Conservation Music's Expedition #K2KLatest update March 2, 2018 Started on 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!
Tatenda aka Tormeta, the lead vocalist from Mamabanje Village, poses for a quick photo before singing his lyrics about the mobile boma project, introduced by African Bush Camps Foundation. The boma’s impact in Zimbabwe are now a proven solution to reducing wildlife conflict between lions and cattle by 50% in the last 2 years!
Livingstone, Zambia is a town not only on the edge of a natural wonder of the world, Victoria Falls, but also on the edge of an expanding desert... one which is expanding more rapidly due to human activities. Slash and burn agriculture, the illegal charcoal trade, and climate change are accelerating this tourist destination's environmental demise, and deepening the struggle for resources being experienced by rural communities all over the region.
We partnered with Yes Rasta!, a Livingstone-based reggae group made up of nature lovers, cyclists, gardeners, and even a former charcoal burner who shares his new perspective in the song, to spread information about these worsening issues and what can be done to adapt to and reverse them at the grassroots level.
The song highlights solutions such as pruning stumps for forest regeneration, planting trees and using deadwood and branches rather than cutting whole trees, making fuel-efficient traditional cooking stoves, and more. Through these grassroots solutions, we hope that students, community members, policy makers, and everyone in between can do their part to ensure that in the future, the month of August returns to its old state, and no longer feels like October, the hottest month of the year.
October is also the month during which Zambia gained independence in 1964, a pinnacle moment of unity for a nation of over 70 native languages. We hope that this song can inspire such unity for climate and environmental action.
Imiti ikula empanga - the saplings will soon be the forest! Let us pass on to the young ones a world worth living in, and give them the knowledge they need to create it.
Special thanks to Uncleben Mibenge, the tree king of Livingstone, for his environmental wisdom!
Music. Earth. Humanity. #conservationmusic
One more successful location shoot in Zambia with Yes Rasta! Hondo, or charcoal kilns, are a detrimental force to Southwest Zambia’s dwindling forests in the era of climate change. After searching on foot for hours in the bush outside Livingstone, we came across a substantial hondo which served as an eerie stage for Gong’s verse on charcoal reduction. 🎵🌍❤️
As we continued location shooting for Zambia’s contribution to Expedition #K2K, we ventured to the bush in search of some slash and burned landscapes. Pictured are members of Yes Rasta performing and demonstrating simultaneously how to properly prune a stump in aid of regrowth! 🎵🌍❤️
It was a beautiful drive from Gauteng, South Africa to Gaborone, Botswana. We arrived safely in Gabs and met up with an old friend, Tomeletso Sereetsi, from Botswana’s hit group: Sereetsi & the natives. We soon met up for a composing session at Village Sound Studios, followed by a brainstorming session at our amazing host Stan’s place. Soon enough we were tracking at the studio, where our own crew joined forces with Tom, Gaone Ranthloiwa, and drummer/engineer, Leroy Nyoni, to track the back beat and the first draft of the lyrics.
The crew then travelled 10 hours to Maun, Botswana, with Tom and Gaone in a jam-packed Liam Nissan and Chris and Bryan on an all-day bus ride. On arrival, we linked up with Matthew Lee Merritt, a US-based support volunteer who came out to lend his time in the field for a few weeks before heading home to continue remotely supporting the movement. Learn more about remote volunteering with Conservation Music at the link below.
The next day, with a brand new bush-ready solar studio in tow, we headed off into the Okavango Delta wilderness for four days of video shooting, cultural exchange, and much-needed communion with nature. On the first day one we witnessed a large herd of elephants, frumpy hippos, plenty of hornbills and other birds, and a beautiful sunset.
The next morning we took part in our daily walk and found ourselves much closer than expected to an elephant, after which we had a beautiful moment with a herd of zebras and were greeted back at camp by a friendly owl.
The next day we poled to a new camp, enjoying encounters with hippos and lilies along the way. This camp was much more remote than the others, and full of signs of wild visitors including elephants, hippos, and cape buffalo. After setting up camp, the crew split up to record some new delta-inspired vocals with Gaone while filming Tom’s mokoro location shots. That night we filmed more vocals by the extra large fire built to keep away large animals as we slept.
On our third morning in the delta, we took another walk and found ourselves standing amongst a mixed herd of giraffes, zebras, and ostriches, plus a few shy antelope. We returned to strike camp and commuted to our third and final camp site, enjoying hippo encounters and midday reflections on the placid delta water on the way. We set up our final campsite amongst an incredible clearing with beautiful trees. We then tracked Tom’s ad-libs over Gaone’s chorus as the rest of the team filmed Gaone on the water.
