Scapes from Cies Islands

Latest update July 8, 2019 Started on July 1, 1963

A team of researchers approaches Cies Islands on the shoreline of Galicia, Spain, to record and archive the heritage of this protected archipelago. With focus on the outskirts of Cies. This series of expeditions aim to produce soundworks.

July 1, 1963
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Participatory boarding campaign aboard the sailboat Fleur de Passion in collaboration with the coordinator for the study of marine mammals (CEMMA) and Øceanic Sound Art (ØSA).
We propose an outing on board the FLeur de Passion sailboat, platform of the Ocean Mapping Expedition (OME), an expedition around the world, following the route of Magallanes and Cano, to study the state of the oceans, educate and disseminate (www.  This output is coordinated together with the CEMMA, which will be responsible for explaining and developing the monitoring of the presence and abundance of cetaceans in the Galicia platform. ØSA and the crew of the OME will be responsible for explaining the communication in the cetaceans and the problem of acoustic pollution and will show how to use hydrophones. Microplastics will also be sampled with planktonic networks and the whole sampling process will be shown. This is an outing to learn and participate in a sampling day, participate in the Ocean Mapping Expedition, take the opportunity to sail in a classic sailboat around Galicia. We will stay on Friday July 19 at 09: 00h at the Monte Real Club de Yates in Baiona, where we will explain the departure and security on board and then we will sail until around 8pm. Price: € 40 (includes insurance), bring things to eat and snack.


We are happy to announce our third pilot ØSA residency_______
Cameron Stallones is a Los Angeles-based artist working in primarily music, film, and video. Sun Araw is the working title of his musical practice which has encompassed 9 full-length studio albums and innumerable collaborative recordings. The nature of the practice is investigation into the nature of experience by the transformative power of observation. The goal has always been the creation of a psychedelic music, by which is meant a psychotropic music: not an aesthetic sensibility but a method of discontinuous experience. More recent works attempt to effect the mental activity of the listener even more physically and investigate the expansion of the time-experience when the composition removes a fixed place from which to listen. Erica Ryan Stallones lives, works, and teaches art in Los Angeles, California. She received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2011, and has exhibited her work in traditional, online, and alternative spaces throughout the greater Los Angeles area and internationally. Primarily a painter, her practice also includes performance, video, installation, writing, and other media. Recent projects have incorporated directed collaboration with performers and viewers in large-scale, loosely scripted, often durational endeavors inhabiting the wobbly space between social practice and theatre. Ideas and ensuing projects are organized around “systems” built toward the desire to understand, construct, and de-construct universal symbols such as the numbers one through four, the cardinal directions, or the movement of the planets. As an interdisciplinary artist, her work is both research-based and intuitive, and each body of work is responsive to the nature of the space it is shown in. Together they operate SUN ARK RECORDS, which specializes in the publication of experimental music, film, and other creative arts.

OTHER LINKS: radio show:

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We are happy to present a new wave of residents for the month of June ØSA residency (pilot year)
.................................................................................... Marielle Klein Lankhorst. She obtained a degree in Marine Governance in Wageningen University (NL). The past year she has been travelling the coast of Europe whilst interviewing small-scale fishers. Nowadays Marielle is working on her project More to Sea taking portraits of Europe’s small scale fishers. In Galicia, she is working on a photography project gathering some fishers' knowledge and remote data. She will work during ØSA residency by tracking some vulnerable endemic areas.

Margot van Malenstein. She is a thalassian fanatic with an ever-refreshing interest in marine and coastal bio-physiscal systems, she graduated at Wageningen University with a bachelors in coastal ecology and biodiversity, followed up by a M.S.C. degree in Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management with a minor in environmental education for sustainability. Nowadays she is working on the North Sea in The Netherlands focusing on promoting knowledge transfer, awareness and connection between companies and entrepreneurs can be a key to tackle the plastic problem that our oceans suffer. Margot will research, explore and identify some algae endemic to Galician coasts, and research about their function and history on the coast.

