Sunshine beats | Global Ideas | DW | 13.01.2016
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Global Ideas

Sunshine beats

Turtuga Blanku says he literally turns sunshine into music. For years, the biologist turned recording artist has used solar power to record his songs and spread his environmental message.

Tucked away on a sunny Caribbean island is a small solar-powered recording studio called the "green machine" where musician #link: Blanku# produces songs with an enviromental slant.

That the green machine runs completely on solar power is no mean feat when you consider all of the electronics that go into recording the environmentalist's blend of pop, rock, funk and reggae. But for Turtuga Blanku the medium is the message. And that message is an eco-friendly one.

"I am passionate about both nature and music making, so it made sense to combine the two to try to spread environmental messages," says Turtuga. "Plundering nature and using nature as a trash can, will catch up on us in a nasty way, rather sooner than later. We need to steer towards a sustainable way of living. I like to make people aware of that, but in a positive, upbeat way."

In all, 18 solar panels attached to the roof of Turtuga's Caribbean home power the studio. Eight deep-loading batteries keep the music flowing after dark, while the studio set-up remains simple to keep #link: use# down.

'White turtle'

Turtuga, whose real name is Maarten Schuit, is a biologist by education. He originally came to the Caribbean island of Bonaire with its lush coral reefs to conduct research into sea turtles, which earned him the nickname Turtuga Blanku or white turtle.

While he says his solar-powered music "seems to strike a chord" with those who hear it, he hopes it will spur people to action.

"Getting informed is the first step to taking action. I use my music and my website to inform others of sustainable alternatives to our current (mostly) fossil fuel dependent global society," says Turtuga, who also contributes music to #link: animations# by film production company #link: Light#.

Turtuga has recently moved to Europe and the green machine is no more, but he promises "it will not be the end of my solar-powered music." He will continue to release his stash of sunshine songs recorded in the Caribbean and is in the process of setting up a new solar studio in France. In the meantime, here's one of Turtuga's solar-powered eco-tunes:

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