The new proverb says “all roads lead to Kickstarter,” and I’ve joined the fray in this latest push — to bring “Music from Saharan Cellphones” to a vinyl.
In a rather ironic twist the musicians whose sounds were found on communication devices are incredibly difficult to locate. Google search algorithms notwithstanding, the network of cellphones and music trading and even communication exists fiercely independent of the global internet network. The project has been an exercise in Sisyphean patience, flinging messages out in bottles every few months or so: Facebook queries to whomever lives in the composer’s city, Skype out calls to numbers in blurry CD scans across six or seven countries, Youtube comments on every video containing a fragment of a song, and finally a few face to face meetings in Bamako with a handful of Mali’s stars (I regrettably had to give up on Cheba Wasila when every phone number for her studio listed seemed to be answered by confused Moroccan grandmothers).
But enough of the past. I’ve got a crew of artists and their songs together, and we’re making a record. The vinyl will be an amalgam of the first two cassette volumes, remastered, accompanied by liner notes with a short bio of all the artists. It’s an initial run of 2,000 copies — also to be available on bandcamp. The kickstarter is clear and simple — pre-orders of the vinyl available at $15 shipping included, to be wrapping up around end of October. Inchallah.