I had long been interested in and felt solidarity with indigenous cultures when I received another newsletter by the NGO Survival International. It reported that the Kalahari Bushmen had been driven off their own land by the government of Botswana.
As so often happens, the prospect of big business was a good enough reason for corporations and governments to evict yet another group of indigenous people from the land that they had inhabited for tens of thousands of years. In this case, diamonds had been discovered in the area and there was also the possibility of gaining tourist revenues through safaris and holidays. Apparently the story of western civilisation driving ancient tribes and peoples to extinction is continuing.
Angry and frustrated about this blatant injustice, I sat down and started writing the lyrics “Ancient Tribes”. I just wanted to express my solidarity with all remaining indigenous tribes. I wanted to give a voice to all the unheard voices in this global issue. I wanted to raise awareness about this insanity. I wanted to contribute whatever I could to make a difference, no matter how big or small it would be.
It is always difficult to foresee the effects of one’s efforts. I did not exactly expect to change the world overnight, much less with a song. Who knows, I might even have had a greater impact by selling all my possessions, creating an activist blog, travelling to Botswana and going on a media-effective hunger strike in the Kalahari Desert. However, it is my conviction that everyone should do what they love the most and what they are best at. In my case, that is music and as Eddie Vedder once stated: “Music is at its best when it has a purpose.”
Well, I have made use of my own voice through a song. Yet the voices of today’s indigenous tribes are not being heard enough. Be it the Bushmen of Botswana, the Yanomami of Brazil or the Aborigines of Australia. Indigenous peoples all over the world are still facing harsh conditions and challenges.
Yet there is hope. Activists, NGOs and a growing social awareness around the globe are on the rise too.
I wholeheartedly wish that I will still witness a time when indigenous peoples are being respected and granted the rights they deserve. There certainly is enough space for cultural diversity and coexistence.
Singer/Songwriter: Daniel Haselwanter
Daniel Haselwanter is an Austrian acoustic folk rock singer/songwriter. Since the age of 12 he has been writing his own music and has been singer and guitarist in several local bands. It was not until 2009 that he finally decided to have his first solo-album produced. His debut record “Between Lines” (released in June 2010) is a display of his various qualities as a songwriter and musician. It includes 14 songs that cover a rich variety of musical styles and a wide range of emotions. Supported by the Styrian musicians Chris Laber (Bass) and Martin Klement (drums), “Between Lines” contains progressive acoustic rock with powerful vocals (“Hold On”, “Beyond The Edge”) as well as invigorating experimental instrumental songs (“Marmara”, “Sternenhimmel”) and touching acoustic ballads (“Near Her”, “Zu Zweit”).
The large variety of moods that the songs communicate (e.g. personal determination, mourning, being in love, the beauty of nature, travelling etc.) is just as unusual as the mix of different languages that his mostly contemplative lyrics are written in (English, German, Tyrolean dialect, Spanish).
Daniel’s affection for traditional and uncommon instruments is also strongly reflected on “Between Lines”. Bouzouki, udu drum, rainmaker, cajon and violin all add a refreshing touch of world music to the album.
Daniel is currently finishing his second solo-album “Rolling Home Recordings” and planning to promote it on extensive tours through Europe.
As with all articles published in WCA, the opinions expressed and factual research are entirely those of the article’s author.