A Guide to the Birdsong of Western Africa is an album of music inspired by endangered birdsong. Each featured artist was challenged to make an original track using and inspired by the song of an endangered bird from their country. The album aims to raise awareness about the plight of these birds while raising funds for organisations that are working to protect them.
A Guide to the Birdsong of Western Africa features 10 artists as diverse as the birds found in this region. Guitarist Vieux Farka Touré and fellow Malian producer Luka Productions pair with the call of the Black crowned crane, which is found across the Sahel and is threatened by trapping for the pet trade. Senegalese group Wau Wau Collectif and kora maestro Lamine Cissokho, take the sound of the Yellow-casqued hornbill and integrate it into a weightless, flute-filled groove. Sierra Leone’s Refugee Allstars layer subtle chirping over the off-beat strumming of regional baskeda folk music to honor the Sierra Leone prinia. Buruntuma picks up the tempo with his clean Afro-house featuring the song of the Timneh parrot and Sensei Lo blends local electronic rhythms and melodies with sounds of the incredibly rare Ibadan malimbe.
This project would not have been possible without the support of an incredible Kickstarter community, with whom we raised £19,329 in September 2021. All net proceeds from the crowdfunding campaign and all profits from the sales of the record, music streaming, poster and t-shirt will be donated to three organisations working on the ground to protect these and other bird species:
The Nigerian Bird Atlas Project (NIBAP)
The Nigerian Bird Atlas Project (NiBAP) is a citizen science initiative aimed at promoting public participation in bird and biodiversity conservation through bird watching and atlasing. Through this project, over 1,000 young Nigerians have been recruited into bird clubs that the project has helped establish across the country. Funding from the Birdsong Project will help fund field expeditions to survey local bird species, training for additional citizen volunteers, and the purchase of binoculars and other field equipment.
Gulf of Guinea Biodiversity Center (GGBC)
The Gulf of Guinea Biodiversity Center facilitates research, education and conservation of the unique diversity of plants and animals on the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe in close collaboration with Birdlife Africa, the world’s largest nature conservation partnership. The Birdsong Project donation will support the training of additional full-time “guardians of the forest”, who carry out important species monitoring and law enforcement in the natural park of São Tomé, which is home to many bird species that occur nowhere else in the world.
Association Nature Koussabel (ANAK)
The Association Nature Koussabel (ANAK) is a fledgling NGO in Senegal, developed in partnership with the International Crane Foundation and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The organization focuses on monitoring the rare and beautiful Black crowned crane in the Casamance region of south-west Senegal. The Birdsong Project funding will subsidize ongoing crane monitoring to identify threats to the species, as well as training of local communities in climate-smart farming practices that support crane conservation.
This is the third album from the Birdsong Project, following on from ‘A Guide to the Birdsong of South America’, which was released in 2015 and featured artists such as Nicola Cruz and Dengue Dengue Dengue, and 2020’s ‘A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean’, featuring Equiknoxx and The Garifuna Collective amongst others. To date, the project has yielded more than $50,000 USD in donations to six animal and habitat conservation nonprofits across Latin America.