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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000221.txt from 2008/05

From: "Brenda Schuman-Post" <>
Subj: [kl] Grenadilla Conservation
Date: Sat, 31 May 2008 16:20:40 -0400

Will blackwood/woodwind musical instruments become extinct?

Most Western music lovers have no idea that Western music is Africa
dependent. African blackwood, (grenadilla, mpingo) the tree from which
oboes, flutes, clarinets, bagpipes, claves, some guitars and other
musical instruments are made, is already commercially extinct in some
areas. It now grows almost exclusively in Tanzania and Mozambique and
is designated 'near threatened'. But several African communities are
working tirelessly to simultaneously save the tree and lift themselves
from poverty.

The African Blackwood Conservation Project (ABCP) in Moshi, Tanzania,
educates and assists local communities to preserve, protect and
replant mpingo. Mpingo also serves another purpose. Its roots support
bacteria that nourish the soil. That's why ABCP is replanting
grenadilla trees on farmland. In the future, the trees will be
marketed to the music industry. While they grow, the seriously
depleted earth is renewed and crops benefit from the increased
fertility of the earth.

As an oboist/improviser, I've been awarded a Global Connections grant
from Meet the Composer. In September, 2008, I'll collaborate with ABCP
and local musicians in Northern Tanzania. Together we'll create and
perform a new piece of music that serves as a bond between the people
who are learning to preserve and protect this vulnerable tree and the
Western musicians who play the instruments made from it.

Performances will take place at rural conservation clubs, in schools,
colleges, and culminate with a performance at Environmental Day
celebrations on September 27. This will be the first time that most
Tanzanians hear the oboe live! It is our hope that through this type
of education - establishing a sound and music based memory - our
interdependence will be more clearly understood, and the long term
value, importance, protection, care of, and profit from mpingo, will
be encouraged, remembered, and reinforced in both adults and children.

This project emphasizes interconnectedness and you can help!

The $4,000 grant covers only airfare and some lodging and I need at
least three times that amount to facilitate rehearsals, produce
performances, pay and transport the local musicians, provide
educational outreach to rural Tanzanian communities and food and
lodging for myself.

I'm a free lance oboist and educator. When I return, I'll be uniquely
informed and will continue to educate audiences on "Mpingo's Fruit -
Harvesting the Music Tree: the people, the places, the process".
Please visit Hopefully,
this project will prove enlightening to both the Tanzanians and to all
of us who play, listen to, and appreciate musical instruments, as well
as sculptures, artworks, and ornaments made from blackwood.

Please make a tax-deductible charitable contribution.

Visit to learn more.
Specify 'music project' in the comment box

To donate via check:

ABCP c/o James Harris P.O. Box 26 Red Rock, TX 78662
On the memo line please write "music project".

Can you donate a new or used laptop computer to ABCP?
Computer must be capable of editing film, playing and copying CDs.

Can you donate Northwest Airlines, or American Airlines miles for the
trip to Tanzania? I can
get there with 75,000 miles on American Airlines or 180,000
miles on Northwest Airlines
use the grant funds for internal travel and lodging etc.

Thank you! Please contact me at any time.

Brenda Schuman-Post



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