Of birdsongs, beatboxing and conservation

Of birdsongs, beatboxing and conservation

Ben Mirin presents a fusion 'between birdsong and beatbox'

“The birdsongs you hear in a particular place is like an anthem to that place,” said Ben Mirin, a beatboxer from Brooklyn during a musical performance after the inauguration of the Student Conference of Conservation Science at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here on Tuesday.

Mirin enthralled the audience with a performance that was a “fusion between the birdsong and the beatbox” Beatboxing is the art of mimicking percussion sounds using one’s mouth. “You carry the instrument wherever you go. We all listen to birds singing, and intuitively recognise their lovely melody. Birdsong is vocal acrobatics perfected over millions of years of evolution,” Mirin said. A fusion between birdsong and beatboxing is Mirin’s  USP.

 Mirin is in Bengaluru as part of the ‘The Skyisland beatbox project’ which is hosted by the National Centre for Biological Sciences. He is bringing a unique art dimension to conservation. Mirin is an avid birder, and is heading to the Western Ghats later this week to look at the diverse birdlife there. He has also been working with Indian musicians and creating fusion pieces.

Conservationist and researcher T R Shankar Raman, speaking at the programme, said that the ecological restoration is the process of assisting the growth of trees and plants in their natural forest. “You literally nudge an ecosystem onto its feet.” Raman, along with another researcher Divya Mudappa, had decided to restore a fragment of rainforest at Valparai in the Western Ghats. The duo have just finished their thesis at Valparai, and decided to try their hand at restoration of forests.

Raman said that he has seen fragments of rainforest come up amidst the tea gardens of Valparai during his visit to the area for the past 13 years.

“Our project had a very humble beginning. In fact, it began with droppings,” said Raman. Divya Mudappa’s doctoral research found that civets were dispersing seeds all over the landscape. During the course of research, they also found that they could grow rainforest species. Valparai has extensive tea gardens, which have created fragments of degraded forest within a matrix of tea. It is in this landscape that Raman and Mudappa have worked, planting about 116 species of rainforest and lianas. “Those of you who want to try restoration, remember that it’s hope and heartache in equal measure,” he said.
 

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