The evening closed with another beautiful sunset and meaningful time around the fire before bed. We woke up early to do some sunrise shooting with Tom and Gaone, then we packed the mekoro and started our bittersweet trek back to Maun.
Within just a few days out of the bush, we connected with our good friend Helene and the legendary Stiger Sola Molefi to compose and record the song’s finishing touches, Helene’s flute and fiddle parts, plus an epic closing four string guitar verse from Stiger. Stiger has been performing in and around Botswana for decades, and it’s always an honor and a pleasure to spend time with him.
Just before our time in Botswana came to a close, we were given a chance to perform at our favorite spot in Maun, the Old Bridge Backpackers, to rustle up a bit of gas money before hitting the road for Zambia. We had an amazing time jamming with Helene, our new producer friend Mikael Rosen, and several members of the audience! An unforgettable night beneath the fig tree on the Thamalakane River… we truly miss our friends in Maun and can’t wait to come back.
Mixing, mastering, and editing are now complete, and we’ve settled into Livingstone, Zambia for our next leg of Expedition #K2K!
This month’s song with Yes Rasta in Livingstone, Zambia is officially tracked, thanks to Hood Virus Base Ent. Studio in Malota Ghetto. The next stage commences this upcoming week with music video location shoots. Stay tuned to catch a sneak peak from the areas we will be filming, including Mosi Oa Tunya, the amazing Victoria Falls! 🎵🌍❤️
“Protect Our Water”, a Music and Video production featuring the students of Primary School, Xolani Petrus Mhlanga aka Haikuu, Thabiso Thabethe, Tribute 'Birdie' Mboweni, accompanied by instrumentalists Albert Craftsman, Taelo Mpatsi, Gally Ngoveni, and Thulani ST Sithela. Recorded at Haikuu’s house in Pretoria, South Africa. Drums recorded at the Oakfields College Lynnwood Campus Studio. This song was produced in June 2018 to inspire people to protect dwindling clean water resources.
Shot on location at Haikuu’s house, Slovo Village, the #DefendWater Greenpeace Africa mural in downtown Johannesburg, and Pretoria National Botanical Garden.
We were incredibly fortunate this month to feature the legendary Stiger Sola, an old friend and a composer, singer, and 4-string guitar legend across Southern Africa. His additional gifts brought traditional Botswana rhythms and sonic qualities to the already soulful nature of the overall sound of this track, and we are ecstatic to bring these sounds to your ears. 🎵🌍❤
As the team wraps up our time in the Okavango Delta, we can’t help but remember the incredible wildlife experiences we shared with Big Game Parks in eSwatini. We enjoyed some incredible elephant sitings at Hlane Royal National Park! Stay tuned to see the shot of this young elephant with it’s mother for this week’s #TBT. 🎵🌍❤️ #mondaymemories
CONGRATULATIONS to the women in charge of the Conservation Music Lesotho chapter for landing their first grant! These funds will directly support local screenings of Conservation Music content to educate students and rural citizens around the country! This is a landmark achievement for both CMLS and the Conservation Music movement at large, as confirmation that our scalable vision for a global network of self sustaining local chapters and implementing partners is viable. The future is bright! 🎵🌍❤️ @conservationmusic @ Maseru, Lesotho
The collective for this month’s project headed into the Okavango Delta to further record for the song, as well as shoot the music video! The experience was unforgettable and we all came out of the trip with a wider perspective on how precious this resource is. ❤️🌍🎵 @conservationmusic @Okavango Delta
The spirits were high as we churned out our instrumentation and essential vocal tracking at Village Sound Studios yesterday! Tomeletso Sereetsi , Lerofo , and Le5roy made our jobs easy, progressing the sound and feel of this month's track to a beautiful level. Next, it's on to the Okavango Delta with the artists to get some monumental location footage and add some local Maun and delta friends into the mix. 🎵🌍❤️ @conservationmusic @Gaborone, Botswana
“Music is a very powerful tool because music appeals to a lot of people in different sets of their moods. People quickly relate to something that’s transmitted through a song than through other ways, like books. Music speaks to the heart, so I think the messages that we are trying to portray will help people take ownership of what’s been put out there far much more quicker through the medium of music...I’m seeing growth from the first time I came around to where we are now. I’ve seen projects that have actually been fulfilled and carried out. At the personal level, I’d say it has broadened my horizons in many ways: artistic level, social level, cultural level, interpersonal skills with people, so it has brought me out more. For Conservation Music, the movement, I think it’s growing and becoming strong, and you can see it even on the social network. There are people who are following and a lot of artsy people behind it. My one wish is: we would all take it all out and spread it to the general population so everybody would embody the message of Conservation Music.” ~ Rebel Sol | Maseru, Lesotho 🎵🌍❤️ #FacesOfCM #conservationmusic #K2K
For the Gauteng leg of Expedition #K2K, we moved into the headquarters of X-Factor Crafts and Nosh Food Rescue, with our brilliant friend Hanneke. We were greeted by luscious gardens, a pack of dogs, and a laundry bike!