They will present the results of their work at Electropura Festival (Illa de Arousa) on the weekend of June 15th.

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In The Field

On the 19th of May we embarked on a cetaceans monitoring expedition organised by a Galician marine mammal preservation organisation called Cemma Cetaceos. OSA and Cemma team members encountered two times a pod of pilot whales about 10 to 15 miles out on the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of O Grove in Galica , Spain. Team members marked GPS locations, the depth of the Ocean, the kind of cetaceans and all other relevant information on the moment of the sightings. Cemma experts also make sure they approach the cetaceans with care and according to the rules of law that are there on how to approach them with disturbing the natural way too much . However both these encounters the pilot whales decided to divert their course and come take a look around our vessel which allowed us to make the following footage of them.

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May 13. Sighting of large pods of golfiños fishing at sunset.

A spectacular view of a fairly regular event. A sun that sets every evening. Yet it is not every day we get to share it with such an amazing crowd.

And as appreciation often begins with seeing, we register this video of today's sunset under public domain, and hope to keep bearing witness to events like these.

21:45. The Islands, the ocean, the sky, the sun. Golfiños fishing, men fishing, oil freighter on the horizon.

/ Juri, ØSA contributor

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First ØSA Residency: Dazion & Giuseppe Leonardi

Amazing news from the Cies Islands. We are announcing our first official two residents: the musicians Dazion from the Netherlands and Austrian Giuseppe Leonardi. Both Dazion and Leonardi are part of the Dutch label Second Circle, division of the acclaimed Music from Memory record label.

Dazion (aka producer, DJ and visual artist Cris Kuhlen), released his first EP, 'Do not Get Me Wrong' on Second Circle, and in it he immersed himself in extravagant percussions and kaleidoscopic analog synths, revealing himself as a producer with an exotic vision difficult to classify.

Giuseppe Leonardi is a DJ and musician from Vienna. His music oscillates between the cerebral, the psychedelic and the ludic. His shamanic amalgam of percussions, atmospheres and patterns of sinth's, set in the catacombs of Vienna, anticipates a bright future for the young Giuseppe. His first album was also released in Second Circle, followed by publications in the Austrian International Major Label and Crevette Records (Belgium).

Second Circle is the sub-label of Music From Memory, a Netherlands label created in Amsterdam in 2013 by DJs and producers Jamie Tiller and Tako Reyenga, and which has to date an impeccable catalog of visionary electronic music, rescued from the past or edited today, from artists like Gigi Masin, Jonny Nash or the Spanish cult musician Suso Saiz.

On Friday, May 24th, we are proud to present these two wonderful musicians collaborating for ØSA in Madrid, along with ØSA co-founder Alonso. At Ballesta Club in Madrid, Dazion and Leonardi will meet and take us on a musical journey. Part of the benefits of this event are intended as a donation to CEMMACetaceos, a non-profit organization that fights for cetacean protection in our marine environments on the Galician coast, near the Cies islands.

Although Dazion and Giuseppe Leonardi have not yet met, they will spend two weeks together at ØSA Residency in Patos after their performance at Ballesta, creating new music against the backdrop of the beautiful Cies islands, using the natural environments as their inspiration. They will work on the results of their collaboration at Radar Estudios de Vigo, close to our homebase.

If you happen to be in Madrid on the 24th, please do drop by. We are looking forward to the works that will be produced during this first official residency!

/ Anna, ØSA team member

Here are some useful links:øceanic-sound-art-presenta-dazion-giuseppe-leonardi-live/815796178813506/

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In The Field

ØSA at NTNU Ocean Week in Trondheim

Our team member Anna Madlener spoke at Ocean Week 2019 conference at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, today.

The conference is an annual event held at the renowned university, giving a platform to the newest advancement in ocean technologies and research. This year, the overall theme of the conference is "Oceans in Change". It started with a breathtaking immersive performance by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza from TBA21, a contemporary art foundation, that challenged the visitors to experience the extent of sound pollution that marine life is exposed to. Throughout the day, an interdisciplinary programme was shaped by engineers, artists, politicians, changemakers and entrepreneurs.

