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Natural talent pips some of the most popular recording artists from the ARIA music charts

Orange-Bellied Parrot
The Orange-Bellied Parrot is one of the 53 threatened bird species that features on the Songs of Disappearance album, which was fifth on the ARIA charts this week.

A collection of bird songs from Australia’s most threatened species was a surprise inclusion in the top 10 of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) music charts this week after strong pre-order sales.    

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Anthony Albrecht produced the album Songs of Disappearance that contains 54 tracks of some of Australia’s most endangered species, recorded by eminent wildlife sound recordist David Stewart (Nature Sound) throughout his career.

The album reached number five in the ARIA charts in the first weekend of its release, beating ABBA’s latest album Voyage.  It also finished second on the charts for Australian artists behind Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train.

Before the charting results came out from ARIA on Friday night, Mr Albrech said he was confident the work would appeal to a wide audience

“David Stewart’s work has been available for sale at National Parks visitors’ centres and online for many years, but ‘Songs of Disappearance’ will reach a whole new audience and deepen recognition for his work,” Mr Albrecht said.

The album, titled ‘Songs of Disappearance’, was inspired by a similar project in the UK, ‘Let Nature Sing’.

“The creators of ‘Let Nature Sing’, folk singer Sam Lee, wanted to raise conservation and environmental awareness,” he said.

“The Australian public must be made aware of the dire situation facing our unique wildlife.  With ‘Songs of Disappearance’, we offer the sounds of species that could soon disappear forever.”

The 53 species spotlighted in the 54 tracks on the album are the rarest species in Australia and on the brink of extinction. The title track, arranged by Simone Slattery and including all 53 of these species, celebrates the incredible diversity of our natural soundscape.

“The Night Parrot is a special call because it has been recorded so rarely. Few people would have heard any of these bird calls,” he said.

Also featured are the songs of the extremely rare Swift Parrot, Orange-Bellied Parrot, and some of the vulnerable migratory shorebirds such as the Far-Eastern Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit. 

Mr Albrecht is co-creator of The Bowerbird Collective, which aims to strengthen emotional connections to nature through the arts. Songs of Disappearance is one of many projects from the Bowerbird Collective that explore nature themes.

“We are always trying to find ways to engage as diverse an audience as possible with environmental storytelling. Many of our projects are multimedia experiences, and we tour them extensively” he said.

Songs of Disappearance was created to coincide with the release of BirdLife Australia’s Action Plan for Australian Birds.

CDU Professor of Conservation Stephen Garnett edited the book that contains details of the 216 bird species under threat across Australia.

The CD gives the listeners the opportunity to hear the call of 53 of the species in the book.

Anyone interested can purchase the CD at Songs of Disappearance.  The proceeds from the album will go towards BirdLife Australia’s conservation efforts.

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