Waking up on this beautiful morning, looking at the flowery fields around our house on the emerald Isle of Corfu and listening to the sounds of my beloved playing flamenco in the background, I am filled today with inspiration to create piles of bright, colorful paintings, stacks of sheets full of music, mountains of books full of lyrics and stories. The air is full of the scents of spring, with butterflies and honey bees exploring the richness of the wild flowers sprinkled everywhere, like drops of yellow and purple paint in the tall grass.
Caught up inside this wonderful kaleidoscope of artistic inspiration, I decide to spend my morning by completing one of my current wildlife projects - the creation of a song focusing on the plight of the exquisite Spirit Bear, or the Kermode, as it is also known. A cream-colored or white subspecies of the American Black Bear, living in the central and north coast of British Columbia in Canada, this rare animal is critically endangered, with a population of only 400 to 1000 individuals left today.
After many hours of research, I enjoy dreaming up the lyrics, rhythmically describing the ghost-like appearance of the Spirit Bear; its secretive, wild habitat; and special legends surrounding their existence. Having completed the verses, the music starts to flow through my mind as if it was always present, waiting to be discovered and to be put to use. I hasten to play it on my piano and to turn it into a true song while performing it for the first time. After perfectly matching the lyrics to the melody and finalizing the chord structure, it is time to venture into the wondrous world of orchestrating the song, experimenting with an array of instruments before attempting the first recording. Letting my voice flow on to the notes and dance on to the rhythms, I allow it to settle into the husky sounds, softly unraveling the secret trails of the Spirit Bear with every word.
And yet another awareness song is born, to hopefully touch the hearts of many, urging them to take a closer and compassionate look at the importance of protecting all forms of life on our incredibly beautiful planet.
Writing songs about the plight of a suffering or endangered animal is a deep process which increases your knowledge and compassion beyond borders. It is a spiritual task which challenges your creative mind to the utmost, tears up your heart into billions of pieces and touches your soul to the point of desolation. Having felt the sentientism and beauty of these amazing wild creatures from within the soul - where all true creations start - one is left with a bottomless desperation about the greatness of the tragedy of watching them become extinct due to different threats, the latter caused by ignorant humans, but also preventable, were more attention being given to the vital plights of the animals.
It is also a process which, once started, never allows you to stay quiet, but urges you to continue with tireless dedication on behalf of the suffering voiceless, wholeheartedly embracing those beings who cannot defend themselves.
My "Song of the Spirit Bear" will be used as the soundtrack for a special film which will be created in collaboration with the highly acclaimed wildlife photographer, Weldon Lee. His amazing images of the Spirit Bear can be seen here, and more information about our project is available in his wildlife blog, "All About Wildlife".
(The copyrights to the text are reserved by Louise du Toit.)
Award-winning South African artist, Louise du Toit, is a musician, singer, composer, arranger, lyricist, writer, actress and painter. She has chosen to use her songs and art to spread a worldwide message of peace and environmental and wildlife preservation, working towards the well-being of all living creatures on earth.