Eric van AroAmazon Aid Foundation Artists for the Amazon program is excited to welcome Eric van Aro, a jazz musician, who believes music can tell the story and expose people to culture and ideas. An 8th generation musician, Eric at an early age that ideals can be shared through music. We spoke with Eric about jazz as the ultimate teacher.

How did you first become inspired by the Amazon?
Being the 8th generation in music of my family, musicians have been my parents, uncles, grandparents and I grew up talking, listening and discussing with them. Once old enough, I also started to listen to musicians outside my family, the ones I bought the records of… and they have strong opinions about the environment. That got me interested in the importance of the Amazon in regard to the environmental issues that are before us.

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How do you approach your work? Do you hear the music in your head or do you jam and create as you go? Combination of the too?
Both ways, it depends very much on the project I’m working on. But music is the lead character, it is what touches me most.

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What drew you to jazz?
Jazz is the ultimate music experience and the teacher! I don’t consider myself to be a jazz artist, just someone who makes music who is influenced by jazz. There are some jazz musicians in my family; obviously something must have rubbed off.

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Have you ever been to the Amazon? If so, how did it change your POV as an artist? If not, what draws you to it despite never having been there?
Although I have never been to the Amazon…nonetheless it is clear it is the heart of our planet. And humans are killing it. About 30 years ago I was unfortunate enough to have been to a dinner party where the host (a Banker) and some of his guests were openly discussing how to best exploit the Amazon. Well aware of my presence, they talked about how musicians and artists who were trying to speak out about environmental issues needed to be silenced. Since then, I have only been louder. That’s why I am happy to be in the company of Artists for The Amazon.