IFAW Names Winner of Innovative “Whale Song Remix Project”

Friday, 29 September, 2006
Washington, D.C.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) today announced the winner in the “Whale Remix Project,” an original online contest where users created their own song using the sounds of the humpback whale. Twenty-year old up-and-coming musician Luke Moellman was selected by a celebrity panel of pop musicians, including Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre; Tom Dumont of No Doubt; electronic music composer and producer BT.
As the Grand Prize Winner, Moellman will receive a 60GB video iPod, and will have his song featured in upcoming public service announcements about the growing whale slaughter around the world.

“At IFAW, we wanted to present these magnificent creatures in a unique environment to promote citizen action in the face of a new whaling offensive by Japan,” said Greg Wetstone, U.S. director of IFAW. “We were eager to hear what would be produced by entrants, but the results were even more intriguing than we expected.”

The Whale Song Remix Project contestants logged onto www.stopwhaling.org and composed songs using the sounds of humpback whales. While there, they could also urge President Bush to take stronger action against Japan’s illegal whale slaughter. Using a simple Flash tool with an interactive keyboard interface, visitors could mix together their favorite humpback whale songs or download humpback whale sounds to mix their own tracks offline. Humpback whales make long, uninterrupted streams of sound that with rhythmic patterns that many people consider to be beautiful songs.

Grand prize winner Moellman explained: “[The Whale Song Remix Project] appealed to me for a few reasons. I'm a big fan of nature, so I was interested in supporting efforts to end the unnecessary killing of whales. The humpback whale has a fascinating sound, so I was really inspired to make a remix for the competition. I thought the whole contest was a great idea, especially the Flash-based remix program, which made it easy for anyone to get on the site and use those sounds to make something cool.”

The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness of Japan’s illegal whaling in advance of an important meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in St. Kitts in June 2007 that could undo laws protecting whales and overturn a 20-year-old international ban on hunting them commercially. The hunting of humpback whales has been banned for more than four decades.

"I was excited to listen to the submissions, it was cool to hear how musicians integrated whale songs with contemporary sounds. It was a challenge to rate them! The Stop Whaling Remix Project was an inventive and fun way to get humans involved with whale welfare on a creative level," said No Doubt’s Dumont.

The Whale Song Remix Project Winners:
  • Grand Prize: Luke Moellman (Miami, Florida);
  • 2nd Place: Joel Campbell (Casselberry, Florida); The Dolor De Ballenas Theme (Song 4)
  • 3rd Place: Murray Micklberg (Lindenwold, New Jersey); Wailing (Song 5)
  • 4th Place: Paul DeCarli (CITY/STATE TK); Greybeat (Song 1)
  • 5th Place: Rebecca Lashock (Rockford, Illinois); Dueling Whales (Song 2)
  •   6th Place: Todd Steggall (CITY/STATE TK); India Whales
  •   7th Place: Kathryn McCormick (Victoria, British Columbia; Canada)
  • 8th Place: Rafael Cajja Maguiña
  • 9th Place: Renee Orlandi
  • 10th Place: Patti Bartosch (Coppell, Texas)    

Second and Third place winners receive iPod Nanos; Fourth and Fifth place receive iPod Shuffles; Sixth through Tenth place received IFAW t-shirts.

"The number of participants in the whale remix contest and the scope of their creativity was really moving,” said Johanna Fateman, of Le Tigre. “These artists showed the humpback whales as friendly collaborators, allies in danger, and precious mysteries."

Celebrity judges also included Lisa Kekuala of The Bellrays; composer and producer Wayne Kramer (founding member of MC5); hip-hop artist and producer Head-Roc; Sid Barcelona of Thunderball; composer and producer Chris Vrenna (former member of Nine Inch Nails and touring drummer for Marilyn Manson); and Mike Ski of the A.K.A.s.

Commercial whaling has been banned internationally since 1986, and the hunting of humpback whales has been banned for more than four decades. Since the ban on whaling took effect, Japan has killed more than 25,000 whales in the name of scientific research, selling the whale meat to restaurants and markets. Japan has announced plans to expand its whaling to include threatened humpback whales next year.

Visitors to www.stopwhaling.org can urge President Bush to take tougher action against Japan’s illegal whale slaughter.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation