Photos: Nacional Records.
Even if you don't speak a word of Spanish, there's a pretty big chance that you know Aterciopelados, a Colombian band that jumped to the international scene in the '90s. Its heartbreak-song Bolero Falaz travelled around the world putting Colombia in the international rock-map.
Much has gone through since then and the now duo formed by Andrea Echeverry and Hector Buitrago, grown up and heading families of their own, have become more and more involved in environmental issues. So much, that their latest album is called Rio (River), and the song that names the record -for example- is a homage to the Bogota River, now polluted and in danger.
TreeHugger exchanged e-mails with one of the Aterciopelados, Hector Buitrago, who tells us about the inspiration behind Rio and the group's environmental involvement.TreeHugger (TH): Why did you decide to make an album addressing environmental issues?
Hector Buitrago (HB): Since our album Caribe Atomico in 1998, we have had this type of restlessness that stems from a simple observation on the situation of our ecosystem. As time went by, things got worse instead of getting better and greater threats such as global warming and its consequences are truly looming over our planet. We think that it's time for each of us, habitants or sons of the earth, to try to put some effort into stopping or changing these major problems.
TH: How do you think music can influence the environmental movement?
HB: In addition to performing at environmental events that help support ecological campaigns and expand awareness, it is possible to be more active in the support of political initiatives. In our case, we have given a song to the Colombian "Referendo por el Agua" (Water Referendum) campaign. This is an effort in which citizens are trying to push for changes to the country's constitution so that clean drinking water is declared a fundamental right and more governmental attention and care is put towards the vital ecosystems.
TH: How has the response been to the new album so far?
HB: It's been great. We feel that in addition to the great musical energy and fusions on the album, we are really contributing to these important ecological initiatives and the songs are finding other spaces to express themselves and reach new audiences.
Hector navigating the Bogota River.
TH: What relationship do you and Andrea have with the environment? In what way does this influence your day to day lives?
HB: We try to make very conscious decisions regarding the use of resources, for example, recycling or using only the necessary water. Particularly on this album, we are focused on the restoration of the river that runs through our home – the Bogota River. I navigated through it and it was really hard for me to see the situation of the river, as it suffers a very serious level of contamination. So we are trying to act more locally. As a sort of ritual, we have sung to the Bogota River with our other musical friends in the area. I think this message is clear in the lyrics for the song Rio.
TH: Do you have a "green" tip that you bring to your daily life that you'd like to share with readers?
HB: I am a vegetarian. I feel that this is yet another important way to collaborate with the environment.
More musicians that are working for the environment at TreeHugger:
The Top 5 Buzzworthy Green Musicians of the Moment
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Radiohead Pushes Festivals Like Daydream to Go Green