Sunday, October 5, 2008

Darwin Day 2009: the Origin of Species in Rap to bounce into Birmingham!

For the last four years, I have been organising a local Darwin Day event at the University of Birmingham, taking a lead from the Darwin Day movement that started in the USA. And now fast approaching is the biggest Darwin Day of them all (at least in my lifetime), with the bicentenary of Darwin's birth on February 12th 2009. 

What with writing the Rough Guide to Evolution and various other duties, I am only now starting to finalise arrangements for the big day. So far I have a couple of academics from outside our university agreeing to come and talk about their work (Fred Spoor from UCL on palaeoanthropology and Richard Emes from Keele University on the molecular evolution of the mammalian brain), plus Lauri Lebo has agreed to come from the US. Lauri is a journalist who covered the Dover Pennsylvania trial and has written a poignant personal account of the people involved (The Devil in Dover). So, we have already started to assemble a superb lineup for Darwin's 200th birthday bash!

But now I have just heard that we have acquired another headline act--Canadian Lit-Hop Rap artist Baba Brinkman has agreed to participate with a celebration of Darwin's life and legacy in Rap music! 

Baba visited Birmingham last year when he put on a performance of his best-known work, the Rap Canterbury Tales (website here; sample some videos here). But especially for us, Baba also wrote and performed a new rap poem Natural Selection, an excerpt from which appears below.

Baba has now agreed to produce a much more extensive celebration of Darwin and evolution for the bicentenary, which I am provisionally entitling The Origin of Species in Rap. I am hoping we can also arrange performances in other sites around the UK (e.g. Warwick, Shrewsbury, Cambridge, NHM--if you are interested in hosting a performance let us know).

Aside from Lit-Hop, Baba (son of Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray) is also currently active in Canadian politics, especially as there is less than a fortnight to the Canadian election. He has produced a catchy track called Bounce that targets two of the contenders for post of 23rd Canadian PM, Conservative Stephen Harper and the New Democratic Party's Jack Layton. You can listen to the track by clicking on the arrow below, or download it for free from Baba’s MySpace page

The song envisions a future where both Stéphane Dion and Barack Obama win their respective elections, “so the whole continent goes progressive and conscientious.” Let's hope Baba's dream comes true before Darwin's 200th birthday!

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