A few days after our arrival, we met up with Tribute 'Birdie' Mboweni and her Music Director Thulani ST Sithela in a park for our first sunset brainstorming session. Next, we invited our old friend Thabiso Thabethe to join in the song, and we met him at his place in Winterfeld to do some more composing. Before long, Thabiso Thabethe linked us with Xolani Petrus Mhlanga, a rapper and multi-instrumentalist who completed our trio of vocalists, and also provided the team with a classic garageband rehearsal space and an avant-garde studio space for recording!
The next day, we visited Tlakukani Primary School for World Environment Day, offering a three-fold workshop alongside Tribute's Projekt 23 - Greening Our Communities and Greenpeace Africa. The day began with eco-education games, followed by a lesson in defending water by the Greenpeace Africa team. Conservation Music rounded out the day by allowing the students to write and record their own part for the song we're recording this month… you'll hear their voices in the chorus!
Our next session was at Haikuu's place to bring in other instrumentalists and finish the arrangement of the song. We also brainstormed lyric ideas with Haikuu and Thabiso. The team continued these garageband sessions while I traveled to Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in the iconic Bavarian village of Eichstatt, Germany, to offer a series of lectures and workshops while producing a new "CrowdStudio" track with a group of refugees and music students for the yearly Refugium Music and Arts Festival.
Just before I left, we were joined by Jake Taylor, an old friend and volunteer from the States whose beatmaking, instrumental, and laundrybiking prowess are surpassed only by his friendship and willingness to learn. Not long after his arrival, the crew met up with our friend Gershan Lombard: KhoisanBoy.Man from our first project in Cape Town a few months back. Jake joined one of the accompanying acts onstage to lend his skills on the guitar.
Soon enough I was back in Gauteng, and we started our location shoots. First up was Thabiso Thabethe at a dried out river near Slovo Village, north of Pretoria. Next was Haikuu at a graffiti site created by Greenpeace Africa to advance their #DefendWater campaign. Last, but certainly not least, we joined our good friend Tribute "Birdie" Mboweni at Pretoria National Botanical Garden for a beautiful waterfall shoot.
With production behind us, it's time to wrap up post-production on both the Pretoria and Eichstatt songs and videos. One more jam-packed weekend at the helm of our editing suites, and we're off to Botswana to begin the next leg of Expedition #K2K!
Conservation Music is a small 501©3 charity that depends on donations to operate. If you enjoy our content, and you believe in the power of music to create positive change for people and the planet, please consider visiting our https://www.patreon.com/Conservationmusic today to support with monthly gifts big or small. To discuss other opportunities for partnership, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
The first session of the #K2K Gaborone Leg was a success as we gathered in Village Sound Studio with Tomeletso Sereetsi and Gaone Rantlhoiwa to concoct musical ideas and bond through mutual forms of self-expression. We were blessed by our new friend Leroy who gifted us his time, studio, engineering skills and drum prowess. His addition to the writing and brainstorming process was crucial! We can't wait to move forward and exchange more musical conversation with these talented individuals. 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic @ Gaborone, Botswana
Our final recording session for "Protect Our Water" was with our good friend Albert Craftsman, who blessed us with congas, djembe, udu, and rainstick in his percussion arsenal. His additions brought motion and cohesion to the song and rounded it out so that we can enter the final mixing and mastering stages! Tune in for a preview soon! 🎵🌍❤ #conservationmusic #k2k #protectourwater #defendourwater #mixing #mastering #Pretoria #SA #SouthAfrica #Music #conservation
Location shooting has come to a triumphant end at the Pretoria National Botanical Garden with Tribute 'Birdie' Mboweni putting on a moving performance for the cameras. The serenity of the botanical gardens coupled with Tribute’s colorful outfit made for some unforgettable footage that will bring this video to the next level! Now, the crew is in wrap-up mode as the final touches are put on the song and video to be released soon. 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #K2K
