June 8: Playing For The Planet — World Music Against Climate Change

On Saturday, June 8, the nineteenth “Playing For The Planet” benefit concert will showcase master musicians from three different musical traditions in a rare and joyful pan-cultural evening, with all proceeds going to benefit the environmental advocacy group 350MA.org.  The lineup includes virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Lloyd Thayer; Swedish/Celtic music from Sunniva Brynnel & Yaniv Yacoby; and the brilliant young Hindustani vocalist, Samarth Nagarkar.  The music begins at 7:00 pm, at The Community Church Of Boston, 565 Boylston Street (Copley Square), Boston.  Admission is $20; $15 students & seniors.  For information, please call 781-330-8032, or email theclimatemessage@gmail.com.

“…Senders possesses a gift for assembling fascinating programs.” 
— Andrew Gilbert, The Boston Globe —

“Playing For The Planet: World Music Against Climate Change” is the nineteenth concert in an ongoing series of cross-cultural events produced by Boston-area musician and environmental activist Warren Senders.  These concerts were conceived as a way for creative musicians to contribute to the urgent struggle against global warming.   Their choice of beneficiary, 350MA.org, is focused on building global consensus on reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels — action which climatologists agree is necessary to avoid catastrophic outcomes. 

Because the climate problem recognizes no national boundaries, the artists represent musical styles from three different parts of the globe, and share key musical values: listening, honesty, creativity, and respect. And, of course, they are all committed to raising awareness of the potentially devastating effects of global warming.  It’ll be an incredible evening of powerful music — from some of the finest musicians in New England and the world.

Purchase tickets now from Eventbrite.

About The Artists

Lloyd Thayer puts the ‘multi’ in multi-instrumentalist, playing a mind-boggling assortment of stringed instruments including (but not limited to): 22-stringed Indian Chaturangui, Dobro and Weissenborn lap steel guitars, Turkish Oud, Saz and Cumbus, Ragmakamtar, Afghan Rabab and more.

Lloyd Thayer

A recovering street performer and determined songwriter, his indoor shows combine a mixture of American folk and blues with elements of Indian, Arabic, Turkish, and Southeast Asian musical ideas, sometimes all in the course of the same song!

“Thayer plays with prismatic imagination and an emotional depth that captivates. “
— Sing Out Magazine —

Accordionist/singer Sunniva Brynnel and bouzouki player Yaniv Yacoby met at the New England Conservatory, Boston. They have built a repertoire evenly divided between the folk musics of Sweden and Ireland, capturing the exquisite expression of both traditions with creativity, fidelity, and playfulness.

Sunniva Brynnel & Yaniv Yacoby

Originally from Sweden, Sunniva Brynnel is an accordionist, vocalist and composer within jazz, improvised music and folk music, coming from a lineage of seven generations of female musicians.  Her mother – a Swedish folk singer – is one of her major influences.   Since coming to the Boston area to complete a degree in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory, she has collaborated and performed with many artists, including Night Tree, Blå Dager, and Druids & Androids.

Yaniv Yacoby is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and computer scientist based in Boston. He graduated from Harvard in May of 2015, earning a B.A. in Computer Science and earned a M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory in 2016.  Yaniv has collaborated with numerous musicians in the Boston area, including pianist Chase Morrin, fiddler Eric Boodman, and ensemble Blue Thread.

Samarth Nagarkar is a Hindustani classical vocalist, known for his captivating performances and traditionally rich music.  One of the most creative khyaliyas of his generation,  Samarth was trained in the strict guru-shishya tradition at ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, under Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar and Pandit Dinkar Kaikini.

Samarth Nagarkar

A torchbearer of his traditions, Samarth features in prominent music festivals and venues in India and abroad including The ITC Sangeet Sammelans, The United Nations, World Music Institute, Chhandayan All Night Concert, Ragas Live Festival at the Rubin Museum of Art, Kashinath Bodas Festival, The Winter Garden Festival and The International Fringe Festival.

He is a recipient of a Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and a President’s Award in the All India Radio National Music Competition. On June 8 he will be joined by Ramchandra Joshi (harmonium) and Naikaj Pandhya (tabla).

Purchase tickets now from Eventbrite.

About 350MA.org and the Better Future Project

Co-founded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, 350.org is the hub of a worldwide network of over two hundred environmental organizations, all with a common target: persuading the world’s countries to unite in an effort to reduce global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million or less. Climatologist Dr. James Hansen says, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 400 ppm to at most 350 ppm.” (Dr. Hansen headed the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue.) Activists involved in the 350 movement include Rajendra Pachauri (Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Vandana Shiva (world-renowned environmental leader and thinker), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights), Van Jones, Bianca Jagger, Barbara Kingsolver and many more.

350MA.org is the Massachusetts Chapter of this worldwide advocacy group, and the hub for the Better Future Project, a Cambridge-based climate organizing nonprofit founded in January 2011. In spring 2012, Better Future Project staff began a series of meetings and conversations with fellow activists about the need for a grassroots climate network in Massachusetts. Those conversations grew out of many years of collaboration on 350.org actions and events, and they led to the creation of 350 Massachusetts for a Better Future as a volunteer-led, campaign-focused network.

