The Minnesota Zoo commissioned the Okee Dokee Brothers to write a song about wildlife conservation, which will be released on March 16 and debuted publicly at a Zoo concert on March 18. All song download sales will benefit the Zoo's conservation efforts.
The lyrics of this song, "Countin' on Me," poetically communicate our shared responsibility to help save wildlife, and reference three species native to Minnesota that the Minnesota Zoo has restored or is working to restore in the wild – bison, butterflies and trumpeter swans.
The commission developed from a collaboration between the Minnesota Zoo and the Okee Dokee Brothers, who share a passion for nature and a mission to encourage kids and families to explore the natural world. These common values are at the heart of their collaboration, which began in July 2015 with the opening of a nature play area and continued with several special appearances at the Minnesota Zoo by bandleaders Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander.
As kids in Colorado, Justin and Joe grew up together exploring nearby creeks, trails, woods and rivers. Twenty years later as the Okee Dokee Brothers, they are still roaming the outdoors together, but with a mission and a couple of guitars in their packs. Now based in Minneapolis, the Grammy Award-winning folk singer-songwriters are advocates for adventure.
"After spending some time with the Zoo's conservationists, we noticed they were big on counting. When working with endangered species, it comes down to keeping track of little numbers and weighing probabilities. That's where we came up with the verse idea - We're counting them, I wonder if they're counting on us too,” said The Okee Dokee Brothers. “The chorus, and emotional center of the song, came from a conversation we had with one Zoo staffer. He said something along the lines of, ‘This work really focuses on small details, but the message inside those details couldn't be bigger - SOS!’ When we heard that, we knew it was the chorus."
The single will be available for purchase on iTunes beginning on Thursday, March 16. All proceeds from the purchase of the single will support the Minnesota Zoo and its wildlife conservation efforts.
Justin and Joe will debut the single live at the Zoo during a special animal encounter on Saturday, March 18. Their appearance is free with Zoo admission, but due to space limitations, RSVPs are required. Learn more at www.mnzoo.org/okeedokeebrothers.