Wild Tracks – Blissful songs inspired by Nature

We are incredibly excited to have musician, zoologist and presenter Louis VI as one of our Rewild Yourself Champions, class of 2024 (find out more about our Rewild Yourself Champions – here). We’re also totally obsessed with his new single, Orange Skies ft. Nature, which is the first of its kind to have Nature herself as a named artist. 

This inspired us to pick a few of our other favourite songs inspired by Nature to share with you all. Each song either features Nature sounds, or is heavily inspired by something in the natural world. Many of the tracks have interesting backstories too, so take a moment to let Nature soothe, inspire and entertain you with our top tracks… 

LISTEN HERE ON SPOTIFY

  • Orange Skies ft. Nature – Louis VI

For a long time, the natural world has been missing from the modern music scene. Louis VI is on a mission to change that. With a degree in Zoology, a passion for the outdoors, a smooth voice and endless talent; he’s not only bringing a new dynamic to rap music, he’s diversifying the demographic of Nature enthusiasts and giving back to organisations who connect young people of colour and minority backgrounds to the outdoors. Louis is one of our ReWild Yourself Champions Class of 2024 and we can’t wait to see where this journey takes him. Listen here:

  • Bushes and Briars – Sam Lee 

Sam has put his own spin on this traditional folk song, filling it with ominous strings, wobbling double bass, and gunshot like snares. Atop of this foreboding soundscape, he sings in his characteristic rich baritone,  a song of reverence for the Nightingale and regret for what has been lost. In his own words, it is “an invitation to consider what appreciation in the age of extinction can feel like.”  

The line, “Sometimes I’m plagued by all I should and must, and what we’ll leave behind…” will strike a chord with anyone battling with those same feelings of guilt and worry.  It’s powerful stuff and another Nature hymn from Sam fitting for our times. 

  • Sueño en Paraguay (El Búho Remix) – Chancha Vía Circuito

This ‘Dream in Paraguay’ is an example of eléctrica selvática, music that incorporates the sound of bird call, insects, rainfall and other natural sounds into rich electronica soundscapes. The organic and electronic fuse, to the point that it isn’t always clear which is which. I guess that’s the point right…that in the right hands, with care and respect, the natural and modern world can exist in harmony, with glorious results. The song features two prominent proponents of the genre, Latin American DJs, Chancha Vía Circuito and El Búho. I for one could get lost in the world they create for hours. Unsurprisingly, there is plenty more eléctrica selvática in our list.

  • Mirla – Monte 

The Mirla is a South American thrush with a soft, melodious and varied song. After being regularly visited on his terrace by the same bird, Colombian musician Simón Mejía started recording its song, noticing it get bolder and more vocal each day. Sadly, one morning he found it lifeless on the floor by his house. As a homage to the bird, he built a song around recordings of  its sweet vocalisations, backed by a charanga beat. Despite being tinged with melancholy, the song is an infectious treat.

  • No Man is an Archipelago – Sea Power 

The British rock band Sea Power have rarely done things by the book, so when they recorded a soundtrack for the 1934 fictional documentary, Man of Aran, which portrays the premodern daily routines of the residents of the Aran Islands, off the West Coast of Ireland, it wasn’t a huge surprise. These islanders’ lives were intimately linked with the tempestuous North Atlantic, where they would fish for Pollock, Mackerel, and even Basking Sharks. This tune captures the power and glory of the ocean;  all crashing cymbals and swelling strings; an undercurrent of electric guitar with soaring trumpets riding the waves! Well that’s what I hear anyway! I can just imagine it soundtracking the next Blue Planet series.

 

 

  • An Undiscovered Paradise – El Búho, Ian Urbina

Musician  El Búho combines Dub, IDM and Electronica with the rhythms, traditions and melodies of Latin American folk and the organic sound of waterfalls, birdsongs and crackling leaves. As an environmental activist, El Búho also finds ways to use his music to promote and protect the very same subjects and elements he incorporates in his music. In 2020, he took part in New York Times author Ian Urbina’s project The Outlaw Ocean (well worth checking out). This is the opening track of the resulting Agua Profundas EP, which includes spoken-word extracts from Ian’s book over eerie ocean sounds, intended to “..convey some of the dualities of the sea — the ominous threat of oil drilling along with the hope brought by brave activists, and the captivating beauty, but dark mystery of the ocean deep”.

  • Agua – Monte

Agua is a track taken from Simón Mejía’s soundtrack to the Stand for Trees documentary, “Sonic Forest”.  The film follows Simón’s journey into the jungles and mountains of the Colombian Pacific, to “discover the richness of Earth’s most megadiverse places through its local music and its people..”. In the documentary, Simón compares walking in the forest to meditating,  “you go into a special trance, and the sounds are a key part of the process”.  Agua is just that, a trance that drenches you in layers of cascading rhythm and melody and transports you to the Colombian Pacific. The rest of the documentary and album is equally as vivid.

  • Detectorists  – Johnny Flynn

This is the theme song for one of my favourite TV shows, The Detectorists, a touching and highly entertaining ode to friendship and hobbyism. It is also writer, Mackenzie Crook’s love letter to the English countryside, featuring lingering shots of wildflower meadow, woodland, and other bucolic treats.  Musician Johnny Flynn wrote all the music for the show, including this beautiful theme tune, a gorgeous finger-picked piece full of longing, inviting us to “search through the loamy earth” and “climb through the briar and bramble”. Every time I listen to this song, it moves me to grab my boots and coat and do just that! Also worth checking out Johnny Flynn’s collaboration with Nature writer Robert Macfarlane.

  • The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony:1 – Richard Blackford, Bernie Kraus

Bernie Kraus is a legendary bioacoustic recorder, who has created the most expansive private collection of animal sounds in the world, with over 4,500 hours of material, capturing 15,000 different species. Through this process, he also realised something profound, that these separate voices only make sense in the context of all the other natural sounds around them.  Each voice must find its space or time, its own frequency, rhythm or tone, to cut through the wall of other sounds around it. The Great Animal Orchestra is a collaboration with composer Richard Backford, trying to capture this sense of sonic layers and competing sounds, rising and falling through the day and seasons. It is a dramatic journey that starts with duetting gibbons in the rainforest, past strident violins and cicadas, through rumbling thunder and tumbling tuba lines, to finish on the plaintive call of a humpback whale.

  • Waterfalls in Ocho Rios  – Equiknoxx

With ‘Waterfalls in Ocho Rio’s, dancehall collective, Equiknoxx, made up of producers Gavin “Gavsborg” Blair and Jordan “Time Cow” Chung, sprinkle processed bird song over shimmering harp, creating a laid back beat. It’s not normally my jam, but there is something very evocative about this track, transporting me to a calming blue lagoon under running water.

  • Coroico  – Chancha Vía Circuito

Many of the songs in this list feature the sound of birds in some way. This is no surprise really,  being the most vocal and melodious of the different animal groups.  So when I heard the recognisable soft rattle of frog call in the opening bars of Coroico, recorded by Chancha Vía Circuito high in the Bolivian mountains, I knew it had to feature –  amphibians represent! It also happens to be another lush example of  eléctrica selvática, quickly becoming my new favourite genre, its name drawn from the Spanish and Portuguese for jungle, selva. It does make you wonder what other nature / music fusions could be out there…forest folk…riparian rap….busha nova? The mind boggles.

Voice for Nature Foundation

ReWild Yourself is an initiative from the Voice for Nature Foundation, a charity working to reconnect people everywhere with the natural world.

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