The world celebrates UNCCD Land Anthem

Land Anthem studio recording

Bonn, Germany — Six weeks after the launch of UNCCD Land Anthem, composed and performed by award-winning musicians and UNCCD Land Ambassadors Ricky Kej and Baaba Maal, more than 300 000 people enjoyed the official music video released on World Soil Day, December 5, 2019.

We are amazed and incredibly proud of this success, because in the end, the wide dissemination of our message benefits everyone living on the land… which means literally everybody! Land is the basis for human health, livelihoods and for our economic, cultural and spiritual well-being. We must  integrate land and nature-based solutions as a fundamental part of action for climate and biodiversity, to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals set by UN General Assembly. Green roofs, soil-water storage improvement, tree planting, peatlands conservation and recovery are just a few examples of concrete actions we can take to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality and allow biodiversity to thrive.

— Ricky Kej

This week the Land Anthem will be performed at the Jaipur Literary Festival that features Ricky Kej as the headliner. Long-time collaborators Lonnie Park and IP Singh will join Ricky Kej’s onstage to share the live music with thousands of fans.

studio recording
Land Ambassadors Ricky Kej (left) and Baaba Maal (right) 

We feel privileged to have the support of six most gifted, dedicated and enterprising Land Ambassadors who represent a rich diversity of cultures and talents. The vision that Ricky Kej and Baaba Maal’s have for the program is truly inspiring -- thanks to their networks, the new UNCCD Land Anthem attracted the attention of millions worldwide, helping to bring action on land to the top of priorities for the environment and climate.

— UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw

Land Anthem was recorded in the fall of 2019 in New Delhi, when Lonnie Park, IP Singh and Baaba Maal flew in from New York, Mumbai and Senegal to join Ricky Kej at UNCCD COP14.

Our musical directions were unified and we knew exactly what we wanted for the music. In fact, Baaba Maal flew in a day early to make it to the recording. The fun fact was that we recorded the music and performed it live the very next day. While this might have seemed a little daunting, I guess our zeal for music driven by the inspiration the land and the environment provided us with made the whole experience a joyful one!

— Ricky Key

This behind-the-scenes video gives you a glimpse into the musicians' work on the project:

The official UNCCD Land Anthem video is also online — please share it widely. Let’s celebrate the joy of life!