REVIEW album Larry Mindel Okarito Ways (Single)

Larry Mindel's Musical Call To Action

Okarito Ways (Single)

Larry Mindel

Let's all treat Mother Nature with a little more tenderness. This seems to be the overriding message of Larry Mindel's latest single 'Okarito Ways'. A celebration of the wondrous Ōkārito Lagoon in New Zealand, Mindel warns that we ought to treat such fragile natural landscapes with more care.

Ōkārito Lagoon - with its associated waterways - connects the Southern Alps of the West Coast of New Zealand to the Tasman Sea. Rich with wildlife, this unique and biodiverse area is protected by National Forest, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ōkārito is the largest surviving unmodified wetlands in New Zealand. Unfortunately, as with many precious areas of nature, humans have only caused destruction. Indeed, over 90% of NZ’s wetlands have been lost or compromised by agriculture and urban expansion.

Yet wetlands are a crucial component of nature. We depend on wetlands to maintain a balance and buffer between land and sea, especially in an age of rising sea levels. They improve water quality, naturally. And they are home to an abundance of unique wildlife such as Ōkārito’s signature bird, the beautiful Kotuku – the Great White Heron (see the single’s artwork).

This poignant and urgent message from Mindel is communicated via the inviting warmth of his sonic landscape; a sort of musical reflection of the New Zealand environment itself. A complex mesh of jazz and folk elements make for a welcomed listen on a winter’s evening; something to unwind to, and to feel at one with Nature herself. Make sure to watch the music video accompanying the track below.

As for the song’s message - remember, everyone can help. When visiting wetlands, people should ‘leave no trace’. At home, consuming less single-use plastic, reducing chemicals used outdoors in gardens and public spaces, and questioning every country’s industrial, agricultural and environmental policies.