Think of a flyway is an aerial superhighway for birds. Birds of the world travel between breeding grounds in the north to wintering areas in the south. This path includes a diverse array of territory required for the species’ life cycles. Unfortunately, many of the habitats on the route are under threat. The Great Rift Valley Flyway which connects Europe, Asia, and Africa is one of the globe's most essential bird migratory corridors. This instinctual passage is comprised of five hundred million birds of 350 species. For the past several years, this natural phenomenon has been celebrated by Paul Winter in music and concert.
Great Rift Valley Migration of Birds
Paul Winter first experienced this miraculous migration in 2013 when he soared in a glider across Israel with the migrating storks on the thermal currents coming up from the Rift Valley below.
From that unforgettable adventure came the vision for a musical composition. In celebration, he created a musical chronicle of the birds' long journey. This serenade incorporates the cultures over which they fly, weaving the voices of the birds into the fabric of the music. His concert this year will be performed with a new international ensemble, the Great Rift Valley Orchestra and the Paul Winter Consort. They comprise indigenous musicians who live in various locations along the flyway.
The motto of the Flyways project is "migrating birds know no borders."
"This extraordinary project weaves the sounds of many cultures that share these pathways with millions of birds;" said John Hannan, Senior Director of Strategic Gifts for the Atlantic Flyway & Director of Development for Audubon in Connecticut: "Just as Audubon’s art inspired the creation of the National Audubon Society to protect birds, Paul's composition encourages us to soar with the birds and embrace the cultures, wildlife, and landscapes from Africa through the Middle East to Eurasia.
Migrating birds face many threats. Afro-Palearctic migratory birds — long-distance migrants that breed in Europe and winter in sub-Saharan Africa — have suffered significant declines over the past 30 years, according to BirdLife International, the world’s largest nature conservation partnership.
The declines are largely caused by habitat degradation, hunting, and the effects of climate change.
The Flyways project was a collaboration between Paul Winter and world-renowned Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem.
This is a musical chronicle of the migrating birds' journey across several continents and numerous countries of the Great Rift Valley. It is a 70-minute performance of this long journey that incorporates the sounds of these migrating birds. It then weaves the indigenous music of the 16 cultures over which they fly.
The event will also showcase the works of 15 'Earth-centric artists,' whose art will be available for purchase on March 19th and 22nd at the Massaro Community Farm in Woodbridge, CT. $20/pp. A silent auction will be held to benefit the farm.
The following video includes a portion of this concert performed in January 2016, with narration by Paul Winter. Another goal of the project is "to raise awareness of this endangered heritage among the governing elite in the urban capitals of the respective countries," notes Winter
So, please sit back and listen to the miracle of this long journey set to musical magic interpreted by multi-year Grammy Winner, Paul Winter.
Primary Source: Audubon