Paul Winter wants to bring together the members of a new international Great Rift Valley Orchestra to record his multi-cultural inter-species album, Flyways.

“Migrating Birds Know No Borders”

Flyways is a musical journey inspired by the great bird migration from Africa through the Middle East to Eurasia. The album is intended to awaken awareness of this ancient and miraculous migration, and of the endangered indigenous cultures of the migration route. 

Each spring, more than 500 million birds of 350 species follow the Great Rift Valley from southern Africa to Turkey, where they then diverge to Europe and Asia. This flyway is one of the most important bird migration corridors in the world. I first experienced the miracle of the migration when I flew in a motorized glider across Israel with the migrating storks as they soared on the thermal currents coming up from the Rift Valley below. From that unforgettable experience came the vision for this album: to create a musical chronicle of the birds’ long journey, incorporating music from each of the cultures over which they fly, and weaving the voices of the birds into the fabric of the music.

We began this musical odyssey seven years ago and to date we’ve gone to 16 countries of the flyway to learn of the musical traditions as well as people’s experience of the migrating birds. The Flyways double-CD album will feature this new ensemble that we call the Great Rift Valley Orchestra, comprised of indigenous musicians from these 16 countries, along with members of the Paul Winter Consort.

Migrating birds face many threats, including the destruction of key habitats along their routes of passage and, of course, climate change. And many of the indigenous traditions are undervalued and in decline. 

The motto of the Flyways album is “migrating birds know no borders.” Beneath this overarching highway live millions of people of different races and religions. The flyway embraces all these cultures, and we feel that the timeless languages of birds and music have the potential to bring us together in common cause. The birds can guide us toward honoring the whole Earth as our home, and the music can awaken the universal heart of humanity. Read more about the project at www.flywaysmusic.org

What Your Support Will Do

Our goal with this campaign is to assemble the musicians from these 16 countries in the most central location, which is Istanbul, Turkey, to create new music in various combinations and to record the Flyways finale composition with this full Great Rift Valley Orchestra, interwoven with the voices of the birds, in a grand celebration of the family life. To do this, we need to raise $70,000. We will have considerable costs for planes, bringing these musicians from their respective countries, as well as for recording fees, studio costs, engineers, and living expenses. And then we’ll have post-production studio costs for the editing, mixing, and mastering, in the United States, to complete the album.

We have chosen a timeframe of 40 days for this Indiegogo campaign, in honor of the 40th anniversary, this year, of the Endangered Species Act. We’d like to ask your help, and we are offering a host of rewards for pledging. Every contribution helps, no matter how small. Thank you for your interest and support.

Risks and challenges

Occasionally, the recording process is more time consuming than expected. Our focus is on delivering the best album possible. Every effort will be made to stay on schedule. Paul Winter and his team have produced more than 40 albums, and are experienced to deal with production difficulties that may arise. Should any delays or setbacks occur, our commitment is to stay in close communication with the affected parties until the issue is resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.

About Music for the Earth

Music for the Earth is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt foundation, founded by Paul Winter in 1976, dedicated to exploring and implementing ways that music can be used to enrich the lives of human beings and awaken a spirit of involvement in the preservation of wildlife, wilderness and the natural environments of the Earth.

The activities of Music for the Earth include: concerts, albums and conferences to benefit environmental causes; wilderness recording expeditions; educational programs; and music-making workshops and residencies.

Board of Directors
Mary Davidson
Peter Forbes
Sarah Laird
William Ryerson
James Sinclair

Sounding Board
Marshal Case
Judy Collins
David Darling
Dr. Michael Fox
Jane Goodall
H. Wiley Hitchcock
Al Huang
Scott McVay
The Very Rev. James Parks Morton
Therese Schroeder-Sheker
Pete Seeger
Noel Paul Stookey
William Irwin Thompson
Andrew Tracey
Mary Evelyn Tucker

Music Director
Paul Winter

“The future of music may not lie entirely with music itself, but rather in the way it makes itself a part with – in the way it encourages and extends, rather than limits, the aspirations and ideals of the people – the finer things that humanity does and dreams of.” – Charles Ives

Team on This Campaign: