Obregón performs to raise awareness of forest threats

20 July 2016

Costa Rican pianist and composer Manuel Obregón performed a unique experimental concert at FAO headquarters this week in a bid to increase awareness about the threats to forest ecosystems posed by climate change and unsustainable logging. Obregon’s concert was in front of an audience from FAO’s Committee on Forestry, for which some 600 senior government ministers, heads of forest services and other representatives from around the world are gathered in Rome.

For his performance Simbiosis – piano and rainforest, Obregon spent 36 hours composing and recording the sounds and images of native flora and fauna in the cloud forest of Monteverde. The work blends piano with the soundscape of the forest, while a huge screen behind Obregón transports his audience to humid moss-thick forests where clouds wander between the trees.

“There is a strong relation between music and forests, art and trees,” Obregón said at the concert, which was introduced by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and the Costa Rican Deputy Permanent Representative to FAO, Miguel Angel Obregón López. The concert was co-hosted by FAO and the Permanent Representation of Costa Rica to FAO.

Manuel Obregón also showcased a unique accordion he had made for him this year by Italian craftsman from certified sustainable Costa Rican wood in order to underline the importance of musicians being aware of the provenance of their instruments. The author of more than 20 solo albums and a former Costa Rican Minister of Culture and Youth (2010-2014), Obregón has focused his creative work over the last 12 years on Central American music and its relationship to the natural environment.

The theme for this year’s COFO is Shaping a new agenda for forests, and the committee will be discussing how forests and sustainable forest management can contribute to milestone agreements of 2015 and the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.

Watch the concert

last updated:  Wednesday, July 20, 2016