As It Happens

The Cicada Dream Band: Musician David Rothenberg on jamming with whales, birds and bugs

Tomorrow night in New York City, David Rothenberg will be joined on stage by a couple of humans, a few Humpback whales, scores of warblers, and millions of cicadas to form the Cicada Dream Band. Rothenberg is a music and philosophy professor who has made music with nature's best all over the world. ...
  Tomorrow night in New York City,  David Rothenberg will be joined on stage by a couple of humans, a few Humpback whales, scores of warblers, and millions of cicadas to form the  Cicada Dream Band. Rothenberg is a music and philosophy professor who has made music with nature's best all over the world. 
I started with birds. They're right there: you can see them, you can hear them, you can sense them as individuals creating a sound that humans have thought of as musical for thousands of years.

rothenberg whale.jpg
  Rothenberg began his interspecies collaborations with natures most accessible song smiths. He tells Carol, 'Birds love an acoustic adventure', and recounts playing a concert in Berlin with a group of Nightingales who were incredibly reactive to his music. Sometimes, they tried to drown him out, at other points they gave music space. 

  As for Humpback whales. Rothenberg says that though the animals often ignore his playing, he has definitely heard them change their song in response to his. 

"As an individual playing along, you're like one voice among millions. It's very humbling."

  Though their song is not as varied as some of his other collaborators, he says that jamming with cicadas, in particular    17 Year Cicadas, has its own allure. Though the droning may seem monotonous, Rothenberg says it is actually the combination of millions of voices singing multiple, complementary tones. He feels humbled to contribute. 

  In addition to the whales, birds and bugs, Rothenberg appears with overtone singer Timothy Hill and accordionist and composer Pauline Oliveros at the Cicada Dream Band CD release party in NYC, tomorrow night. 
   
   
   
   
                 
   

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