Anna spoke in the afternoon in the "Other Voices, Other Stories" session where she advocated for more interdisciplinary work between roboticists and artists to come together to change the ocean. As an ocean roboticist, she is constantly challenged to balance the intersection between arts and technology that she believes in. It was a great opportunity for ØSA to promote our project and connect with people we had met before and many new ones who we hope to collaborate closely with in the future.

/ Anna, ØSA team member

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A return to Amsterdam

Serendipitously, I met Olivier Delebecque and Suzanne Bernhardt some time ago in Amsterdam. Both graduated as visual artists from the film Academy in Amsterdam in 2015 and the Rietveld Academy, respectively. They are a really nice and authentic couple who are active sailors. Olivier solo-sailed to Azores islands from Amsterdam in 2016 during the Jester Azores Challenge in his boat: a Godot craft measuring 6 meter length that Olivier acquired in 2015.

They are actively participating in other projects such as The Blue Dream Project that aims to advance education by providing sailing expeditions and artistic events on the topic of plastic pollution and other forms of pollution of the oceans. Furthermore, Olivier will be filming in June in the Nordlys, possibly the world's oldest cargo ship (1873), targeting fair transport and shipping cargo emission free.

When we met, we felt an automatic connection in what we are interested to work on, since my goal is to become a “sonic-ninja” and Olivier is working towards autonomous ocean migration. We found that we both love ocean so much and we see similar qualities in the acoustics of the sea. We decided to make a little expedition together as a test to know each other better. Olivier told me about his idea to make a boat residency in his own boat in the form of a voyage from Amsterdam to Dakar (SN), via Plymouth (UK), Patos (SP), Sao Miguel (PT) and the Canary Islands (SP). The goal of his research is to develop a Manual for Potential Clandestine Midshipman. A manual that would be accessible online as an immaterial archive to challenge the idea of static borders and migrations threat.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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Playing some ocean sounds on radio

Radio has always been a powerful tool for mass communication. Operator Radio is not a massive distributor but still many people worldwide attend to their online sendings. Operator is an alternative internet radio station and non profit organisation which has been part of the Dutch music scene for many years now. This month ØSA did a new form of "expedition" to The Netherlands and I tested mixing sounds (provided by Manuel Castellote from NOAA and Alfredo López from CemmaCetaceos) with music. This is just a test but I'm considering to propose a long term radio program. I hope you like it, you can find the mix in the links below. Pace!

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder


Small hydrophones from ocean litter

Hydrophones are expensive, so until we can use some professional ones, we built our own hydrophones with recycled plastics which we found roaming around on Patos beach. I like the idea of using plastic as an underwater microphone by extending the sensibility of a piezoelectric sensor.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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A little story about Cemma Cetaceos

As I always do when I go to Cemma Cetaceos, I walked about 7 km to meet Alfredo at their base. For me, this is kind of a ritual. We were happy because finally they found the hydrophones we might ask for one of the projects we consider to produce in a near future: a sound essay album, a collaboration between marine animals and humans. Thanks are in order for Cemma Cetaceos and especially for Alfredo Lopez who invited me to visit Cemma base. When I explained my intention for producing a sound essay album, he showed me and explained more about the different hydrophones they have and how they have used them for a project in the Rias Baixas. Alfredo is always talking to me in Galician, and I love it that with him I'm always learning and understanding new things. For me my differences with other beings can only enrich us. Now I'm writing a proposal for Cemma and Alfredo will present it to the rest of the board to consider us for using the hydrophones for the artwork and expedition we would like to plan for May-July 2019 near Cies Islands with the support of Cemma.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder


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Another multi-disciplinary ocean aficionado joining us

We are ready to introduce one of our first collaborators and artists: Anna Madlener is currently based in Stockholm, studies robotics and is an Ocean Discovery Fellow at MIT Media Lab’s Open Ocean initiative. As an ocean roboticist and someone who believes in human connection to nature through art and technology, she is looking for ways to reconnect individuals to the ocean whether they live right next to it or in a buzzing city.