For our second location shoot this month, the collective ventured into Johannesburg to film Xolani Petrus Mhlanga rap verse. The set lies within a major intersection in front of a Greenpeace Africa mural raising awareness about water as a human right. For how chaotic this shoot could have been during rush hour traffic, we couldn't be happier with the results! 🎵🌍❤ #defendwater #conservationmusic #K2K
Yesterday’s location shoot for the Pretoria music video was certainly one we will never forget! The crew ventured out to Slovo Village in Winterveld, Pretoria, the backyard of contributing artist, Thabiso Thabethe . Needless to say, the shoot exceeded our expectations and we are eager to show you more from this golden hour in the upcoming music video premiere! 🎵🌍❤️ #K2K #conservationmusic
Unbelievable bassist Gally Ngoveni tracks the low end for this month's Climate-themed track in Pretoria, South Africa. It was great to see Gally again after spending time together at MTN BUSHFIRE last month, and we are grateful to be blessed by his talented touch! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #K2K
Yesterday was an integral recording session for our new song in the Gauteng area with the tracking of two guitarists, Thabiso Thabethe and Xolani Petrus Mhlanga, in the books. Their dedication to the groove and the ideals of the mission have been key in our progress for the fourth leg of Expedition #K2K, and we can't wait for you to hear what they've put down for this beautiful collaboration! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic
“Time as well as the climate have played a big role in the changes we have in our village. Back in the day, we had heavy seasonal rains, hail storms, and snow fall in winter. We would go swimming, and sometimes we would sing to the villages all around us. Our land was vegetated and herbs as well as fruits were found all over. The crops were always good and the yield even better. This has all changed dramatically...Music is a proper means of communication because it is loveable and more understandable. It helps those of us who can’t read. It passes the message effectively to the people all around the community. It brings the people together. Since it is quick to grasp the children are quick to understand and grow with the knowledge of its powerful message.” ~Tsepang | Tlokoeng, Lesotho 🎵🌍❤️ #k2k #conservationmusic #FacesOfCM
The momentum of the Pretoria #K2K project is picking up spectacularly, with the artists writing and composing diligently here at the house of fellow artist, @realhaikuu , a multi-instrumentalist, rapper, filmmaker, and producer, who has graciously allowed the collective to use his garage as a session space in Waterkloof. As Thabiso Thabethe and CM Founder Alex Paullin exchange ideas and riffs, keys player, @ty_iller , lays down accompanying melodies to further flesh out the tune. Also pictured to the right is our newest volunteer on the ground, Jake Taylor. Jake is a multi-talented artist who, for the next two months, will be adding his many skills, strong work ethic, and positive attitude to the team. Our family continues to grow beautifully, and together, we know this month’s production will be one for the books! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic
Happy World Environment Day! Today the team ventured out to Tlakukani Primary School along with Projekt 23 - Greening Our Communities and Greenpeace Africa for an educational workshop on the importance of water conservation, as well as a recording session with the students! Our friend Tribute Mboweni, an inspiring South African conservationist, a talented and popular singer, and the founder of Projekt 23, made this possible, and together we all spread awareness on this very important issue. 🎵🌍❤ #worldenvironmentday #worldenvironmentday2018 #conservationmusic #k2k
“If I’m being honest, the level of ignorance has gone up. It’s a funny kind of place that we find ourselves in eSwatini. We are still chasing the idea of making it or being finically free and so with that there’s this kind of arrogance with our generation. We are not taking care of the planet anymore, we’re not taking care of our environments, it’s all about what can you buy, what can display how much money you have…so thats plastic, clothing, and nondisposable things…so we are taking less care of our environment whereas our grandparents were very much in tune with the land, you can tell they grew up in a world where the Earth was the other hand...The power of music extends to our subconscious and drives us to love, express, react, and revolutionize.” ~Velemseni | Mbabane, eSwatini 🎵🌍❤️ “k2k #conservationmusic
MUSIC VIDEO PREMIERE! “Metsi A Rona” (“Our Water”) featuring members of the Tlokoeng village community in northern Lesotho. A song produced in April 2018 to share true stories of water challenges faced by the village in the era of Climate Change.
