When she started working on her new album, Green, vocalist and activist Barbara Bentree just wanted to do an album of songs she loves. Then, while considering the purchase of a hybrid auto, she began to ruminate on the effort required to go green—from separating your trash to retrofitting a house with solar panels. Suddenly, Kermit’s song “Bein’ Green” took on new meaning, and Bentree decided to “look at traditional songs through an environmental lens.” With a lovely, clear, well-pitched voice that has a charming girlishness in the upper registers and a pleasing touch of sweetness throughout, Bentree walks a line between wonder and warning. With pop, jazz, Brazilian and new age touches in sterling arrangements by John Rangel, who appears on piano and synth, the nine tracks feature fine work by Marcos Cavalcante (guitar) and Joel Fadness (drums). Drummer Dave Libman guests on “The Planet Song,” an intriguing anthem by Wen Mull that’s full of synth magic. The album—nominated for six New Mexico Music Awards—entertains while raising awareness, with all revenues from CD sales going to the Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, GreenPeace, the Sierra Club and Bioneers. The album release concert, appropriately scheduled for Earth Day, will feature Rangel, Cavalcante and Fadness, along with the Rio Grande School choir.
The platform of the Bioneers is as wide and diverse as the planet itself. The group seeks to unearth solutions to our most pressing environmental dilemmas through science, food, entrepreneurship, social justice, art and beyond. It's a big tent filled with serious issues—but the answers are often deceptively human-scale. Here in Albuquerque, the Burque Bioneers are mounting a two-day conference with workshops and speakers. Learn to battle urban food deserts, bone up on bike culture and get tips on turning your neighborhood into a greener place on Friday and Saturday at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW). Tickets are $15 for one day or $25 for both. For tickets and more info on the Burque Bioneers, visit bbabq.wordpress.com.