Founder Kenny Young Speaks Out at #COP21

Artists Project Earth are in Paris! Our house band Rhythms Del Mundo is performing their new album, Oceans, live on Monday 7th December at COP21, to help raise awareness of climate change and ocean conservation. Today our wonderfully eccentric founder and director Kenny Young sums up Artists Projects Earth’s week in Paris. Catch up with all COP21 posts here.

Kenny Young reports back on Artists Project Earth’s time so far at COP21 in Paris

Friday 11th December, 2015.

COP So Far

It seems that there may be a significant deal brewing, but the news is that it’ll go into overtime and we won’t have final signatures till the end of the weekend! There is a 29 page draft released by the French delegation. The word is they are considering limiting warming to 1.5c – this ‘dream’ is almost unachievable, but that’s just my opinion. The loudest voices are the countries most at risk – Artists Project Earth knows many of them – if it reaches 2c they are at risk of losing their homes forever. Of course further migration will expand and the turmoil will increase exponentially.

Highlight Of The Week – Live Performance

Ok, enough doom n’ gloom! I’m pleased to mention that while Artists Project Earth was (and is!) in Paris, we had a chance to premiere our new album OCEANS with a Rhythms Del Mundo performance at a very high profile UNEP event at the Muse’e L’Homme. At this same event the amazing solar pilot and innovator, Bertrand Piccard, was appointed Ambassador for UNEP.

Gig oceans fantastic
Rhythms Del Mundo performing live at COP21 – playing tracks by Amy Winehouse, James Bay, Ed Sheeran and more from the new album, Oceans

It was our great honour to be included in the proceedings, as the only music artists alongside a short accapella piece from Angelique Kidjo. It certainly was good fortune to be asked to play and share a stage with Ban Ki Moon and Leo Di Caprio, who we were very excited to meet and hopefully get on board with the new album. But alas, they didn’t show up! Nevertheless, it was a great night and to have Bertrand Piccard among us was very lifting – no pun intended! Pleasingly, he is a very good speaker too.

Considering Rhythms Del Mundo had 1 1/2 hrs rehearsal in which we had to learn about 7/8 songs, I think it all went well! We were fortunate to have my lovely Ariadne, multi-tasking throughout the whole process from rehearsals to performance. The shining stars among the performers were Mamadou Cissoko and Diabel Cissoko (koras, n’goni, djembe, vocals). We also introduced a wonderful new talent, the lovely Jazz Flowers, well beyond her 15 years. Jazz sang a few songs from the new album including the Amy Winehouse track Cupid, Laura Mvula’s ‘Green Garden’ and did great justice to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Bloodstream’. And then finally the haunting song ‘ Ocean’, which she herself sang beautifully, matching her performance on the album. I mustn’t forget our versatile Sam Van Coilie and Mike Mcgreal who deftly took on the roles of musicians – Sam on Budapest and Timshel, Mike with sound and backing vox. They even took turns as roadies. Myself, I was cajoled into playing and singing Under the Boardwalk to the band’s Afro-Latino rhythms. Felix Gibbons percussed beautifully with a recently invented drum board.

Rehearsal 3
Rhythms Del Mundo learned 8 new live songs in 90 minutes in rehearsal!

COP Summary and Our New Album, OCEANS

In summary, I’d say things seemed a great deal more optimistic at COP21 this year. Artists Project Earth have been attending international climate meetings quite regularly for around 8 years now and I hazard a guess that this will be the most fruitful of the lot … otherwise we’re all up the creek without a paddle!

Our own aim is to spread the message about Oceans, how terribly fragile things are with the amount of plastic in the oceans emanating from humanity’s massive consumption and discarding of the stuff all over the planet: the acidification, overfishing, melting ice caps, rising temperatures. I hope with all our effort, some of you will buy the album – whether it’s a few tracks, just one, or the full thing as a gift to a friend. We’re looking to raise some good cash for solid projects to help the complex issues on the planet.

Please watch our clever video trailer below. I’d like to thank Sonya Bailey, Izzy Parker-Bailey, Sam Van Coillie, Mike McGrear for the creative input to the video . The artists appearing on the album, you may have heard of them … Bob Dylan, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Beyonce, Pharrell Williams, Mumford and Sons, Maroon 5, Laura Mvula and our very own Jazz Flowers, among others.

Finally a big thanks to our social media people Lorna Howarth and Sean Buchan, without whom you wouldn’t be reading this! (Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!)

That’s it from me. “Give me sunshine, give me rain, give me bluebirds and drive me insane”
Kenny Young x



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