About the Community Church of Boston

The Community Church of Boston is a free community united for the study and practice of universal religion, seeking to apply ethical ideals to individual life and the democratic and cooperative principle to all forms of social and economic life. We invite you to read on to discover more about us, join us one Sunday for a thought-provoking and joyful time, or contact the church to find out more about our community: info@communitychurchofboston.org

Purchase tickets now from Eventbrite.

Singing The Long Now

Coming up at Tufts University, a free concert: I’ll be joined by the Strings Theory Trio in an afternoon of new compositions and arrangements.

Please join us.  It’ll be great.

Feb 5 Poster


The concert scheduled for tonight has had to be cancelled due to the ongoing Boston lockdown.

We may be able to reschedule…stay tuned.

Year 3, Month 1, Day 31: Just The Facts, Ma’am.

The Milford-Orange Bulletin (CT) runs an article detailing the work of a new group, http://forecastthefacts.org/ , which has called out a local TV weatherdude on his denialist stance:

As if broadcast meteorologists didn’t have enough pressure to get their forecasts right during the season of ice and snow, an advocacy group is slamming them for denying climate change. And one of the perceived offenders is Connecticut’s Geoff Fox of WTIC (Fox Connecticut), who in turn calls the people behind the group “zealots.”


The group says that’s because the majority of meteorologists don’t believe in it. The online group (forecastthefacts.org) asks the public to sign on to the campaign to hold weathercasters accountable. It has a petition urging the American Meteorological Society to take a position on the facts of climate change and make it known to members.

Fox, a longtime forecaster in the Hartford-New Haven market who also does a science segment for WTIC, said Wednesday, “I’m not a denier, I’m a skeptic. The people who are advocating for global warming treat it like it’s a religion. So it’s like blasphemy (to question it).”

Good for forecastthefacts.org. This one was fun and easy to write. Sent January 25:

When it comes to climate change, there’s one absolutely sure bet: when someone says, “I’m not a denier, I’m a skeptic,” it means he’s a denier. Skepticism is a philosophical stance in which claims without verifiable evidence are rejected in favor of those which can be confirmed. Genuine climate skeptics are extremely rare, because the plethora of available evidence has convinced almost all of them that rising atmospheric CO2 levels are triggering a greenhouse effect, with potentially catastrophic consequences for human civilization. Climate deniers, by contrast, are a dime a dozen. They can be identified by their fondness for unsupported categorical statements, such as Geoff Fox’s, “the people who are advocating for global warming treat it like it’s a religion.”

The comparison is upside-down. Those who ignore the sound science of climate change are rejecting robust but disturbing evidence, in favor of debunked but comforting platitudes. In other words, deniers.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 12, Day 9: That’s Taghyir Al-manakh in Arabic

The New York Times delivers the ghastly news:

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.

Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

I was only going to write to papers in the developing world while Durban was going on, but I just had to respond to this one. Sent December 5:

The inability of politics-as-usual to address the climate crisis is exemplified by the tired excuses for inaction on offer at the Durban climate conference. As the Global Carbon Project’s report makes clear, business-as-usual is well on the way to triggering a runaway greenhouse effect with consequences ranging from inconvenient to catastrophic.

Just over a decade ago, George Bush blithely disregarded a warning that Osama Bin Laden was planning attacks in the US, and on September eleventh, terrorists killed thousands and destroyed an architectural landmark. But failure to control greenhouse emissions will mean megadeaths; the loss of a building whose name evoked our global economy will pale into insignificance when that economy itself is shattered by the resource wars and political chaos sure to follow those rising temperatures. Even though they’ve been repeatedly warned of a real and terrifying threat, our politicians-as-usual can’t bring themselves to act.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 10, Day 5: Some Days These Letters Are No Damn Fun At All

The LA Times for September 30 reports on Rick Perry’s eagerness to embrace climate denial in all its forms:

At a New Hampshire town-hall style meeting, his first of the campaign, the Texas governor sparred Friday evening with a questioner who tried to pin him down on the issue. The man, whom Perry addressed as “Mike,” began by noting a 2011 report from a panel of experts chosen by the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that climate change is occurring and “is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities.” The man noted that Perry had ducked—twice–when asked at the Reagan Library debate this month to name the scientists he found most credible on the subject.

Spending more than three seconds contemplating the vile opportunist that is Rick Perry is enough to send me screaming in search of a shower. Sent October 1:

Governor Perry’s rejection of climate change reflects the conservative base to which he must pander. In his public remarks on the subject, he’s frequently accused climate scientists of manipulating data in order to secure remunerative grants. Given the sordid history of Republican data-manipulation, this is projection at best, knowing hypocrisy at worst. Similarly, his readiness to accept the views of scientists when they bolster his preconceptions demonstrates that for Mr. Perry, like other GOP aspirants, ideology trumps reality.

