Carla La Tella


Unlikely album makes history

Unlikely album makes history

Image: ABC News

An album made up entirely of tweets and squawks from Australian birds has made history by entering the Top Five ARIA album charts, surpassing both Mariah Carey and ABBA.

Titled Songs of Disappearance, the album features birdsongs of 53 of the rarest species in Australia that are on the brink of extinction. It is the first album of its kind to chart in the ARIA Top Five albums, and has sold more than 3,000 copies.

Anthony Albrecht, a PhD student at Charles Darwin University (CDU) and co-founder of The Bowerbird Collective, is part of a group of academics, musicians and conservationists behind the project.

"It's absolutely incredible to have knocked Michael Buble, Mariah Carey and a whole bunch of other really famous artists out of the [top five]," he said.

"In some ways, it's not surprising, because I believe Australians generally are so much more attuned now to the environmental crisis that we're all facing — and that the unique and incredible species that also call Australia home are facing."

The title track, arranged by Simone Slattery, includes all 53 of the endangered species featured in the album. The tracks were recorded by David Stewart Nature Sound, a wildlife sound recordist, over his decades-long career.

Mr Stewart's collection consists of thousands of bird calls that have been recorded over a period of 40 years, while travelling across remote parts of Australia.

"Some of the recordings are so brief because he [Mr Stewart] waited hours out in the bush to hear a peep out of some of these species," Mr Albrecht said.

Mr Albrecht said he was pleased Songs of Disappearance resonated with so many Australians."I think it's incredibly important to tell stories about nature in a way that is going to get people really emotionally involved," he said.

Stephen Garnett, a co-creator of the album and professor of conservation at CDU, helped produce a landmark extinction report from BirdLife Australia that inspired the project.

"They've been singing for millions of years … and now they're going, and there's a whole lot that we're not going to have with us if we don't do something about them."

Proceeds from the album's sales will go towards BirdLife Australia's conservation efforts.

Our Partners