location: Cape Town, South Africa. From the southern coast tip of Africa, Chapter One (of Thirteen) will begin! First, to lay some groundwork for our Swazi-based project in May...

Catch a glimpse from my packing process for the next adventure with Conservation Music. The team has set out for the #K2K Expedition and will be spending a lot of time on the road! Check out this short clip to see what all is necessary for this year's long venture of eco-song collaboration.

Whoa! That’s intense. Would love to see a photo of it once you get it all packed up.

Expedition Background

Through this expedition, our intentions are the following:

  • Developing 13 new globally inspiring educational songs in local languages up Africa
  • Producing 13 new videos in conjunction with those songs
  • Contributing to the global conversation and sense of urgency regarding our suffering planet
  • Amplifying the voices of local eco-nonprofits and relevant organizations
  • Offering global exposure to hardworking, altruistic artists and organizations alike
  • Scouting locations and individuals for future local Conservation Music satellite organizations
  • Following up on past projects in several locations
  • Building relationships both locally and globally for on-the-ground, in-kind, and financial support

To me, the impact begins with every fellow musician I work with. Musicians are influential, trusted, and powerful communicators. The music we create is relatable, understandable, and inspiring. In this day and age, it is crucial that we step up to the plate as musicians and do what we can to motivate our listeners to take action as well.

Our field crew of three is prepared to make this trek at all costs, and we're confident that the efforts of our support team back home, our growing list of partners, and followers such as yourself will help us realize this mission to its end. Having arrived in Southern Africa a few days back, I'm now in Swaziland retrieving our vehicle and laying the groundwork for our incredible production here in May before I make the long drive south to meet the rest of the field crew in Cape Town. There we will stay for the month of March, in the face of its unprecedented drought, to attempt to bring people together before the Day Zero crisis becomes more violent.

Welcome aboard Expedition #K2K... get excited for imagery, videos, webseries, songs, blog posts, newsletters, interviews, stories, and more! If you believe in what we're doing, please check out our Patreon page here: Can't wait to hit the road with you.

All my best,

Alex Paullin Founder, Conservation Music


Amazing! Really excited to be following along.