As we emerge from a challenging year into whatever comes next, it is difficult to know who to listen to amidst the noise.
The people of the Amazon have wisdom to share and stories to set straight. This year we heard speeches ringing out from Indigenous youth ringing out clear above the hubub at COP26, and Paradise Row in London hosted the first art exhibition outside of Latin America curated by an Indigenous artist. Are we finally starting to listen to our elders?
Music is the human spirit of the forest
Amplifying Indigenous voices
Poa’s voice carries the story of his people’s struggles during the rubber boom, and reminds us of the resilience of a culture living in harmony with their environment. Listening to him, and to others who know the rhythms of the forest, we can reimagine the relationship between our cultures and our kingdoms. We can learn new ways to engage with ancestral knowledge, hear the histories of our shared encounters and create partnerships for a world with space for everything that lives.
Poa and his people have begun the work of reforestation, and Indigenous groups elsewhere in Brazil are approaching RAIN with plans for sapling nurseries. They lack resources, but not the will or the skills to succeed.
Other voices in harmony
The bows that give voice to the strings are made of pernambuco wood, the uniquely resonant “ironwood” species shaped by bow makers for centuries. Our world heritage owes much to this tree, and our love of its rare beauty has pushed it to the brink of extinction – but together we can ensure that the sounds of the strings keep resonating. Master bow maker Marco Raposo has partnered with RAIN to grow 50,000 saplings for farmers and ecosystem restorers, and the first 250 went in the ground last month.
Orchestra for the Earth conductor John Warner reminds us of another connection between music and nature.
Miriam Margolyes lent her inimitable voice to the video, telling the story of the song. “Strangers are coming to take our land. Fires are coming, destroying our homes.” As we go into mid-winter in 2021, we don’t know what next spring will bring. We are like the Noke Koi a century ago, dazzled by a noisy, changing world, and like them we are starting to understand that only as a community working together can we weather the challenges we face.
- £5 goes a long way in Brazil, providing a tree and training to one of 70 farmers in Espírito Santo.
- £50 can empower locals to reforest their land with pernambuco saplings, and for £600 your family or business can reforest a spring.