In 1977, Nasa launched two spacecrafts called Voyager in space with two gold discs playing sounds and songs uninterruptedly and featuring the cultural, natural and industrial diversity of planet Earth – from Chuck Berry to Bach, from industrial machines to volcanic eruptions.
The Golden Record project was led by American astrophysicist Carl Sagan and meant an optimistic attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life – or with anyone who had contact with the records. The two spacecraft will never return to Earth and are therefore called the “Grand Tour” – an eternal interchange.
Almost 40 years later, the recordings called “To the makers of music – all worlds, all times” follow their search for interstellar contact. Last year, BBC Radio compiled some of the sounds in a one-hour digital playlist.
The album To the makers of music is a “chance to imagine yourself as an alien in a distant galaxy that finds a spaceship in your garden. Somehow, you become adept at following the instructions on the side of the record, and hopefully your auditory sense and planetary atmosphere will allow you to hear what’s in it, “says an excerpt from the BBC’s text.
NASA keeps live information about the spacecraft’s displacement on its website: Voyager 1 is 21 billion kilometers from Earth, while Voyager 2 is closer: 15 billion kilometers. This means that if a light is lit on Earth to illuminate the two ships, the first one would only be struck 19 hours later, while the second would take 16 hours to illuminate. According to the US agency, the two are the fastest and most distant spacecraft the Earth has ever placed in space.
Last year, on the 40th anniversary of the launch of the two Voyager, NASA said Voyager 1 was the only spacecraft to enter interstellar space in history, and that Voyager 2 was the only one to be able to fly in the orbits of the four planets “Giants”: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. There is also a video on the agency’s YouTube channel with some photos and sounds that the two expeditions have already sent to Earth since then.
The songs begin with an introduction by former United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim that same year. “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, an organization of 147 member states representing nearly all of human life on planet Earth, I send greetings on behalf of the people of our planet,” he says.
“We come out of our solar system into the universe looking only for peace and friendship – to teach if we are called to such, to learn if we are fortunate. We know well that our planet and all our inhabitants are a small part of this immense universe that surrounds us, and it is with our humility and hope that we take this step. ”
The discs also carry human greetings in 55 different languages, with a mix of songs and field recordings spanning all corners of the world, including blues pioneer “Blind” Willie Johnson, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, Australian Aboriginal Sounds and airplanes.
\In addition to the audios, the Voyagers carry 118 photographs and, according to NASA, the “brain waves of a young woman in love.” The project “Golden Record” wanted to include the song “Here Comes the Sun” of the Beatles, and was even authorized by the band itself, but had access to the material denied by the record company owner of the song rights.
On Voyager’s “Music From Earth” page on the Nasa site, there is a list of the 27 songs that were sent on the discs.
Check it out:
- “Greeting from Kurt Waldheim, Secretary-General of the United Nations” 0:44
- “Greetings in 55 Languages” (by Various Artists) 3:46
- “United Nations Greetings/Whale Songs” (by Various Artists) 4:04
- “The Sounds of Earth” (by Various Artists) 12:19
- “Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047: I. Allegro (Johann Sebastian Bach)” (by Munich Bach Orchestra/Karl Richter) 4:44
- “Ketawang: Puspåwårnå (Kinds of Flowers)” (by Pura Paku Alaman Palace Orchestra/K.R.T. Wasitodipuro) 4:47
- “Cengunmé” (by Mahi musicians of Benin) 2:11
- “Alima Song” (by Mbuti of the Ituri Rainforest) 1:01
- “Barnumbirr (Morning Star) and Moikoi Song” (by Tom Djawa, Mudpo, and Waliparu) 1:29
- “El Cascabel (Lorenzo Barcelata)” (by Antonio Maciel and Los Aguilillas with Mariachi México de Pepe Villa/Rafael Carrión) 3:20
- “Johnny B. Goode” (by Chuck Berry) 2:41
- “Mariuamangɨ” (by Pranis Pandang and Kumbui of the Nyaura Clan) 1:25
- “Sokaku-Reibo (Depicting the Cranes in Their Nest)” (by Goro Yamaguchi) 5:04
- “Partita for Violin Solo No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: III. Gavotte en Rondeau (Johann Sebastian Bach)” (by Arthur Grumiaux) 2:58
- “The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte), K. 620, Act II: Hell’s Vengeance Boils in My Heart (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)” (by Bavarian State Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Wolfgang Sawallisch) 3:00
- “Chakrulo” (by Georgian State Merited Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance/Anzor Kavsadze) 2:21
- “Roncadoras and Drums” (by Musicians from Ancash) 0:55
- “Melancholy Blues (Marty Bloom/Walter Melrose)” (by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven) 3:06
- “Muğam” (by Kamil Jalilov) 2:35
- “The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps), Part II—The Sacrifice: VI. Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One) (Igor Stravinsky)” (by Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Igor Stravinsky) 4:38
- “The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II: Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870 (Johann Sebastian Bach)” (by Glenn Gould) 4:51
- “Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Opus 67: I. Allegro Con Brio (Ludwig van Beethoven)” (by Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer) 8:49
- “Izlel e Delyu Haydutin” (by Valya Balkanska) 5:04
- “Navajo Night Chant, Yeibichai Dance” (Ambrose Roan Horse, Chester Roan, and Tom Roan) 1:01
- “The Fairie Round (Anthony Holborne)” (by Early Music Consort of London/David Munrow) 1:19
- “Naranaratana Kookokoo (The Cry of the Megapode Bird)” (by Maniasinimae and Taumaetarau Chieftain Tribe of Oloha and Palasu’u Village Community) 1:15
- “Wedding Song” (by Young girl of Huancavelica) 0:42
- “Liu Shui (Flowing Streams)” (by Guan Pinghu) 7:36
- “Bhairavi: Jaat Kahan Ho” (by Kesarbai Kerkar) 3:34
- “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” (by Blind Willie Johnson) 3:32
- “String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Opus 130: V. Cavatina (Ludwig van Beethoven)” (by Budapest String Quartet)
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