Cucusonic: Translating post-conflict tropical forest biodiversity in Colombia into new music
Dr Rupert Cox, Anthropologist and Project Manager
Alejandro Valencia-Tobon, Anthropologist and Cucusonic leader in Colombia Ana Maria Gomez Aguirre and Danny Zurc, Colombian biological scientists Carlos Restrepo, Colombian musician
Alejandro Valderrama, Colombian anthropologist
Musicians featured on the album
The work of Cucusonic, a collective of Colombian biological scientists, anthropologists and musicians who in partnership with the University of Manchester’s Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology and the charity In Place of War have invited a team of high profile electronic music producers to use a bank of rainforest sounds (lizards, bats, frogs, birds etc) to create new music. The sounds were collected through a network of scientists working with various local communities, living in situations of conflict and post-conflict as well as with the effects of lockdown imposed by the global pandemic. The project itself is supported by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund and addresses questions about the potential and limits of public engagement with scientific and social issues that arise from projects that translate bioacoustic data into music; about the recording, analytical and composition methods involved and about the formation and management of relationships with local communities that may include groups who are living and working in threatening situations.
The outcome is a collaborative music album inspired by the sounds, frequencies and stories of the rainforest, designed to raise national and international audiences’ awareness of its biodiversity challenges in the face of a rise in violence and to highlight the potential of a biological science-citizen science - musical network capable of engendering new relationships and action on biodiversity. Artists involved include Brian Eno, Martyn Ware, Matt Black (Coldcut), Laima Leyton, Iggor Cavalera, Camilo Lara, Fer Isella, Matthew Dear, Osunlade, Blanco Regina, Buddy, bræv and Darper. The compilation album will be released in the summer of 2021 via the Vinyl Factory.
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The Conference was organised as part of the AHRC/ESRC funded Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research project Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation 2017-2021.