Music for the Earth
Music for the Earth, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization, has the mission to explore and implement ways that music can be used to enrich the lives of human beings and awaken a spirit of involvement in the preservation of wildlife, wilderness and the natural environments of the Earth.
Music For The Earth’s activities include concerts and albums to build community, celebrate the sounds of the planet, and benefit environmental causes; wilderness recording expeditions; media outreach and raising public awareness about environmental and social justice issues and groups; environmental and cultural education programs for young people; and music-making workshops and residencies. Other projects include EarthChild, a musical celebration of the community of life, in the form of a CD/DVD, with a companion guide for teachers and parents; and The Tree, a musical celebration of sacred trees around the world.
Music for the Earth is governed by a Board of Directors: Mary Davidson, Peter Forbes, Sarah Laird, James Sinclair and William Ryerson; with the advice of a “Sounding Board”, including Judy Collins, David Darling, Michael Fox, Jane Goodall, H. Wiley Hitchcock, Al Huang, The Very Rev. James Parks Morton, Pete Seeger, Noel Paul Stookey, William Irwin Thompson, Andrew Tracey, and Mary Evelyn Tucker.
Paul Winter, Flyways Music Director
Saxophonist Paul Winter has spent the past 30 years exploring ways in which music can be used not only to enrich people’s lives, but also to engender dialogue and catalyze change. One of the pioneers of world music, he was also among the first to incorporate sounds of nature and wildlife into his compositions, creating a unique genre of “earth music,” which interweaves voices from the symphony of the wild, along with instrumental voices from classical, jazz and indigenous traditions. Winter has recorded more than 40 albums, of which 12 have received Grammy nominations, and 7 have won (the most recent being Miho: Journey to the Mountain, which won a Grammy Award in 2010).
Chris Berry, Flyways Music Researcher
Chris Berry lived for 9 years among the Shona people of Zimbabwe, where he learned mbira (thumb piano), from the traditional masters. Eventually he earned the title of “gwenyambira” (“one whose music calls the spirits”), a distinction reserved only for those who have achieved the highest fusion of the technical and the magical in Shona music.
The Paul Winter Consort
The Paul Winter Consort was formed by Paul Winter in 1967 and became one of the earliest exponents of world music, combining elements from various African, Asian, and South American cultures with jazz. The group comprises a community of some of the world’s finest jazz, classical and ethnic musicians, reflecting the broad realm of music and rich textures of sound Winter continues to explore. The Paul Winter Consort has recorded 40 albums and performed over 2,000 concerts in 48 countries.
Dr. Yossi Leshem
The seed for Flyways was sown in 1991, when the Paul Winter Consort toured Israel. Following a concert at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Dr. Yossi Leshem came backstage and asked if he could show Paul a video of his work with the migrating birds. Leshem was intrigued by the music the Consort had played celebrating whales and wolves, and wondered if Paul might consider doing something with the migrating birds.
Yossi had become renowned in Israel for finding ways to stop the collision of Air Force jets with migrating birds. His research provided data on the approximate dates and altitudes of the various bird species’ migrations. Using this information and radar, he could advise the Air Force during times of peak passage and succeeded in cutting plane/bird crashes by 76%. The militaries of neighboring countries also benefited from his information, and Yossi realized the possibilities migrating birds offered for peaceful cooperation: Since birds do not belong to one country, a shared concern about birds could be used to connect people of different nationalities. Peace has to start somewhere, he reasoned, so why not with birds? Yossi has since based many cooperative inter-cultural initiatives on migrating birds, such as the development of organic agriculture in the region (pesticide- free fields benefit people as well as migrating raptors).
In 1993, Yossi, then Director of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, invited the Consort to play for the SPNI annual convention in the Negev Desert, and arranged for Paul to fly there in a motorized 2-person glider from Galilee airport in the north, accompanying the migrating storks as they soared in the sky above. From that unforgettable experience came the vision for the Flyways album: to create a musical chronicle of the birds’ long journey, using music of each culture over which they fly.
The film footage used in the Flyways concerts, and many of the bird images on this site, have been shot by award-winning Israeli photographer/cinematographer Eyal Bartov. His credits include numerous films for National Geographic, as well as for environmen- tal organizations and publications throughout the world. Paul met Eyal during a concert tour of Israel in the mid-90s, when Eyal was a naturalist at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz on the Dead Sea. His extraordinary footage has been a great inspiration for the vision for the Flyways adventure. Music for the Earth is deeply grateful to Eyal for his generosity in sharing his images.
Please be in touch with us as this project develops. We would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments about the site and the Flyways project. You’re invited to sign up for news of events and CD/DVD releases.
Music for the Earth, Inc.
Litchfield, CT 06759
info [at] musicfortheearth [dot] org