The 26th edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2020. The pre-COP will take place in Milan, Italy.
Rap guide to climate chaos: a rap musical explains the risks of climate change
A true mix between hip hop and science: this is the “Rap guide to climate chaos”. A musical explaining the risks of climate change also performed at Cop 21.
Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rapper well known in his country for his CDs and live performances combining hip hop music, theatre, literature and science. In this period Baba is touring the world with Rap guide to climate chaos, his latest show dealing with political, economic and scientific issues in relation to global warming that debuted a few weeks ago at New York’s Soho Playhouse – where it will run until 24 April.
Brinkman obtained a degree in English literature at Simon Fraser University and a postgraduate degree in comparative literature at the University of Victoria, then he studied human evolution and majored in primatology (the scientific study of primates) with researcher Biruté Galdikas, one of the most important scientists of the Twentieth century.
So, he’s a researcher. But Baba Brinkman’s many interests include music. For this reason, during his academic career he decided to combine English literature and hip hop music in a dissertation that compared freestyle battles to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
The result is his first show, The Rap Canterbury Tales, which is a new hip hop version of the Canterbury tales for a modern and young audience. The show debuted in 2004 at Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the world’s biggest art festival – and in the following year it was endorsed by the University of Cambridge that wanted it to be performed in British secondary schools.
Brinkman experiments this new live hip-hop format with various important works of the English literature including the Epic of Gilgamesh by Beowulf and other tales by Chaucer: these are his Rapconteurs and his style is called Lit Hop – as the title of his solo album released in 2006.
In 2008, Brinkman was charged by professor and microbiologist Mark Pallen with writing a new play on evolution: for the first time in this occasion the rapper dealt with science, participated in the Seattle Science Festival and shared the stage with personalities such as paleontologist Jack Horner – who was scientific consultant for the film Jurassic Park – and British physicist Stephen Hawking.
The world is not facing a smooth transition to warmer, longer summers. We’re looking at the destruction of our planet as we know it; this is climate chaos.
Rap guide to climate chaos was financed through a crowdfunding campaign on the online platform Indiegogo, reaching in few weeks the goal of 10,000 dollars. The show debuted at the last edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Brinkman performed songs from his musical at Cop 21, the global conference on climate that took place in Paris last December.
The Coalition for rainforest nations invited the rapper to Paris talks to lighten with his freestyle verses the negotiations on serious issues such as carbon footprint in the aeronautical industry.
It was amazing to be there in the midst of the negotiations. The result was exciting and the sense of being part of history was exciting, but the nitty gritty was a mix of fascinating and tedious. That’s probably part of why the response to my performances was so enthusiastic! Rather than a single scheduled show, I was invited to perform at multiple events, usually for audiences who didn’t expect me to be there, which definitely raised some eyebrows and snapped a few people out of their torpor.
Featured image: © Greg Edwards
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