In case you missed it, yesterday was the one day a year when we celebrate the best planet in the universe…Earth! Whether you were outside planting trees or inside smoking them (4/20?), Earth Day has a little something for everyone. With its own “Earth Day Anthem” and participation from 175 countries around the world—this philanthropic holiday lives up to its global name.
So while you all come down from your weekend high (from volunteering of course), MTV Iggy is here to share some of the most eco-friendly artists and their current projects that make our world a better place. This Earth-friendly roundup is sure to take your soiled Monday spirits and lift them sky high.
Imogen Heap has always mixed high-tech electronics with her beautiful vibrato, but in her live Earth Day event “Heap Song 6,” she pushed the bounds. Broadcast yesterday, the 90 minute live performance from Imogen’s home garden featured the singer performing the sixth track from her ambitious “Heap Songs” project.
In the jam-packed livestream showcase, Imogen performed her new single with the tech-savvy instrument “The Gloves” – Heap’s self-made looping/filtering device that augments her movements and transforms them into aural effects. If that wasn’t enough for the one-woman show, the singer directed and filmed a music video during the broadcast, and in the spirit of Earth Day, the eco-friendly artist used “off the grid” energy to power the event.
Take a listen to “Xizi She Knows,” the fifth song from the innovative artist’s upcoming album.
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela shred faster than most on their acoustic guitars, but when it comes to paper, the duo would rather not shred at all. Printing their album covers on recycled paper and manufacturing their tour merchandise in an eco-friendly manner, the Mexican musicians are two peas in a green pod. Advocating for causes such as the wildlife preserve El Refugio De Potosi — a conservation that supports eco-tourism in the Zihuatanejo region — the guitar-wielding duo may have more super powers than the Wonder Twins.
Never missing a beat to spread the eco-friendly word, their “B Major Sessions” video blog series features the duo sharing fusion guitar riffs and environmental messages at the same time. Check out the green guitar gods on this session from Luxemburg.
Jack Johnson doesn’t just have a green thumb; he’s got a whole career that seems to operate on alternative energy. With two solar-powered studios, tour buses that run on sustainable biodiesel, and environment-friendly merchandise, the Hawaiian soft rocker leaves a small carbon footprint.
Mr. Johnson isn’t keeping his eco-friendly practices to himself either. His annual Kokua Festival in Hawaii brings some big names together on stage, including Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, and Ziggy Marley, all to support environmental education programs in local Hawaiian schools.
Watch Jack Johnson and Damien Marley get funky on “Welcome to Jamrock” during a Kokua Festival show.
Keinan Abdi Warsame, better known as K’naan, has partnered with various big-name artists throughout his prolific career, but it’s his connection with humanitarian organizations that puts the Somali-born rapper on our list. In late 2011, the philanthropic musician donated hundreds of renewable-energy “sOccket” balls to South African children. As crazy/intriguing as its name, the energized soccer ball’s function is even cooler—the more you kick the ball, the more electricity it stores—which then allows the user to power various electronic devices.
Now, the soccer enthusiast (his single “Wavin’ Flag” was Coca-Cola’s 2010 World Cup Anthem) is partnering with Linkin Park’s “Music For Relief” organization. In this new project, K’naan is raising money for his home country of Somalia through the creativity of his fans. Every time a new art piece is submitted on the group’s Facebook page, $5 dollars is donated to the relief effort.
You can read more about this project on the “I Am A Star” website. In the meantime, enjoy the Russian remix video for K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” feat. St1m and of course, soccer.
Grammy winning hip-hop collective The Roots never seem to tire. Dishing out fresh servings of neo soul on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon every week and consistently putting out acclaimed records, these guys are the Energizer Bunnies of the rap game. You’d think they’d use any ounce of free time for sleep, but the talented group of musicians pay it forward instead.
Partnering with the non-profit organization Global Inheritance in 2007, the boys from Philly started the “Feed Your Roots” initiative, a project geared towards educating and integrating composting in schools across the US. The soulful band has worked with Green Music Group and PETA for campaigns promoting their other eco-friendly causes in the past too. Clearly, these guys have green on the mind.
Check out The Roots in the music video for their song “Make My,” featuring up-and-coming and equally eco-friendly rapper Big K.R.I.T.
The electronic duo Orbital blasted onto the British electronic scene in the 90s with house hits like “Satan” and “The Box,” touring stateside and Europe with their technical live performances. With a penchant for environmentally-minded samples, the group was known for cutting and pasting various political speeches that preached towards better environmental practices. But after seven studio albums, the band of eco-political brothers (Phil and Paul Hartnoll) hung up their gear and went on hiatus in 2004.
Now, the electric outfit is back with the new album Wonky featuring the likes of Zola Jesus and Lady Leshurr, to name a few. Take a listen to the track “Never” off their new record and see if you can hear any horticultural-hinting samples in the background.
The Antlers’ sophomore album Burst Apart may sound like a welcome cry for all things chaotic and explosive, but the indie trio from Brooklyn are more about bringing people together. Part of the roster for the Musician’s Energy Conservation Alliance (MECA), the trio joins a group of artists in practicing band carpooling, touring with veggie/biodiesel powered buses, and eating at local, sustainable foods sources while on the road.
The Brooklyn indie rockers may not know this, but their song “Kettering” shares the same name with the American inventor Charles Franklin Kettering, who created the first electrical starting motor. This invention went on to supply electricity to many farms located off the power grid — coincidental reference for these indie environmentalists? We think not! Either way, enjoy the ambient sounds and possible eco-friendly subtext of their track.
Additional Reporting by Olivia Salomon