Recent years have been very difficult for Lesotho, as a result of an extended drought that was capped off this year by unprecedented hailstorms and rains. This led to damaged crops and injured livestock, severe flooding and erosion, and even cars being washed off the road. In this production, people living in rural Tlokoeng tell their own stories their own way, using Famo music, an energetic genre endemic to the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Learn more about the process behind this workshop and production by watching April’s episode of our webseries, On The Beating Path…! https://www.facebook.com/conservationmusic/videos/2086484584961138/ 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic
Special thanks to Professor Tsepo Mokuku of the National University of Lesotho for making this possible!
The month of April began with a 12 hour drive from Cape Town to Maseru, Lesotho, from drought to downpour, as much of Lesotho had experienced historic rains and hailstorms to cap off their drought just a few weeks before we arrived. As luck would have it, it finally rained in the city of Cape Town a matter of hours after our departure. Appropriately enough, our music theme here in Lesotho is “Rural Water Challenges,” a project taking place in Tlokoeng village in partnership with Conservation Music Lesotho and Professor Tsepo Mokuku from the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
Conservation Music Lesotho is our first local chapter of Conservation Music, a flagship organization helping us to develop our dream of a global Conservation Music network made up of local chapters and implementing partners. These dedicated young people were at the center of “Our Music, Our Environment,” the eco-concert, impact study, and documentary film project we implemented here in Lesotho last year.
This month has taken us full circle in so many ways… the first song and video ever produced for Conservation Music was Ngope La Musi, right here in Lesotho in 2015. This project began with rural, traditional musicians at the forefront of our sound, and though we’ve since worked with artists all over the board in terms of their genre, setting, and reputation, it is extremely refreshing to work with these kind, honest people to create a project by the village for the village, which can then be turned around to inspire Lesotho and the world at large!
Our time in Tlokoeng began with a quest for musicians, which led us to Ntate Motolinyane’s home. Ntate Motolinyane is the principle mamokhorong player in Tlokoeng. His experience as a mentor to boys at the traditional initiation school gives him a tangible star quality, and with his wide smile and musical energy, we knew right away that we were in the presence of a fellow artist. We later learned that he’s also the man in charge of maintaining the water pumps supplying the community taps in Tlokoeng, a fitting role for the first artist to join our water song. Before long we had a core group of singers and players to begin our composition with.
We held an initial focus group discussion to better understand the existing local knowledge of water conservation, and to make note of true stories relating to drought and harsh storms in the village. Together, we identified four key points to be depicted through the storytelling of the verses, while the chorus reinforced the general message. We finalized the verses together with the vocalists and began to rehearse.
Meanwhile, we sat down with a few of the key team members for some brief documentary interviews. We spoke to Limakatso, Rebel Sol, Ntate Motolinyane, and Mokotjo.
Once the song was sounding tight enough, we headed to a thatched-roof rondavel to record! We tracked all of our vocals, the mamokhorong, the moropa drum, guitar, bass, jaw harp, tsoelia whistling, and ululations, and then got to work with the mixing and mastering!
The next weekend we made our way up the mountain to the giant caves that once served as homes for Batlokoa people, and at one point the Basotho king Moshoeshoe himself. There we began location shooting the music video for the “Metsi Ya Rona”, “Our Water”. The next day we spent time in the valley surrounded by sorghum, maize, rivers, and dongas to wrap up the shoot.
The second leg of Expedition #K2K concluded in Tlokoeng with a brief impact evaluation and a community screening of their very own music video. 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! We are so grateful to have spent such quality time in Tlokoeng, and are eager to return as soon as we can to continue our collaboration with the community!
Pachanga lays down some ethereal vocal harmonies as groundwork for the rest of the vocalists on #K2K track three: eSwatini. Vocal tracking has just begun and we’re already blown away by everyone’s contribution thus far!🎵🌍❤️ RØDE Microphones South Africa #conservationmusic
The composition process in eSwatini has begun! The group reconvened shortly after our first meeting to further define the melody for this month’s song. The groove began organically with Pachanga playing the native makoyane to lay down a solid base for the rest of the artists to build on, while the legendary Smiles added his own vocal interpretation as well! We are eager to bring you more updates as we shift into the recording phase of this collaboration! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #K2K
Our last stop before departing Lesotho for eSwatini was Malealea village, to continue our #OMOE impact study with followup surveys. Last year we hosted our first live educational concert to quantify and visually depict the impact of music as an environmental educator, so we met up with dozens of community members who attended the event to gather data. We couldn’t be more grateful to the kind community members of Malealea, who have been more than willing to help with our cause by participating in our first impact evaluation... one that has lain solid ground for many more to come! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic #K2K
MUSIC VIDEO PREMIERE! "Day Zero" featuring Jack Mantis Band, Gershan Lombard: KhoisanBoy.Man, and Chuma Preshy Mgcoyi. A song produced in March 2018 for Cape Town's #DayZero water crisis.
