Nature India | Indigenus

Care for some beatboxing with bird songs?

Travancore Scimitar Babbler

Travancore Scimitar Babbler

Prasenjeet Yadav

First hear this amazing beatbox groove.

That’s a bird — the Travencore Scimitar Babbler (right) — giving fair competition to any rap or reggae artiste.

This week Bangalore is going to see some unusual beatbox campaigners — Ben Mirin, a music producer, an internationally recognized beatboxer and a birder from New York; Prasenjeet Yadav, photographer,  explorer and researcher; and V. V. Robin, a bird ecologist from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS).

Together the trio is putting together the SkyIsland Beatbox project, which will use beatbox to create music with bird songs and make videos of rare birds.

This month, Ben will conduct workshops and bird watching trips in Bangalore, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Kochi and Trivandrum where people can join in, make music with bird songs, and learn about music and birds. Prasenjeet Yadav, who was among the winners of last year’s Nature India photo contest, will then produce a YouTube video with information on different birds that are included in the music.

The birdsong beatboxers: (Left to right) Ben, Robin, Prasenjeet

The birdsong beatboxers: (Left to right) Ben, Robin, Prasenjeet

The idea is to take the conservation story to the people. The project revolves around the Western Ghat mountains, home to many birds found only there and nowhere else in this world. “Some of these special birds live only on the tops of mountains – areas called sky islands. While most people appreciate birds for their unparalleled singing ability, they are often unaware of the unique bird species in their landscape that are threatened with extinction,” the project summary says.

The group will make original music using a combination of bird song and beatbox as a means of creating awareness in these audiences about birds and engaging them in bird conservation. The music will be mixed with high-quality photographs and films of these birds to produce a video identifying the bird species responsible for each sound in the composition.

So three cheers to team and their unique project — let the music play!

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