Born from the Land: behind the song

COP concert
UNCCD News

Award winning musicians Baaba Maal of Senegal and Ricky Kej of India have released a new music video Born from the Land on World Soil Daycelebrate the land. Why? Here is what they say:

There is a sense of excitement and joy when musicians come together for the cause of environmental consciousness. In this case, it was a time of coming together for our land… We all thrive and depend on the land. This is our land and our home. Everything we know is an embodiment of the land and life on it. This is inspiring and the UNCCD efforts at conserving land also inspired me

— Ricky Kej

I am an international artist of African descent. The fight against desertification is part of my commitment to the cause of development, especially the reforestation I have been doing with the people in my country (Senegal) for several years. My participation in the song ‘Born from the Land,’ resonates with my musical work ‘Lekki’, which means the Tree, and that I interpreted during COP 14. It is therefore a pleasure to invest myself with Ricky Kej in this project for the environment, especially the fight against desertification that spares no continent

— Baaba Maal

To put it into perspective, consider that only 30 per cent of our planet is land. The rest is water. That small portion of the planet is source of everything all 7.5 billion of us need – food, fresh water, homes, cities and recreation areas. But every generation gets to use less and less of what the Earth once offered because it has changed a lot, mostly since 1970.

Today, only about 30 per cent of the land’s original state remains. Forests, grasslands and wetlands have been converted to farmland, cities, abandoned mines or building sites or construction areas. This is making it more and more difficult for the land to store the excess carbon in the air, to hold in the ground the amount of water its once did, to absorb suck a lot of the water that hits the land from rain, hurricanes or thawing ice and to produce enough food to eat. If we continue converting natural ecosystems to other uses, only 10 per cent of the world’s natural areas will exist by 2050.

My music and my efforts have always been a dedication to the environment and harmony. When I bring these inspirations together, the UNCCD Land Anthem 'Born from the Land' came to be. I had the absolute pleasure of working with some of the best musicians in the making of the official UNCCD land anthem ‘Born from the Land’. Working with fellow musicians who share the same passion for the environment helped bring this song to its full glory!

— Ricky Kej

Ricky Kej is known internationally as a music composer, a No.1 artist on the United States Billboard chart and a Grammy Award winner for his album titled, Winds of Samsara.

Baaba Maal is a world-renowned musician from Africa. He lent his unique voice to the soundtrack of the international blockbuster Black Panther, which won an Oscar and a Grammy Award for its music score.

Download the lyrics in each of the UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian