Song of the Ocean
“Science and art are natural friends: one often inspires the other.”
What is Song of the Ocean?
Song of the Ocean is a collaboration between science and the arts to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean for us all, and to highlight the major issues of declining ocean health and the need for sustainability and planet protection.
The Song was composed by Paul Mealor, known for his work for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The words (found at the bottom of this page) are written by internationally-acclaimed poet, Dr Grahame Davies, and informed by ocean experts Marcel Jaspars and Abbe Brown, professors of the University of Aberdeen and members of the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative. You can read more about the story behind the musical piece HERE or catch a podcast with all involved in its creation, including the composer, poet and scientists HERE.
On Tuesday 2nd March, we hosted a The Song of the Ocean Live Interview, hosted by musician Anthony White with contributions from Professor Marcel Jaspars (chemist), Professor Abbe Brown (international intellectual property lawyer), Dr Grahame Davies (poet and lyricist) and Professor Paul Mealor (composer). You can watch this now right below.
A virtual performance for World Ocean Day 2021
In the video above, Song of the Ocean is performed beautifully by a community choir of representatives from across the University of Aberdeen – many of whom had not sung before. But we want to go one step further, we want to take Song of the Ocean global. 2021 is a ‘super year’ for the ocean. It heralds the launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, a major global initiative to deepen our scientific knowledge of our blue planet and create “the ocean we want”. It will also witness the culmination of a new high seas treaty (the “BBNJ” treaty) and the finalisation of exploitation guidelines for the mining of minerals from the deep seabed, amongst other important policy developments. In light of this moment of increased scrutiny on the management and use of marine biodiversity and resources, we would like to bring the plight of the ocean to global consciousness, through a unique collaboration between science and music. We would like to invite ocean stakeholders around the world to join us in a virtual singalong of Song of the Ocean, to be premiered on World Oceans Day 2021.
How can I get involved?
We need singers from the deep-sea community! Join us in a global, virtual singalong of Song of the Ocean. Simply follow the instructions included below (“What next?”). We would also be interested to hear from communities around the world who would like to translate Song of the Ocean into their own language, and gather singers to perform their national version. If you are interested in taking this forward, please contact us here.
Do I need to be able to sing?
No skills necessary! All are welcome, regardless of experience, talent or vocal pitch. The one and only John Frederick Hudson – conductor, composer, and pianist extraordinaire who has performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle – recently hosted a masterclass on how to get ready for your Song of the Ocean submission. Be sure to have a watch of this before you do your recording – it’s right below!
How will the virtual Song of the Ocean work?
People from all over the world will record themselves singing Song of the Ocean, and share with our Ocean team according to instructions provided below. Once all recordings have been gathered, our expert team will bring them together in a seamless virtual song to be premiered during the time of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Kick Off Conference on YouTube, and further promoted on World Ocean Day, 8th June 2021.
Sold? Great! Let’s get going. All you need to do to follow these instructions.
PLEASE NOTE: NEW EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR UPLOADING VIDEOS TO DROPBOX IS MONDAY APRIL 26th, AT 10:00 AM (GMT) 2021
Song of the Ocean musical score – HERE
The Song of the Oceans
We mapped the endless oceans,
and gave each one a name,
as though the tides which gave us life
were something we could tame.
So let us take a journey,
and this time let us learn:
there’s a web we need to weave again,
a tide we need to turn.
From tiger shark to tardigrade,
from chlorophytes to krill,
We found a million forms of life,
a million ways to kill.
Let O2 speak to H2O
and let us understand:
there’s wisdom in the waters.
Let dawn come from the darkest place,
and let its rays reveal
a million ways to make us whole,
a million ways to heal.
Music: Paul Mealor
Poem: Grahame Davies
Performance: The Science Sings Choir
Conductor: Professor Paul Mealor
Piano: Dr John Frederick Hudson