Making music for managing El Niño

A platform for making and sharing music related to El Niño phenomenon

This project builds on the success of earlier stages in our collaborative El Niño research and the 2022 award of the Peruvian Ministry of Education’s (FONDEP) Educational Innovation Projects National Competition prize given to the Daniel Alcides Carrión (DAC) Educational Institution (EI) storytelling project. On their initiative, EI. DAC bought musical instruments with their prize money and their Students composed and performed two El Niño folksongs using their storytelling data: ‘El fenómeno del niño y sus beneficios’ re-telling El Niño benefits in farming, fishing, and livestock. “En mi pueblo querido” specifies crops and activities, and ends with the words: “men and women fight and struggle for their pueblo for a better future and to leave poverty behind.

These voices are normally excluded from ‘disaster’ narratives about El Niño, and yet have the potential to communicate a complex and culturally-nuanced understanding of climate change adaptation through music. Sharing this music more widely with other young people, experiencing similar and different climate challenges, contributes to empowering the next generation of development actors to take action to combat climate change and its impacts, benefiting them and their communities longer term.

Project Aim

To widen and deepen the impact of El Niño storytelling on cultural understanding about climate change in fragile environments via cultural exchange

Project Objectives


Sechura desert, Peru: Sharing the IE DAC storytelling-into-music-making with Bernal District, Sechura. The exchange takes advantage of Bernal’s vibrant musical heritage to engage new students and stakeholders via performances and peer internships. 


Virtual Scotland-Perumusic exchange: Connecting the Sechura El Niño music making to the University of St Andrews’ Laidlaw Music Centre outreach programme (St Andrews Music Participation – StAMP) where children learn how to sing and develop musical and ensemble skills in a supportive environment.