A Bogotà nightclub uses animal and bird sounds to make a new kind of techno music
It's been a year since Covid-19 started changing the way humans live and function. A significant number of countries are facing yet another round of lockdowns, which challenges the global economy and overall mental health.
The pandemic made and is still making things difficult and painful for many, but it also set creativity on fire for some people. And when struggle blends in with art, we get something worth our attention.
Such an example was born in a popular nightclub in Bogotá, named "Kaputt". Now, the passionate club-goers of Columbia's capital have two heroes to celebrate - DJs Jorge Pizarro and Felipe Rodríguez, who started recording the "sounds from your window" mid pandemic, with the help of the global audience.
So, what's the story behind this project?
The idea initially was crafted by Héctor Buitrago, from the Grammy award-winning rock band Aterciopelados and co-founder of VozTerra. - The aim is to galvanize action to protect biodiversity. - he says, explaining that instead of incorporating the sounds of nature into classical music, he decided to turn to Pizarro and Rodríguez to tap into Bogotá's dance scene.
According to Rodríguez, "the club's coolness factor is the perfect tool to engage young curious minds with ecology". In his opinion, fans of electronic music may also be more willing to engage with ecology than those of other genres because dancing to it is spiritual, a mystical experience.
Rodríguez's DJ partner Pizarro notices that the new generation is more conscious of the environment and adds that this is also a way to stay connected to their community.
- Sound has the power to spur people into practical action because as well as providing joy it penetrates the human organism at a cellular level, especially during lockdown when people are more open to listening. - Buitrago says, adding that he was surprised to hear that, besides the "sounds from their windows", people also had recorded messages sharing their fears amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.
The project is also supported by the Museum for the UN (UN Live), which aims to use the power of creativity and culture to engage and empower billions of people to take action towards a more sustainable, hopeful world. The museum's chief executive and a former head of the Smithsonian’s office of international relations in Washington DC, Molly Fannon believes culture is underutilized by environmentalists. The UN Live's research on what provokes people to care about sustainable cities in the future gave two results: the intense feeling of nostalgia for the biodiversity they were missing and the love of music. Now, these emotions are even more intensified because of the pandemic. "We thought that if we could combine those two emotions we could provoke people to care", she says.
Fannon also points out that "Sounds from your window" aims to protect wildlife through linking ticket sales for "Kaputt" to practical initiatives and the global movement "Count Us In". "Additionally, crowdsourcing sounds in this way may also help scientists monitor the health of the ecosystems in the emerging field of acoustic ecology", she adds.
The final result is an entire set of albums that mix the sounds of animals and birds in the Colombian capital with techno beats. Robins, hummingbirds, the rufous-collared sparrow, and the purple gallinule are among the 2,000 bird species in Colombia that can be heard on the dance tracks, which also use sounds recorded in the Van der Hammen forest reserve and Conejera wetland on the city’s northern tip. They are now available for streaming: Kaputt