Amazon Awakenings with
Gordon Hempton | June 3—16, 2019
Join internationally acclaimed acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton at one of the wildest and sonically most beautiful places on Earth, the Amazon Rainforest, and reawaken your senses and reconnect not only with Planet Earth but with your human birthright. Once viscerally guided by our senses, especially the animal alert of 360-degree hearing, most modern men and women, buffeted by noise pollution in man-made concrete and glass city canyons, and increasingly addicted to mass social media and earbud escape, have become disconnected from a world they seldom experience firsthand. In the natural amphitheater of the Amazon Rainforest, select members of the indigenous Cofan tribe will guide us safely through their homelands, interpret the natural history, share their knowledge of edible plants and animals, and care for our needs while we immerse ourselves in a rare, still-pristine nature setting. After arriving in Quito, we’ll descend from the Andes into the Amazon Basin. First by car, then by motor boat, canoe, and on foot, we’ll progressively shed the modern world, gradually awakening our senses while discovering a rich jungle concert. Our five-day jungle camp will conclude with an evening float trip down the Zabalo River with a acapella performance by recording artist Aida Shahghasemi, as insects weave complex rhythms and rainforest birds serenade day’s end. Upon our return to Zabalo Village, you will have the option to remain at the village to learn more about Cofan culture or camp alone far within the jungle for two nights. What does it mean to be all alone, far from the nearest human being at the center of spectacularly abundant biodiversity? Cofan Chief and Shaman Randy Borman will help answer such soul-searching questions. Amazon Awakenings promises an unforgettable life-shaping opportunity.
I live near Olympic National Park in the rugged northwest corner of Washington State, quiet enough to be a recording studio–and it is. In the photo to the left I am recording Nature’s Largest Violin. I’ve positioned my microphone system that replicates 3-D human hearing inside a giant Sitka spruce log. This tree grew in the nearby rain forest and then floated down the Bogachiel River before coming to a rest (temporarily) at Rialto Beach. The wood of this tree species has special properties that make it ideal for crafting violins, guitars, and other acoustic instruments because the wood produces a sound when exposed to the slightest vibration. But here, instead of a bow drawn across violin strings, the sound of distant surf is powerful enough to cause this Sitka log to produce its own deep, harmonic concert. This sound is impossible to adequately describe but easily heard. I am acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. I care very deeply about quiet. As The Sound Tracker® I have circled the globe three times over the last 35 years in pursuit of Earth’s rarest nature sounds—sounds which can only be fully appreciated in the absence of manmade noise. I hope that you will linger awhile on my website and enjoy the sonic wonders of our planet, and then join me in defending the live concert by visiting One Square Inch of Silence.
We intentionally give you just the highlights. Why? To peak your curiosity, to allow your imagination to wander, and to give you the sense that you are, indeed, Journeying into the Unknown.
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