Calling all songbirds for NZ Music Month
18 May 2011
May is New Zealand Music Month, the annual celebration of home-grown talent, which this year is about to expose some of the country’s best-known singers who’ve yet to record a chart-topping hit.
While they’re part of everyday life in New Zealand and their songs are familiar to most Kiwis, the talented musicians - members of the country’s extensive native bird population - are yet to be fully discovered on the air waves.
But thanks to New Zealand’s official Spokesbird for Conservation that may all be about to change. Sirocco, the famous kākāpō, has put out a call for musically talented Kiwis to turn bird-songs into pop-rocking tunes as part of a special competition to mark Music Month.
Boom, twitter and trill
New Zealand has a host of unusual native birds, many gifted with perfect pitch voices, who twitter and trill from dawn to dusk - others (like Sirocco) can boom like canon fire and have made a name for themselves for behaviours not related to sounding off.
Now it’s hoped the uniquely Kiwi native birdsong can be remixed into something current and chart-worthy.
Sirocco, who already has a high profile and is renowned for his human-like behaviours, is drumming up support for the Music Month birdsong idea via the Department of Conservation (DOC) website.
A competition to find the best remix will run until the end of May with top entries posted on the DOC website and an opportunity for the public to vote for their favourite.
"New Zealand birds have charisma, good looks and a unique sound - they have been recorded time and time again - but are yet to release a chart topping track," says Sirocco.
"We know there are people out there who can take some of our beautiful songs - or even my manly booming - and remix it into something current and chart worthy. This is your chance to turn New Zealand’s avian songsters into bona fide rock stars! Skraaark!"
While there will be a prize for the best remix, Sirocco says, more importantly, the winner will forever benefit from the profile afforded them as a result of their close association with some of the most talented and beautiful individuals in New Zealand.
The unique sounds of New Zealand’s many native birds - heard from the moment visitors arrive in the country and evident from backyards to forests and open landscapes - are an essential part of the New Zealand experience.
DOC staff work hard to protect the threatened native species by managing environments through eradication of predators and on-site breeding and manipulation programmes for many species.
Kākāpō are a case in point - the large flightless, nocturnal parrot is one of the most endangered birds in the world, and efforts to reverse its decline has seen a significant turn-around in the past ten years.
DOC’s national Kākāpō team has managed to take the population from just 51 birds in 1995 to 120 to date (18.5.11).
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