Part I: Geoscience themed songs from around the world

By Natasha Sekhon, PhD Candidate

Art through music and film-making is an integral part of everyone’s daily life. Multiple studies (Ilari et al., 2013; Marsh, 2009) have explored the importance music plays in human existence from educative songs taught to children or exploring different cultures through the lens of music.

Geosciences is no exception to inspiring creative artists! Many movies and songs are centred around geosciences concepts. There are only a handful movies that accurately depict geoscientists, but that’s for another blog post!

The wide-ranging branches of geosciences have motivated numerous songs by an international crossing cultures and languages. I recently had a show at KVRX, 91.7 FM where I played a lot of these tracks. You’d be surprised to learn how many fantastic songs revolve around Geosciences:




1) Cosmo Sheldrake –

Pliocene and Axolotl –

The Much Much How How and I




Cosmo Sheldrake’s a brilliant multi-instrumentalist who uses the soundscape around him to create songs. Pliocene and Axolotl are examples of two songs using geoscience motifs from his debut album. Pliocene talks about extinctions and the cycle of evolution. Axolotl, as the name suggests, is a reference to salamanders. Austinites are well aware of the important role the Austin Blind Salamander (endangered species) has on the Barton Spring ecosystem.



2)Until the Ribbon Breaks –

Petrichor –

Until the Ribbon Breaks





Petrichor is the earthy scent that is produced when first rain falls on dry and warm soils. Two Australian soil scientists who published a 1964 Nature paper, ‘Nature of Agrillaceuos Odor’ coined the term which began the scientific study of Petrichor. Until The Ribbon Breaks’ song is just an example of many that are inspired the first rain’s aroma. Keaton Henson and Ludovico Einaudi are other examples.



3) Rivage (Shore) – Swing – Marabout / Juniore – A la plage (To the beach) – Juniore/  Therapie Taxi – Transatlantique (Trans-Atlantic) – Hit Sale

French singers, Swing, Juniore, and Therapie TAXI are great examples of French songs influenced by geosciences. The three songs detail geomorphological concepts of the shore lines and beaches. Furthermore, the songs could not be more different in genre covering hip-hop, alt-rock, and pop.



4) D. Dumbo – Tropical Oceans – D.D. Dumbo/ Thomas Azier – Sandglass – Rogue/ Johnny Flynn – Murmuration – Live at the Roundhouse

D.D. Dumbo, Australian-based electrical loop genius, sings about Earth’s future. Dark lyrics camouflaged within an upbeat indie-pop song. A Dutch electro-pop singer now based in Germany, Thomas Azier conjures up images of deserts and mirages in his song Sandglass. Johnny Flynn, British South-African folk musician, brings a song about the flocking behavior of birds (murmuration). Interestingly, a lot of active research is being conducted into the reason behind murmuration using citizen science.


5) Delafé y las Flores Azules – Mar el poder del mar – Estonosepara /El Buho – Tecolotin – Cenotes

Mar el poder del mar translates to ‘power of the sea’ and is sung by Delafé y las Flores Azules, a Barcelona-based Spanish band that talks about as the name suggests the power of the sea. Tecolotin from the album Cenotes is by El Buho, an English artist inspired by the sounds of the forests in Latin America. This is obvious by the title of album, Cenotes, which is the Spanish word for sinkholes.


Notable Mentions – Holocene by Bon Iver; The Rip Tide by Beirut; Tremors by SOHN


We’ve created a playlist on Spotify for fellow peers to enjoy and explore songs mentioned in the series.