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The Drought Sessions: A Mixtape For A Drying California

Ezra David Romero
Drought themed music is being created across California.

Historical movements, wars and disasters around the globe have created signature sounds in music. Think freedom songs like “We Shall Overcome,” Prince’s “Baltimore” and even Beyonce’s song “Halo” after Haiti was rocked by an earthquake. The Golden State is in its fourth year of drought and songs about a drying California are now emerging. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports on drought for the station. He joins Valley Edition Host Joe Moore to talk about what he calls drought music. 

Take a listen and let us know what songs you'd add to the list in the comment section below.  

Hear The Songs

 Terra Bella -  'Drought'

Credit Coutesty of Terra Bella
Terra Bella

Joseph Costa and Martina Otterbeck are a husband and wife duo from the Central Valley, but now live in Nashville.

They wrote ‘Drought’ after a conversation with Costa’s dad about the severity of the drought. His father farms corn and cotton in Visalia, Calif.

Deap Vally – ‘Drought’

Credit Courtesy of Deap Vally
Deap Vally

Deap Vally is a heavy rock and roll band from Los Angeles. Julie Edwards drums and vocals and Lindsey Troy guitar, vocals. They’ve performed around the globe at musical festivals with groups like IggyPopp and Dinosaur Junior. They wrote ‘Drought’ in 2012 reflecting on life in the San Fernando Valley.

They remember hot summers, popsicles, sprinklers, drought ads in the 80s and 90s. From their perspective Los Angeles has been coping with a perpetual drought.

Alex Masters – 'Drought'

Credit Courtesy of Alex Masters
Alex Masters

Alex Masters is Nashville pop country singer that describes herself as a heart on your sleeve kind of girl. In her song “Drought” she equates a personal drought with the drought taking place in the west.

In 2012 she was in this dark place where she felt isolated and in inner turmoil. This was the result of that time in her life. To bring the similarities even closer her music video was shot at the Salton Sea near the Coachella Valley.

Dr. Benjamin Boone – ‘Water(less) Music’

Credit Benjamin Boone
Water(less) Music

Dr. Benjamin Boone is a composer and a professor at Fresno State. He was commissioned to create a symphony earlier this year so he decided he’d create a symphony about water and the lack of it in California.

He wove a narrative about water and drought from recordings of former U.S Poet Laureate Philip Levine and then composed orchestral music around that narrative. In the symphony two 44 quart bowls are played as instruments, there are thunderstorms and at times the faint trickle of water dripping can be heard.

The symphony was aslo performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall June 26, 2015.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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