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Getting from I to We: Sharing lived experience through collaborative songwriting

The songs on the new album “Songs in the Key of Collaboration” from Martin Høybye is also the soundtrack to a journey spanning several years of intercultural co-creation and research

Portrait photo of Martin Høybye
Martin Høybye

“Prompted by a serious water crisis, I set out to explore songwriting as a response to anthropogenic environmental impact, broadly speaking. The aim was to both explore how songwriting might shed light on lived experience, and to make songwriting accessible to others by collaboratively sharing stories in this way,” says the singer/songwriter, scholar, and IMC affiliate.

Five years later, he looks back on a plethora of human and non-human encounters in a project which earned him a PhD from Aarhus University in 2023 (https://martinhøybye.dk/phd-thesis-successfully-defended/).

The collaborative songwriting in the project serves as a response to environmental impact, which he terms “the overwhelm” of the Anthropocene. Songs have been written in two diverse settings, the aftermath of the Day Zero water crisis in in Cape Town, where he worked in 2019 gauging diverse experiences of environmental precariousness. The other setting was the Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark, and he wrote songs with people there in 2020, 2021 engaging with different experiences of this challenging time. 

Songwriting collaborators have come from South Africa, Denmark, the DRC, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Ghana, England, and Sweden. Ten of 35 songs written in the project are presented on the album, which is released May 3rd and available here https://hoybye.lnk.to/songs

The songs comprise a meeting of sentiments and ideas from different people, different countries, and very different living situations.

May 3rd at 16.00 hrs, you can join the official release event is in Aarhus – get your free tickets here: