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The Waterkeepers get musical

“It’s a partnership, really, between artists and activists — sharing great music.”

“It’s a partnership, really, between artists and activists — sharing great music.”

That’s Mark Mattson, president of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper organization, describing the Swim Drink Fish Music Club. For a $10 annual fee, music lovers concerned about the environment get to download new and special songs from Gord Downie, Bruce Cockburn and a wide range of emerging and indie artists.

“The name represents swimmable, drinkable, fishable water,” Mattson explains. “The artists give us exclusive tracks, we put them up on the club and share them with anyone who’s a member. They can put these songs on their iPods and computers and keep them forever. There’s over 75 tracks now — unique and varied.”

The membership money supports the work of your local waterkeeper.

So what’s a waterkeeper?

“We’re part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, that’s headed up by Robert Kennedy, Jr.,” says Mattson, who’s also an experienced criminal lawyer.

“We have a fulltime person on the water, protecting and celebrating the lake. We use democratic tools to do that. We’ll go to court, to environmental-assessment processes, bringing evidence, et cetera. But we also do things like Swim Drink Fish Music.”

The music club started in 2009, and is supported by a wide variety of concerned musicians.

“Music has been a big part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, because we’re so close to the communities along the lakes and rivers, and so many musicians and artists live there. Fraser River Waterkeeper is involved in British Columbia, also the Ottawa River Waterkeeper, and we’re expanding to Miami — the Biscayne Waterkeeper — in the next couple of weeks.”

It’s an intriguing way of supporting the environment, while broadening your music collection with some sensational sounds — like Gord Downie and the Sadies teaming up to cover Randy Newman’s haunting flood song, Louisiana 1927.

“We’re hoping that all 130 waterkeepers across North America will soon be involved. There’ll be more and more music coming from different regions, really linking both the environmentalists and the artists together, I’m hoping we’ll find some synergy there.”

For more info — or to join: swimdrinkfishmusic.com.

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