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David Rothenberg | Why Birds Sing

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Don Cherry Jan Garbarek Paul Winter

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Electronic: Soundscapes New Age: Environmental Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Why Birds Sing

by David Rothenberg

Thoughtful energetic sounds that learn from the sounds of birds
Genre: Electronic: Soundscapes
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Trio Menura
4:26 $0.99
2. Spheral, Spheral
5:40 $0.99
3. Beezus, Beeten, Breep
5:51 $0.99
4. Temperate Woodland
5:15 $0.99
5. Bou Bou Swell
4:06 $0.99
6. Sheer Frustration, Really
4:42 $0.99
7. The Lyrebird Suite
4:20 $0.99
8. Pillow of Air
6:59 $0.99
9. White-Crested Laugh
3:00 $0.99
10. The Language of Water
8:54 $0.99
11. Rhythm Migration
5:49 $0.99
12. No Water and No Rock
4:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Only one word suffices to describe the sounds emerging from David Rothenberg's CD Why Bird Sing: sublime. This is music that transports you to another world." --Discover

"Rothenberg... merges the intentional music of an improviser with the more mysterious sounds of feathered friends." --All About Jazz

"Rothenberg is a participant in the passerine orchestra, not just an observer. Benny Goodman, eat your heart out!" --E Magazine

"Why Birds Sing is one of those ramblings that transforms one of those taken-for-granted things into let's-think-about-it-again stuff."--The New York Times

David Rothenberg finds musical inspiration beyond the human world. He jams with lyrebirds and laughing thrushes, catbirds and bou bou shrikes. This recording has been five years in the making, and it involves cutting-edge musicians from all over the world mixing their sounds with the wonderful musical melodies and tones of birds. Hear the interspecies jams that set the book in motion, as Rothenberg's clarinets and Michael Pestel's flute meet a white-crested laughing thrush in the National Aviary, and a wild Australian lyrebird named George in his rainforest home. These pieces are live interactions betweeen humans and birds, and the music lies somewhere along the uncharted flyways of evolution. Back in the studio a stretched-out hermit thrush song meets the bass clarinet, and Maori flutes, Estonian guitars, and live Finnish electronics meet catbirds, starlings, skylarks, and waves.

David Rothenberg is an improvising composer and philosopher with numerous recordings, performances, and books to his credit. His 1995 record, On the Cliffs of the Heart, with percussionist Glen Velez and banjo player Graeme Boone, was released by New Tone Records. A few years earlier John Cage praised this trio's "sense of virtuosity traveling all over the world." Jazziz named it one of the top ten releases of 1995. His 1997 record, Unamuno, blending improvised music with natural soundscapes, was featured on NPR, WDR German Radio Cologne, and Radio Mafia in Finland. In 1999 he released Bangalore Wild, a collaboration with the Karnataka College of Percussion in Bangalore, India, in collaboration with the WILD Foundation. In 2000 Before the War was released, a collaboration with natural sound artist Douglas Quin, from EarthEar Records in Santa Fe. It was cited as "a notable release" in Billboard, and The Guardian in Britain praised it as "genuine 21st century music." His most recent CD is Soo-Roo, featuring Estonian guitarist Robert Jürjendal and percussionist John Wieczorek.

Rothenberg has performed with Marilyn Crispell, Hamid Drake, Ray Phiri, Barry Guy, and various cutting-edge music figures from New Zealand to Norway including Richard Nunns and Jan Bang. Rothenberg is also co-editor of The Book of Music and Nature (2001), and he produced the accompaning compilation CD which includes the music of Pauline Oliveros, Brian Eno, Tuvan throatsingers and Australian butcherbirds. His book/CD memoir, Sudden Music: Improvisation, Art, Nature, came out in January, 2002.

Also appearing on this record are flutist and performance artist Michael Pestel, Finnish electronic wizard Petri Kuljuntausta, New Zealand Grammy-award winner Richard Nunns, whose Maori-based music appeared in Whale Rider and Lord of the Rings. Also Estonian guitar master Robert Jürjendal, and versatile percussionist John Wieczorek.

The record is co-produced by Rothenberg along with tuba player Patrick Donahue, known for his work as surround-sound mixer on Bowling for Columbine and Control Room.

See www.whybirdssing.com for more details on the project and the simultaneously published book Why Birds Sing, which Bill McKibben has said is "exhuberantly intellectual, exhuberantly alive."

"David Rothenberg," says Paul Winter, "is one of the rare musicians who is devoted to exploring the voices of the natural world. I would hope this work might encourage others to follow suit."



to write a review

Why Birds Sing

One of the most amazing things I have listened to!
This CD was one of the most unusual, yet fascinating I have ever listened to. David Rothenberg has crossed a dimensional line between the human sense of music, and nature's wonderful sounds through the medium of bird songs! So unique! A treasure.

Margot Costanzo

Waving the Maine water with lyres and laughs.
I first heard David Rothenburg interviewed on Australian radio and immediately rushed out to order the book Why Birds sing. The CD came first and we have played it five times a day for the last week. Can't wait to get the book and read the explanation for music that strikes the viscera and needs no real explanation. Buy it for all your friends.

Melinda Moore

Innovative, compassionate, enlightened work.
High artistic quality coupled with environmental awareness and interspecies communication via music makes this one of my favorite albums to date. Thank you for this!


Very slick and interesting
One of the nicest blendings of natural sounds and played music I have ever heard. I listen to it again and again.


Beautiful combination of music and nature
Beautiful combination of music and nature. A great gift in combination with the book for any bird-lovers or even bird-likers.

Chandra Hewitt

Love of birds and love of music
My 2 main hobbies are bird-watching and listening to music. This cd combines both in such an enchanting and pleasurable manner.

Alex Landrum

I first heard this on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction
I was intrigued enough to order the CD thinking it may be an interesting oddity if nothing else, a conversation piece if you like. I was pleasantly surprised to find it much more than that. The piece stays this side of new age ambience, which doesn't interest me at all, to remain interesting as a musical event. I noticed from the CD packaging that David Rothenberg has worked with some seriously good musicians in the past so he is serious about contemporary music. The birds each have their own particular character, which is one of the remarkable aspects of the musical dialogue between man and bird on this disc. If you are interested in contemporary music you will find that Rothenberg creates a fascinating sound world from his avian encounters.


bird flght and music trumps airplanes and noise
Obviously, great jazz players hopes to improvise like nature. Actually, not so obvious, till I bought this CD. But I did not buy it primarily because I love jazz which I do, but because I moved to a world where bird song was so strong and pure that it challenged airport noise. I was just doing a search on bird song, greatful for the relief it was providing and I found this CD. Buy the CD: human beings do the best they can to sing with the birds.

Ricardo Méndez Castro

Music Through the birds.
I think the cd is brilliant.The music and songs of birds complement each other. It is a good idea and different another cd projects.

liz kavanagh why birds sing

heard the music on the radio loved it bought the CD delighted
i first heard this music on the car radio , i loved the sounds and the mix of nature ,when i got to my destination i just left the car and headed into the trees nearby to listen to the birds, when i got home l looked up the website mentioned i loved the site and the short film of the duet between the musician and the bird . I ordered the CD and am very happy with it .