Pop song campaign highlights the importance of Cuban plants

A new campaign aiming to focus some attention on the importance and beauty of Cuban plants has been launched by Planta! The Cuban Plant Conservation Initiative.

Flora often plays second fiddle to fauna in terms of conservation media coverage, but a team of young Cuban conservationists are turning up the heat by using a soundtrack of uplifting Cuban music to raise awareness of the importance of plants.

Cuban plants take centre stage in a new song Del Monte Soy, which is about the relationships between Cubans and their natural environment – specifically the ‘monte’, a word used to describe any kind of forest.

Planta! received a Conservation Leadership award worth USD $50,000 in 2012 to help with awareness raising and to facilitate networking and resource sharing between Cuban conservationists working across the nation. Conservation Leadership Programme Manager Stuart Paterson said, “This song is a really creative way of engaging the community to help spread the word about protecting Cuban flora.”

Alejandro Palmara, from Planta! said, “It’s a song which promotes pride among Cubans for their national flora; about the cultural and religious bonds which bind Cubans with their ‘montes’ and the importance of protecting the forests.”

The music and lyrics were written and performed by renowned Cuban singer-songwriter Tony Avila, accompanied by popular Cuban artists Laritza Bacallao, Ivette Cepeda, Miriela Moreno and Grupo Frasis.

The video that accompanies the song was directed by award-winning Cuban directors Alfredo Ureta and Alejandro Pérez and involved a team of almost 100 people including a film crew, actors from La Colemita youth theatre, local biology students and many volunteers. “Filming took place on a very sunny day so we were very hot throughout the shoot and completely exhausted by the evening. The bright sunshine and shifting light also made filming and post-production challenging. The elements really were against us… we even got rained upon!” recalls Alejandro.

The song has already become a hit on the radio and the video is being shown on national and local television channels during advertisement breaks and also as part of environmental and music programmes.

The Conservation Leadership Programme is a partnership of four conservation organisations – Fauna & Flora International, BirdLife International, Conservation International and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The mission of the Conservation Leadership Programme is to promote the development of future conservation leaders and provide them with the capacity to address the most significant conservation issues of our time.