As an example, she has been doing immersive deep ocean audiovisual events, where she uses deep sea footage and sound while improvising on classical music instruments with the support of other artists. The idea of her events is to transform a space into a temporary voyage to ocean's depths, and immerse the listener and observer into the beauty of the weird, dark, sensational waters. Improvising music on flute and other instruments is the vital and culminating part of this performance. It is an analogy to the continuous rediscovery of oceans, to the unknown power one can discover on any new dive, to the tweaks and imperfections and the wonderful synergies between instruments and ecosystems below the surface of humans just as much as oceans.

The musical journey will be more mysterious and magical with footage of nature, plants, microsystems, water, and the sound of the animals thanks to technological insights. For her events but also for our album to be supported by amazing imagery and technological resources, she is joining ØSA to contribute her valuable interdisciplinary knowledge and character.


Cemma Cetaceos, a local Galician champion

Some weeks ago we visited Cemma Cetaceos in Nigran at their base. Cemma is a non-governmental organization that "dedicated to the study and divulgation of marine mammals and sea turtles in Galicia."

Alfredo López who works there showed us an infinite kindness. We wanted to understand better what Cemma is actually working on and we ended up with a magistral lesson of how Cetaceans perceive the world, which apparently is not entirely scientifically clear yet. We understood better what an Odontoceti and a Mysticeti are. We are mind-blown about how the aural systems of the different kinds of cetaceans work. They are just like "huge microphones" or "loudspeakers" and I found an immense fountain of inspiration for our creations and productions.

Alfredo also told me about a project they were working on some years ago with hydrophones, which unfortunately had to be cut due to lack of subsidies. We hope to be able to use one of their leftover hydrophones for creating a sound composition. I would, for example, like to produce a soundtrack of one month duration for a special publication.

Currently we are reading the booklets Alfredo gave us and researching about the most interesting sonic qualities of the different kinds of Cetaceans to understand better how we can work with the sounds he also shared with us. It's important to mention that they have a huge archive of samples from cetaceans such as bones, teeth, organs, many biological samples... Alfredo told us they would like to do a museum to display all this material, but it seems to be difficult for them to find a place for display. They don't have enough space at their base and we are thinking about how we could help them to get a space for such an amazing display.

Finally I would like to add that he gave us some amazing posters explaining the aural systems of Cetaceans and the Echolocation, which we now want to frame and hang them at our base. To be continued...

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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In The Field

Winter Solstice Vol. 2

We found an amazing peace arriving to San Martiño Island. Scary silence. We almost couldn't hear the buzzing sounds of the city. I did hear my consciousness (or whatever it was) asking me:
> what are you doing here? ... Why should you disturb the peace of such an amazing place? A real flora and fauna paradise.

I had many flashback memories of my childhood, even memories of my family or of my grandfather when he was still alive, and I felt an immense sadness and an immense peacefulness. Strange energy from huge stones touching my deepest hearing. Although I was with two other persons I was completely alone, invaded by my own thinking and feelings. I was completely sure that I didn't want to disturb the energy of the islands, but we were already there, and we had to walk, stepping on the silky and glossy sand. - Why should we step on the housing of the marine fleas?... marine fleas are beautiful, but they are just ready for others to step on their houses. Every time one of us was stepping on the sand or in any herb around the beach I felt my heart kind of hurting.

After a while observing the small fishermen's ships approaching the island's perimeter or the big cargos from China or northern Europe passing far by arriving to Vigo's Ria, I felt better. We are subconsciously cruel, I thought, humans, probably not more or less cruel than what we call "nature". In a way... we are "nature." Then I started to remember the book of Ecology without Nature I read before from T. Morton or some acceleracionist theories from Reza Negiristani. On the ground we were exploring the area.

The main beach of San Martiño is quite small, about three hundred meters wide, gently hugged by a dune before entering the mountain trails. The beach is contained by two rock reefs on left and right sides. On the left side (looking towards Vigo city, NE) you can cross to the continuation of the beach and pass by to the "cove" when the tides are low. There is four contemporary buildings standing on this area: one is the house of Pepe Conde, but I am still unsure about the other three's purposes or owners.

The house of Pepe is near to the old stone peer, which is ruined and abandoned, not functional at all for landing or departing, but it might be functional for a subtle sound installation. The reaction of the two humans coming with me to the islands made me really happy, one of them started to understand better why none should throw butts of cigarettes to the ground (even when in the city). But to look into their eyes and seeing their smiles was also really worth using the petrol to get there.

The flow was making us silent, and we started to listen to the island in "silence" we started to walk towards a refuge that is closed by a trail which is going a little deeper into the interior of the island. That refuge and stone construction is quite creepy and abandoned but the actual building is still in a good shape. There we ate something sitting at an old stone table and we started to listen to the Islands.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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Winter Solstice

On 22nd of December 2018, winter solstice and full moon, we decided to start with the first pre-expedition to Cies Islands within the context of ØSA. In order to brainstorm about the possibilities and limits for future expeditions, we wanted to sense the field with our own ears, eyes, smell and skin. We hope some of this comes across on these magical photos from the untouched beaches.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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Not The Christmas Gift We Wished For

In December, Tako, ØSA co-founder, and I were enjoying the winterly calm beach town Patos, when we unfortunately witnessed the saddest encounter we have had with a dolphin so far.

We were having a nice beach walk at night: I wanted to show Tako "A Cala," one of my favourite spots I used to go "to think and chill" or surf since I was a kid. "A Cala" is a hidden cove where only very few locals go surfing at low tide. Physically and mentally, we were preparing to do our first joint adventure to the islands. It was late night, around 23.30 when we were suddenly frightened by something quite big and unusual between the rocks of the cove. The delphinus delphis was quite decomposed and rotted. For us this was a signal: in itself a tragic symbol, we saw it as a serendipitous encounter that had a powerful meaning, because it reminded us of why we chose to create ØSA. We knew we witness a lot of sad and difficult moments on the way. This one increased our interest to learn more about ecology and biology and to do something against what is happening in the ocean. The days after this, we contacted The Oceanographic Institute of Vigo and they rewired us to CemmaCetaceos to pick up our first conversations. It turned out that the aftermath of storm Elena was bringing this cetacean from another beach to "A Cala". The had already taken samples and they told us they didn't know the exact reasons why he died, but it probably was not a natural cause of death.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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A little story about Alonso

Since I was a kid, my mother has told me many stories about my grandparents. She used to share memories, stories and tales about the expeditions of my grandfather which he started since he was about sixteen years old. At the age of nineteen, he did his Navy practicum at the Juan Sabastian "El Cano", the main ship of the Spanish Army at the time. These stories have contributed greatly to my deep connection with the ocean, not least seen that my grandfather's house in Patos now serves as the base of ØSA. Here are some pictures of my grandparents, my grandfather in one of his first expeditions to Japan (when he strengthened the diplomatic relationships between Spain and Japan) and a model of the Juan Sebastian "El Cano" ship.

/ Alonso, ØSA co-founder

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Expedition Background

Øceanic Sound Art Expeditions: Discovering Islas Cies

The History of Islas Cies

The archipelago of Cies, Ons, Sálvora, Cortegada form the aquagreen landscape that characterizes the Maritime Terrestrial National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia, known to locals as their private Caribbean (although not so unknown anymore since The Guardian chose Islas Cies as the best beach in the world in 2007). Submerged among its waters are some of the most preserved representative examples of Atlantic marine ecosystems, treasuring a great biological wealth, while also telling a historic and mythological story,

Its location in front of the Rías Baixas, four coastal bays in the Southwest of Galicia originating from flooded river banks, creates a natural frontier towards the open ocean that accentuates the estuarial environment. The dune systems, cliffs and bushes of gorse and heather stand out on the terrestrial shorelines, while the marine grounds are characterized by rocky bottoms where communities of brown seaweed forests (Sacorhiza polyschides and Laminaria) give shelter to a valuable microecosystem.

