Over the last ten years News 5
has profiled enough newly
released Belizean music to fill a
library. Tonight, we have the
pleasure of introducing you to a
recording that's a little bit
different. It was created by a
group of people from different
parts of the world who have taken the fleeting
sounds of the Belizean forest and married them to
music on a pair of CD's. They call it...Bush Waalk.
Brent Toombs reports.
Brent Toombs, Reporting
Alone in the remote jungles of Belize, the roar of a
jaguar or the grunt of a tapir can leave even the
bravest of souls with a bad case of goose bumps. But
in the comfort of your own living room, those same
primal sounds could actually help you to unwind. If
music does indeed "soothe the savage beast", then
the CD Bush Waalk, should have what it takes to relax
even the most stressed out listener.
Antonio Robateau, Composer/Engineer
"It's a nine track, two disc CD relaxation experience.
Disc one is non-stop relaxation listening to the sounds
with Belizean compositions and music behind it and
it's very soothing. Disc two is the more scientific
sample of what these different species that Belize has
sound like on their own."
Over one and a half years in the making, the Bush
Waalk project began when German student Hanna
Hildenbrand was on an extended visit to Chaa Creek
Resort in the Cayo District.
Hanna Hildenbrand, Co-Producer
"I took a tape recorder and microphone and I went
and taped everything that sounds nice, sound like the
jungle to me."
At first Hildenbrand was only looking to put together
an aural postcard of Belize. But then she paid a visit
to Antonio Robateau at Ludwig Studios in Belize City...
"She said she had over ten hours of jungle recordings
of birds, of nature sounds, of waterfalls, crickets, you
Robateau along with his partner, Frank Wright, began
working on music to accompany the sounds
Hildenbrand had gathered. But for composers who's
work is normally limited to commercial jingles and
mainstream melodies, collaborating with Mother
Nature proved to be somewhat of a challenge.
"When you write relaxation music you're not writing,
okay what lyrics will be catchy, and then write from
lyrics and then do the music for the lyrics. What we
did for this, we listen to the nature sounds in blocks.
The water scenes, the rain scenes, the horseback
riding scenes and listen to it and say to ourselves,
what would imitate what we're hearing here in nature
"It's not a musical piece that has a typical tempo and
begins and ends after such and such a certain time.
But what happens is this project allowed us to use
traditional sounds in a new way...where now we can
use to interpret what the animal is doing. We can use
a guitar to interpret what a horse is doing or a timbale
to imitate a water drop."
Jason Guerrero, Guitars
"You're pretty much free, in terms of choosing the cord
qualities, in terms of choosing the touch of the guitar
to get different colours and what's not, and that was
For percussionist Carlos Perrote, there is a special
connection between the instruments he plays and the
sounds he's trying to replicate.
Carlos Perrote, Percussion (In Spanish)
"The majority of folkloric percussion instruments are
made with elements that are brought from the jungle.
For example the conga: you have wood that you find
in the jungle or mountains. Likewise, the skin of the
conga comes from the mule or horse or cow,
depending on the size of the drum. All those things
come from the jungle, from a specific place in the
jungle and when you try to a particular sound it is very
easy to do because the construction of the
instruments originates from the jungle."
While the musicians provide the acoustic
interpretation of nature, Hildenbrand has created a
visual tribute to Belize's kaleidoscope of wildlife.
"I did a lot of paintings for the CD. I did design, some
graphic on the computer. I did colour paintings, and I
did paintings of, I think about twenty-two different
animals with sounds are on the CD."
Bush Waalk may be visually stimulating and sonically
soothing...But will something so far removed from the
narrow spectrum of Mr. Peters to Punta Rebels be
accepted by Belizean consumers?
Jason Guerrero, Guitar
"In terms of Belize, yes it'd definitely...I'd go so far
to say avant-garde. It's not a typical sound that you
would hear locally. It'll be interesting to see how the
local market responds."
"The relaxation CD is for tourists to take back as a
memory of Belize, of the jungle. To put it in when
they are stressed out."
But even if Bush Waalk proves to be more popular
with people who return to the concrete jungles abroad,
rather than those of us who live here in nature's own
back yard, Robateau believes the project is an
"It is so unique in so many ways. Even down to the
packaging, it's a non-plastic packaging. It's very
eco-friendly. Even that appeals to the nature lover. It
contains the most work we've ever put into any single
project and when you listen to it, you hear it."
Reporting for News 5, I'm Brent Toombs.
Bush Waalk was produced by Mick Flemming of the
Lodge at Chaa Creek and also features Pablo
Collado on flute. The C.D. will be launched Saturday
night at a special ceremony at the lodge.