A Virtual Music Video Collaboration

April 1st – September 1st, 2011
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

AJ Mithra, a middle school teacher in India, found an animation on the Celebrate Urban Birds web site prepared by CUBs participant Nancy Landrum, (see her other animations under our Art tab,) and he developed neat sound projects using bird song to accompany her animation. Now he and Ms. Landrum have formed a ‘virtual’ collaboration via email and the web so they can create more bird music videos.

Here’s an amazing creation entitled “Ontario Opus”///listen to how Mr. Mithra used the pitch of the various bird calls to create a melody.

One of their most recent collaboration is entitled “Magpie Rockers,” and uses photographs of the Oriental Magpie taken by Clement Francis, of Stickey the Blue Jay, taken by Nancy Landrum, with animation done by Nancy Landrum, and music by AJ Mithra, using bird song he recorded himself.

A recent project started with an image taken by Harvey Schmidt of an unusual Rustic Bunting sighting, presented by Project FeederWatch, another citizen science project here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Thanks to Mr. Schmidt for allowing this use of his very special photograph!

Rockin Rustic Bunting

Bach meets Baltimore Oriole
This is an animated video of the Baltimore Oriole. Music was done with the original bird call of Baltimore Oriole downloaded from enature ringtones. By AJ Mithra with animation by Nancy Landrum.

Inspiring Iora
The Common Iora is one of Mr. Mithra’s favorite song birds. This musical piece is composed with the original bird calls of Common Iora… The animation of Iora was done by Ms. Nancy Landrum… Photo of the Iora by Clement Francis

Mithra’s middle school students used recorded jay sounds, and then edited them into a song to accompany the animation of a Blue Jay strumming the guitar.

Mr. Mithra writes,” I am working as a music teacher in a middle school, The MCC Campus School, Chennai and I’m an amateur birder from Chennai, India.

I have done some music pieces using real bird calls to create an awareness among school children and I’ve found that it works quite amazingly and the kids now have started to listen and record bird calls from their parents’ mobile and they also have started to take an interest in bird watching..

Hence , I would like to share the same with you people.. Here I have attached a video using the animated Blue Jay with the guitar and have composed a piece of music using the Blue Jay’s different calls.. I could do this piece better but I don’t have the desired software…

Hope this would help reach more kids in your part of the world..

Hard core birders may not like this idea but, by hook or crook , i just want to create an awareness about bird biodiversity to as many as possible…THIS IS NOT TO HURT ANYONE…

I thank Sister Nancy for the idea of animation.. It was the inspiration…”

Nancy Landrum has had a relationship with a Blue Jay named Stickey for many years, and made him the subject of some pretty fantastic animations and enhanced photo art. When asked if we could make this virtual collaboration public she wrote,” I love the Indian students’ creativity. I liked what the teacher said about “hard-core” bird people and not wanting to offend them, those were my same thoughts. I thought, well, maybe they will just think I’m crazy, but I’ll try anyway and now I am honored to find someone else enjoying them.

Stickey is the king of the part of my heart devoted to nature, which is likely most of it.

I think this music is the music Stickey is really making. I think it’s amazing and my heart dances to hear it. I hope this teacher’s great work continues, and Stickey is honored to become known to a country which hosts birds that must sing like harps and musettes.”

We can’t get enough!

So here’s another product of this amazing collaboration across oceans, time, language, and age. Again, animation by Nancy Landrum, US and music by AJ Mithra, Chennai, India.

Mithra took his middle school students on a bird walk, and wrote,”
I took our seventh standard students on a bird walk around a 350-acre shrub forest.. It was a very big learning experience for the kids.. For most of them were first timers.. A student’s father had gifted him a costly BUSHNELL Binocular and he said that this is first time he had tried bird watching.. The kids saw birds that they had never seen before…

Students relax in the fields and bird watch
Most of the kids brought their cameras, a few brought their parent’s cell phone to record bird calls, which they did.. We will soon create a music piece with those bird calls which our kids recorded. I’ve attached a few pictures from the trip..

A student told that before he was thinking that birds were not that important, but, after this short trip he said that he is going to go into serious birding in future..

The students asked me to take them again for a 12 hr birding trip from 6 am to 6 pm, so that they can see and hear more..

I thank CELEBRATE URBAN BIRDS for teaching us how to celebrate birds.


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