The different types of substrata that form the bottoms of these islands are bathed by waters that are influenced by the warm surface current of the Gulf, softening its temperature, and the winds that blow from the north during spring and summer. The latter displace the surface waters, allowing the rise of deep cold waters, rich in nutrients (outcrop). On top of that, the fluvial contribution of the estuaries conditions the salinity, the constitution of sediments and organic matter. This marine wealth of the park is under the protection of the OSPAR agreement, advocating for a healthy marine environment in the North-East Atlantic.

Cies Islands were a passage territory of the Paleolithic and Neolithic humans, constituted as an official municipality only in the Bronze Age. From this time dates the town of "As Hortas" on the slope of Monte Faro (Cies Islands) and possibly also other structures in the Alto da Campá, whose true origin still needs to be verified. Archaeological remains and findings in Cies Islands have helped classify "As Hortas" to originate from the castreño-roman era. A series of natural coats and stones which are known as "Druidic altar" are the main clue to confirm the speculative dates of the first inhabitants of Cies. A conformation of stones are carved to appear as a skull with channels in its surface, which many have interpreted as a testament to the era of sacrifices in honor of the gods. The "concheiros" found (deposits formed by the remains of shells, bones, ceramics, etc.) inform us that their food already included seafood and fish from the nearby waters. It is thought that they had commercial relations with the people of the coast by findings of lithic anchors and ceramics with motifs similar to those of the peninsula.

"Islands of the Gods"

Historically, it is speculated that these islands were part of the named Kassitérides islands by the Greeks. However, the absence of Casiterita-tin inside the islands makes us think that they must have been a place of commerce for those metals. The Romans, who sailed the Mare Tenebrosum, called the islands “Islands of the Gods. There are many speculations and historiographic documents which point out to Julio Cesar’s legend, who supposedly arrived to the islands to fight and conquer the settlement of the untamed Herminios (Celtic people from the north of Portugal), who also took refuge in the islands before the Roman harassment. Archaeological findings from the Roman time on the South Island, similar to those of “As Hortas,” suggest that there used to be a settlement or guard post for merchant ships, but this has yet to be confirmed. When my father suddenly died, I was only two years old. He was born in Vigo and he met my mother when they were both around fifteen years old during the summer of 1963 in the small Galician port of Panxon. When I was about three years old, I often couldn’t sleep, so she played me sounds from the ocean which her father Manuel, an admiral of the republican navy during the second Spanish republic, had brought her as a gift from one of his transoceanic ship explorations. So here is an introduction about where I’m coming from. There are many reasons for me to start this expedition, but my personal connection to these islands plays a crucial role. Since I was really young, I have collected maps, stories, sounds and objects from the Cies Islands and now I am setting off the ultimate expedition.

Øceanic Sound Art

Øceanic Sound Art is an alternative creative hub and "nomadic" artist-in-residence program based at the coast of Galicia, Spain for the first PILOT YEAR 2019. ØSA aims to create a community and a non physical base where scientists, artists and a wide range of professionals can explore the past, the present and the future state of our oceans in a creative way . Within our residency program, we strive to gear artists with scientific instruments such as hydrophones and underwater imaging technology. We also organise events such as what we called "Ocean Sessions" where we present works of collaborating professionals or residents..

A collaboration between Cetaceans and humans

We are currently exploring the ocean looking for their secrets and their community. We want to listen to the ocean and get to know it better. We are working on a music album, celebrating a colaboration between marine wild life and humans. We aim to use recorded sounds of whales, dolphins, seals and other mammals or marine animals to interact with human-made sounds. Every track of the album will be composed of the sounds recorded , mixed with compositions made by humans. A posteriori to expeditions in nature, we will mix recorded sounds with compositions. The album will display a collaboration between marine animals and humans in every track, telling the story of ancient, natural co-living of human and marine lives.

For this project to succeed, we are happy to count on the support of CemmaCetaceos Music from Memory and Radar Estudios Vigo so far.


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