World Ocean Day 2021 takes place on Tuesday 8 June. To mark this occasion, Song of the Ocean, an online world premiere of a new work by Paul Mealor, with words by his long-time collaborator Grahame Davies, will take place on YouTube at 1pm UTC (9am EDT / 2pm BST / 3pm CEST / 10pm CST).
The Song of the Ocean project aims to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean and highlight the major issues of declining ocean health. Created collaboratively by a team from science, law and the arts at the University of Aberdeen, in conjunction with the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), Song of the Ocean is a United Nations Ocean Decade-endorsed activity which features an international virtual choir from around the world and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
The idea for the project originated when Aberdeen Professors Marcel Jaspars (Chemistry) and Abbe Brown (Law) were working with DOSI to inform the United Nations Ocean Treaty. Looking for ways to increase public engagement and to highlight the major issues of environmental impacts upon our oceans, sustainability and planet protection, they teamed up with renowned composer Paul Mealor, and internationally-acclaimed poet, Dr Grahame Davies.
A community choir of representatives from across the University first performed Song of the Ocean at a graduation ceremony in 2020, where Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal received an honorary degree, and plans to release it more widely were put on hold with the outbreak of Covid-19. For World Ocean Day 2021 the work was orchestrated. It has now been recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra and an international virtual choir drawn from the DOSI network and its friends, with choir members singing in English from Europe, Tonga, China, USA, Belize and Mexico and the Singing Hands signing group using British Sign Language.
Paul Mealor said: ‘It’s been a real delight to be involved with this project which brings science, law and art together in a quite unique way. Protecting and helping our oceans should be paramount to all of us and to be part of this is really important to me. I hope this little song and this wonderful collaboration will resonate and help bring the scientific message a little closer to home.’