On April 25, flash floods interrupted Cape Town's three-year catastrophic drought. We've heard stories of such boom-or-bust water dynamics here in Lesotho as well. This April, shortly after cars were washed away along with the topsoil of Lesotho, homeless Capetonians were swept away by the flooding streams and highways in South Africa's Western Cape.
The production of our first Expedition #K2K song was full of powerful experiences, including emotional ones. After witnessing the desolate Theewaterskloof Dam with Explore4Knowledge, grooving with the Amandla Development Phillipi Dance crew, as well as joining Greenpop in Platbos to plant trees, we are beyond excited to debut this music video to the world. The audio track was produced hand-in-hand with our friends at Africa Sun Music, and we’re amped about its quality!
NOTE: 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
Special Thanks to: Luke Rafferty, Buck Roger, Rob Coutts, Philip Pells, and everyone else who made this production possible!
Upon arrival to eSwatini we were honored to meet with some of the Kingdom’s most renowned artists to begin the third leg of Expedition #K2K! We kicked off our initial project briefing with a screening of videos from this year and last to give more perspective on the project at hand. We are more than pleased with the accolades, questions, and progress that arose from this gathering and we can’t wait to bring you more updates as the song is composed! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic
The second leg of Expedition #K2K concluded in Tlokoeng with a brief impact evaluation and a community screening of their very own music video. 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! We are so grateful to have spent such quality time in Tlokoeng, and are eager to return as soon as we can to continue our collaboration with the community.
On a broader note, this informal video screening inspired us so much that we intend to continue such video screenings in Lesotho as a core part of Conservation Music Lesotho’s strategy. We would like to provide the Conservation Music Lesotho ("CMLS") team with a laptop, a projector, and other required equipment for them to start offering screenings and discussions in communities all over Lesotho. Thus far, our Lesotho portfolio is much larger than any other program country to date, with a documentary film and 6 finished music videos about erosion, overgrazing, climate change, and water conservation… not to mention the songs that we have yet to shoot for!
Please reach out to us if you would like to help us empower the CMLS team with the gear they need to do such screenings, as well as to find other ways to make the most of such equipment for their mission! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic
“I’ve noticed a change in the rain, the patterns of the rain. While I was still young, rain was always there but it was never a type of rain that would bring floods. Everything was there, the land was green, there was a lot of maize. Rain was always coming, but nowadays what we get is no rain at all but when it comes, it comes with a heavy pour and it messes things up.“ ~Motolinyane | Tlokoeng, Lesotho 🎵🌍❤️#conservationmusic #K2K #FacesOfCM
Happy Earth Day from our Conservation Music family here in Lesotho! Within minutes, the kids of Tlokoeng learned these words from the chorus of “Metsi Ya Rona” ("Our Water”), a song that tells the true stories of this village’s residents with regards to their relationship with water and the climate. 🎵“Our water, conserve our water!”🎵
About a month ago, much of Lesotho was welcomed to the rainy season, after many months of drought, by historically severe hailstorms, massive soil erosion, and flooding rivers that washed away people and cars. The role of water in Lesotho is complex, and this community is singing for the need to band together to keep Tlokoeng in a balanced position as their circumstances change.
In the era of climate change, every day must become Earth Day… for the next generation, for the planet, for ourselves. 🎵🌍❤ #conservationmusic #K2K
Location shooting has begun here in the village of Tlokoeng, Lesotho! Our artists and crew trekked up a mountain to capture the hollowed out caves that the Batlokoa clan, and later King Moshoeshoe, once used for shelter. Today, these caves are used as kraals (corrals) by the local balisana (shepherds). At the end of the day, we stopped to admire the sunset over the vast expanse of wildflowers and villages below. This month’s leg of Expedition #K2K has proven to be uniquely exciting and incredibly grounding for all of us. We look forward to sharing this one of a kind experience with you! 🎵🌍❤️ #conservationmusic
“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
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
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.
Khoisanboy.man 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!
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.
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...
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: www.patreon.com/conservationmusic. Can't wait to hit the road with you.
All my best,
Alex Paullin Founder, Conservation Music
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