Remember the Cheney doctrine that a miniscule chance of Iraqi WMDs was justification for an invasion? By all rules of logic, a similarly small probability that climate change is a genuine civilizational threat should galvanize us into action. However, since Republicans don’t “do” logic and are motivated only by nonexistent threats, the worldwide scientific consensus on climate change is sufficient only to trigger rhetorical posturing, and a grotesque rejection of genuine expertise.

Warren Senders

Year 2. Month 9, Day 8: Variations on a Theme (I)

The August 31 LA Times reports on the arrests of James Hansen and Darryl Hannah:

The arrest of actress Daryl Hannah at a protest this week outside the White House led to headlines. But it’s the detainment of NASA’s top scientist on climate change that’s generating talk.

James Hansen was arrested alongside Hannah and several other people at a sit-in to protest the Keystone XL project, a proposed $7-billion, 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast. Environmentalists fear the project will destroy pristine forests and pave the way for another devastating oil spill, but proponents say it will create jobs and reduce the nation’s reliance on oil from places such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Hansen heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which examines such hot-button issues as climate change and humans’ effect on the planet. Before being taken away by authorities, Hansen used a microphone to urge President Obama to act “for the sake of your children and grandchildren” and stop the pipeline project, according to a Bloomberg report.

I want to shake Hansen’s hand. But this letter will have to do; it’s a variation on yesterday’s theme of “this ain’t no game.” Sent Sept. 3:

James Hansen’s assertion that burning the oil of the Canadian tar sands would mean “game over” for Earth’s climate is profoundly wrong.

Not because his science is faulty; if there’s anyone equipped to prognosticate about our planet’s future it’s the NASA climatologist, a man of enormous personal and intellectual integrity.

No — it’s because the future of Earthly life for the next million years is not “only a game.” There’s no replay button; we cannot shuffle and deal a second time. If anyone knows this, it’s Hansen; I’m sure he’s just trying to tell our political and media figures the scary truth in language that’s easier to grasp. While his words make the facts more accessible, they also deceive us into believing our species will get another chance to get it right. The scariest thing about this “game” is that humanity’s not going to get a mulligan: losing is forever.

Warren Senders

78 rpm Records of Indian Music: Kumar Birendra Narayan

Here is a beautiful pair of bansuri performances by Kumar Birendra Narayan, whom I gather was an important instrumentalist in Bengali light and film music, thanks to an en passant mention by Durbadal Chattopadhyay:

Since my father was a musician, many eminent personalities visited our place. He also had an orchestra of which I was the monitor. I started taking music lessons from several people in instruments like the banjo, piano and violin. Musicians like Kumar Birendra Narayan (flute), who accompanied SD Burman on numerous Bangla songs, AS Dubey and others were there. I learnt the violin from my father. Then I took lessons in classical music under the baton of Professor Robin Ghosh…

He has beautiful classical chops; these are very attractive and lilting performances. Enjoy!

Raga “Pradeep” (Patdeep)


Year 2, Month 6, Day 13: The Florida Land Bust

The Saint Petersburg Times has an excellent editorial citing Chicago’s greening programs as worthwhile models for Floridian cities. Governor Rick Scott, of course, is a typical denialist (and a crook, too!). Poor Florida — soon to be submerged:

As the New York Times recently reported, in 2006 then-Mayor Richard M. Daley embraced climatologist predictions the city was warming at such an alarming pace that by the end of this century Chicago could be facing as many as 72 days a year with temperatures in the 90s, along with increasing precipitation. So Chicago has embarked on a massive green initiative with increased tree plantings, environmentally sensitive building efforts and improved reclaimed water systems. And what of Florida, perhaps the most ecologically sensitive state in the union? For starters, there is Gov. Rick Scott, who doesn’t believe — despite proof to the contrary from the scientific community — that global warming even exists. As sea levels have risen, Tallahassee continues to whistle past the environmental graveyard, abolishing the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and even attempting to repeal the Florida Climate Protection Act on the dubious and misinformed logic it is no longer needed. While Chicago acknowledges global warming and develops forward-thinking strategies, Florida’s leaders ignore scientific reality even as the seas slowly and steadily erode the peninsula.

Good stuff. It’s always enjoyable to mock the twisted thinking of denialists. Too bad they’re for real. Sent May 30:

As the evidence for global climate change piles up ever higher, it would seem that conservative “skeptics” would eventually be won over to the side of science-based policy. To be sure, this does happen occasionally. But in general, this is not the way the denialist mind works. If past history is any guide, a far more likely response will be intensified advocacy of increasingly improbable and complex conspiracy theories. Al Gore heading an international cabal of climate scientists? Check. IPCC Director Rajendra Pachauri secretly planning a One-World Government, complete with mandatory re-education camps for SUV drivers? Check. The ninety-seven percent of the world’s climate experts who agree on the human causes of global warming and the terrifying threats it poses are, in the denialist mind, more likely to be avaricious hypocrites out to make a quick buck than conscientious scientists reporting their findings to the world. Projection, anyone?

Warren Senders