Today the National Audubon Society announced its partnership in “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project,” a historic and unprecedented outpouring of creativity by more than 220 music artists, actors, literary figures, and visual artists. “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project” includes 174 original pieces of music, more than 70 poems, and 20 original album covers. Volume I is available on digital streaming platforms today. All proceeds benefit the National Audubon Society. A full list of artists and project background is available at www.audubon.org/birdsong-project.
“For the Birds: The Birdsong Project” is the undertaking of Grammy Award-winning music supervisor Randall Poster of Premier Music Group, who became much more aware of birds and the birdsong around him while staying at home in New York City during the early days of COVID-19. The project was further inspired by the idea to celebrate birdsong from his friend and album Executive Producer Rebecca Reagan, who brought a grand creative vision and wisdom to the project.
Poster began reaching out to artists to help create a benefit album, and in that process, he spoke with Audubon board member and actor Lili Taylor (“Say Anything,” “High Fidelity,” “Outer Range,” “The Conjuring”) to discuss a partnership with Audubon.
“We’re going to engage generations of people in the most joyful, gracious way possible: through birdsong,” said Poster. “It’s key that we bring awareness to this cause by enlisting the biggest names in music and entertainment, and I am so grateful to be partnering with the National Audubon Society to do so. Partnership is the key to protecting and conserving the natural world we all love and share.”
The list of contributors is wide-ranging and impressive.
Musicians featured with original contributions:
Adam Horovitz, Alaska Reid & A.G. Cook, Alex Somers, Andrew Bird, Animal Collective, Atlas Sound & L’Rain, Beck, Cassandra Jenkins, Dan Deacon, Elvis Costello, Esperanza Spalding, Flaming Lips, Haden Triplets, Jeff Tweedy, Jim James, Josh Kaufman, Julia Holter, Julianna Barwick, Kamasi Washington, Karen Elson, Karen O, Kurt Vile, Makaya McCraven, Mark Ronson, Mary Lattimore, Michael Rother & Vittoria Maccabruni, Mike Campbell, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Stephin Merritt, Terry Riley, Tyondai Braxton, UNKLE, Yo-Yo Ma, and more.
Spoken word contributions:
Alice Waters, Bette Midler, Danielle Haim, Florence Welch, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, Jelani Cobb, Olivia Wilde, Matthew McConaughey, Natasha Lyonne, Regina King, Robert Pattinson, Sean Penn, Tilda Swinton, Tim Blake Nelson, Toni Collette, Wally Wolodarsky, and more.
Preview three songs from “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project” here:
Watch / “Archangel” – Beck
Watch / “Fly On” – Karen Elson
“Like many during the height of the COVID pandemic, nature became a soothing balm to the chaos and uncertainty,” said Karen Elson. “During these times I had genuine moments of reflection and noticed things about the physical world which had gone unnoticed for too long. The owls in my backyard at sundown calling to each other, the hummingbirds in the busing in the wisteria, the bluebirds nesting by my front door. As the world turned inward and the background static of our lives muted, the natural world reminded us that it’s always been here but we as humans so often miss the magic that is always around us. It’s such an honor to be a part of The Birdsong Project with so many incredible artists, simply for the pleasure of the birds and the inspiration they bring.”
“It was an honor and delight to participate in this beautiful project,” said Olivia Wilde. “This is truly a singular collection of music and poetry that has never before been collected on this scale. Reading the poetry of Ada Limon into a microphone at Electric Lady Studios was a dream. It’s a thrill to be a part of the Birdsong creative collective.”
Many other organizations are engaged as partners in The Birdsong Project. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is presenting “For the Birds,” a multidisciplinary exhibition and program series running June 11 to October 23, featuring a garden-wide installation of artist-made birdhouses, a gallery exhibit by Taryn Simon, a soundbath featuring Alex Somers, weekly birding tours, workshops for kids, evening events, and more. Birdlife International, a global conservation and scientific partnership, will host a Birdsong Project concert at its centennial celebration in London this September (Audubon is a member and co-founder of BirdLife). Bird Collective has designed an apparel collection for The Birdsong Project. Many other cultural institutions, gardens, and conservation organizations are also developing events and activities for summer 2022 and beyond.
For a full list of artists and more and to stream the collection, visit www.audubon.org/birdsong-project
Here’s a selection of the album covers for the project.