The combination of nature and modern technology is a common trope nowadays, but it can still be quite effective when done right. Such is the case with A Guide to the Songbird of South America, a 10-track album released by Rhythm & Roots featuring some of the best names in that territory’s digital cumbia/tropical movement.
The album is the brainchild of Robin Perkins, a DJ, environmental activist, and lifelong birdwatcher who finally combined all three of those interests together in one package. The founder of the Rhythm & Roots blog/label wanted to bring attention to the plight of endangered birds in South America. He teamed up with a number of artists from the region and chose birds based on their home countries.
Each artist received a recording of an endangered bird and was tasked with creating a song based on the recording. The results were as varied and unique as the species represented in each song. Some artists played their birdcall sample in the introduction, others interspersed them in the background while others sampled and warped them with synthesizers.
The album includes some of our longtime favorites such as Chancha Via Circuito, Tremor, Barrio Lindo, and Dengue Dengue Dengue. Also on the record are Colombian/Argentine duo Lulacruza, Brazilians Alessandra Leao and Psilosamples, French-Ecuadoran Nicola Cruz, Venezuelan Algodón Egipcio, and Matanza from Chile.
The album can be purchased by itself or with a limited-edition t-shirt, a set of postcards, and other goodies. All proceeds from sales will go to the Fundación Jocotoco, an Ecuadoran NGO dedicated to protecting endangered birds.