An Ode to Nature Joining Mind and Heart Together
13.09.2021, by Giacomo Luperini
July 21st was the release date of Divine Tides, the long-awaited album by “super-duo” Ricky Kej and Stewart Copeland
Within the complex landscape of nature documentaries we find two distinct veins: we might call one “glossy” and the other one “purist”. The first aims to show off the beauty of our planet with sensational imagery, astutely zooming in on unusual elements and using impactful shots. It has only one flaw: its tendency to avoid anything that may feel disturbing or remind us too much of the human presence. The second genre, on the other hand, aims to create documentaries that are as “objective” as possible, showing the beauty of nature without shying away from the fearsome changes and difficult challenges that threaten it.
Both veins have their pros and cons. The “glossy” vein has the merit of connecting with a wider audience and grabbing it by its “heart”, creating an emotional attachment that is essential in order to spark feelings of belonging and protectiveness, particularly important in this day and age. The “purist” vein, with its equally impactful images, seeks to grab the audience’s “mind”: by sharing sometimes troubling data and facts, it is able to resonate and raise awareness, which however decreases its popular appeal and drives away wider audiences who do not wish to dwell on our planet’s sufferings.
These two distinct approaches, often opposed and incompatible, can be found in music as well, as it tentatively begins to engage with climate change issues. Many artists, for example, throw themselves into forced reflections on the beauties of nature, detailed descriptions of landscapes and long explanations on the role played by humanity. Divine Tides, however, is very different.
July 21st, 2021 was the release date of “Divine Tides”, an album which carries on the magnificent collaboration between two musical legends who need no introductions. The first is longtime Police drummer and founding member Stewart, a five-time Grammy winner included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame, and regarded as one of the greatest drummers ever. The second one is Ricky Kej, another Grammy Award winner and climate change activist, UNCCD ambassador and UNICEF celebrity supporter. All elements pointed to the creation of something unique and impactful: talent, soul and a solid artistic and ethical vision, all joined together in a single project. And so it was. Since its release the album has surprised and enchanted listeners, both for its musical quality and for its message, not to mention its spectacular videos celebrating the love for our planet.
The whole project was conceived as a complex ode to nature, both from a musical and from a visual point of view. The first four videos released so far are: “Himalayas” on July 17th, “The Art Of Devotion” on July 21st, “Pastoral India” on August 18th and “Our Home”, released on September 1st alongside the pre-release of “Wonders of life”.
A total of eight videos are slated for release out of the 9 tracks included in the album, the last video dropping on September 28th. Every frame conveys a deep love for nature and is devoted to a specific natural beauty found on our planet.
And yet, the whole project might have looked completely different. The album was created over seven months, its production beginning just as the global pandemic began, putting a sudden stop to Ricki’s touring. Initially, Stewart Copeland’s collaboration was supposed to be limited to a couple of tracks, but after an extensive online musical exchange, the two artists decided to work together on the entire album, with excellent results.
Finally, to highlight the fact that Ricky Kej’s approach to environmental issues is not a mere affectation, we leave you with an extract from his email exchange with Renato Di Sieno (Ponderosa’s label manager), which pleasantly surprised our team.
As I’m sure you know, the Digipack format [used for the album] includes a plastic CD holder. We need to inform you that our label has eliminated plastic packaging and has committed to work exclusively on plastic-free albums. It is very important for us to keep to our policy.
A Digipack’s CD holder is the only plastic in the whole CD packaging that is actually recyclable. This is due to its thickness, which allows it to be separated easily, and to the fact that it is free from trace elements. The rest of the plastics, including the CD itself, the heat shrink film and the plastic-laminated cover (both shiny and matte), though they are said to be recyclable, they rarely are. As you might know, 91% of all single-use plastics do NOT end up being recycled, though they might be labeled as recyclable and thus mistakenly placed in recycling bins. The Digifile, as a consequence, is not truly “plastic free” and in fact it contains the most dangerous parts of the plastic packaging. The digifile itself, by its nature, requires a heat shrink film to avoid damage, but a digipack with a case can be shipped without the film. This is why we have chosen to use Digipacks. More importantly, most customers regard digifiles as “single-use” and quickly discard them, whereas customers normally get more use out of a Digipack and don’t discard it quite as rapidly.
Though our intention is always to lead a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative life and business, with the current systems in place it is impossible not to have some measure of negative impact on our planet. As a committed environmentalist, I am fairly realistic about this. So my office works with an Indian brand called ” Smarter Dharma” which examines our carbon footprint, including our use of water and disposable plastic, every three months. We then compensate for our footprint by planting trees and investing in renewable-energy projects. Our audits also help us understand how to best shrink our carbon footprint by reducing our reliance on disposable plastics in the best and most efficient way.