Ben Eichenberg, Staff Attorney
While you're out there picking up trash from along the Bay shoreline, what could be better than listening to Steven Tyler scream "I LOVE IT BECAUSE IT'S TRASH!" I really get into cleanups; I love to see the kind of stuff lying around, the things that people reject from their lives. Sure, it can be gross, but this song helps me get into the spirit: "anything dirty or dusty or dingy!" On the other side of the spectrum, Joni Mitchell is both rockin' and makes activist music at its best. Once the lyrics get into your head, you'll be singing them throughout the whole cleanup: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone -- They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
Jon Rosenfield, Senior Scientist
I'm making the best of this time by taking guitar lessons again, for the first time since I was a teenager. Back then, Peter Gabriel's song Here Comes the Flood was a metaphor and a warning—now it seems more like the nightly news. Regardless, I find it strangely calming to play because it reminds me of the power of water to reveal hidden truths. But when I want to fill my mind with upbeat water vibes, there's nothing better than Cassandra Wilson singing Courtney Pine's I've Known Rivers, a joy-fueled musical arrangement of the Langston Hughes poem.
Léa Pfeffer, Development Associate
The summer of 2014 was my last summer working on the water in Clearlake before going abroad to finish my studies. There is something unbelievably therapeutic about being on the water and seeing nothing but miles and miles of water all around you. We played Zedd's song Lost at Sea on repeat that summer. When I was away for school, I would listen to this song and it would always bring me back to that experience of driving boats, kids laughing, water splashing all around us, and the California sunshine.
Mark Westlund, Communications Director
Long before San Francisco had the famous Automatic Human Jukebox performing on the streets of Fishermans' Wharf, there was one-man band Jesse Fuller. His 1955 classic San Francisco Bay Blues is one of the best songs ever written about the Bay—with all due respect to Otis Redding and Steve Cropper—which has been covered by all sorts of mostly unknown songsters including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Richie Havens, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, and many such others. You can choose your favorite, but I still like Fuller's original. However, when I want to get in touch with the spirit of the waters, I slip into Homenaje a Yemaya, a prayer to the Yoruba goddess of the ocean and mother of all living things—here's an offering by the legendary Celia Cruz.
Cole Burchiel, Field Investigator
I'm lucky because my job running Baykeeper's boat patrols takes me out on the Bay in all types of weather, at all times of the day and night. I feel very strongly that the Bay possesses distinct personalities depending on the weather, so much so that any single place or neighborhood will feel like an entirely different world from one day to the next, and there are songs that evoke each place and time. With just navigating under the Bay Bridge in mind, I think about Quantic's Creation on sunny days, Arthur Russell's Answer Me when it's foggy, We Are the Sun at sunrise, Fastasma Vega at night—and on rainy days, my personal favorite, it's Mulatu Astatke's moody Ethopian jazz classic, Tezeta.
Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Executive Director
Back in 1998, I left my home in Georgia and headed for the Frisco Bay. So Otis Redding’s classic, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, has always held a special place in my heart. That fondness grew even stronger when the beloved Waterkeeper Alliance band, The Notorious Outfalls, dedicated a raucous rendition to me when I became the first female San Francisco Baykeeper many years ago. And when I’m in a feistier mood, I love feeling inspired by my friend and talented local musician, activist, and UCSF physician, Rupa Marya. One of Rupa and The April Fishes' newer songs, Frontline, perfectly captures my mood when Baykeeper stands up to protect the Bay against a big corporate polluter: “You better recognize who we are. We are the ones who are rising with the water…standing strong everywhere on the frontline.” Pumps me up every time!