Thanks to all our supporters! With your support, we are getting close to our minimum goal in order to have the project successfully funded. With less than a week left, we still have a ways to go, so if you haven't pledged yet please consider doing so. If you have pledged, please spread the word to your friends!
Hi, and thanks for taking the time to check out Nashaz's Kickstarter page. We're trying to raise money to record and release our debut album. We're excited to be working on this recording, and we hope that you want to be a part of making it happen.
Nashaz is the culmination of Brian Prunka's nearly 15 year odyssey exploring the oud and Arabic music, and a much longer period of time playing jazz, bringing them together with jazz and finding common threads in a personal and organic way. Together with fellow members Nathan Herrera and Kenny Warren, we have arrived at an original and hopefully meaningful new music.
We have a great group of musicians, who are bringing their own background and experience to the music, including experience with jazz, Indian, Balkan, Greek music, and more. I think we have something pretty special happening, and I hope you agree.
After working on this new sound for the past couple of years, we feel that it is time to record this music so that we can share it with a wider audience. With your help, we can make that happen.
Recording, mixing and releasing an album costs a lot of money. Our estimated budget for this record is $5000. Like all Kickstarter campaigns, no money changes hands unless the project is fully funded--if we don't get to our goal then you keep your contribution. If we meet our goal, we make the record and you get your rewards (note that this is the preferred outcome). Since a project that doesn't meet its funding goal doesn't get funded at all, this encourages fairly conservative amounts for project goals—essentially the goal is the minimum amount needed to actually make the album happen and fulfill all the rewards. But that doesn't mean that more money wouldn't be put to good use.
Some examples of things that need funding above and beyond our basic goal:
• Registering the band's name as a trademark—Federal filing fees are $650, plus attorney's fees (estimated about $900-1200)
• Publicity/promotion for the album—getting reviews in magazines and online, advertising, sending copies to radio stations, etc., promoting the band for gigging and touring.
• Photography/Video—professional photo and video has become an essential requirement for today's musicians. Fan videos and photos are nice, but as you can see from the examples here, they aren't the best representation of what we have to offer.
• A support fund for touring outside NY city. Aside from standard expenses that are generally not covered by gigs (gas, transportation, lodging, promotion, etc.) there are always emergency expenses that can surprise you when traveling.
We've tried to come up with a bunch of fun rewards to thank everyone who participates, but if you think of something else feel free to contact us with your ideas! You can contribute as little or as much as you like, everything helps.
Thanks again for reading about our project!
Band photograph by Ross Day
Bio photograph by Michael Dominici
The seeds of the band were sown around 1995 when founder/oud player Brian Prunka was an upstart jazz musician in New Orleans. Catching a cab to a gig one night, the Egyptian driver noticed the guitar and they started talking about music. As he dropped Brian off in the French Quarter, he suggested, "you should learn to play the oud, it is the most beautiful instrument."
Although the comment prompted little more than puzzlement at the time, it turned out to be a prophecy of sorts: soon after, Prunka came across an oud album while digging through a record store and bought it on a whim. When he put the music on, he was hooked. He learned as much of the music as he could on the guitar and then started trying to get his hands on an oud--which was not easy in New Orleans (the internet then was not what it is now). After months of searching, he finally found someone who could ship him one. Within weeks of receiving it, he had obsessively taught himself dozens of tunes and started performing on oud with some of the more open-eared jazz musicians in the city.
He later traveled to study with renowned Arab musicians including Simon Shaheen and Bassam Saba and eventually wound up in Brooklyn, where he established a group, The Near East River Ensemble, which combined traditional Arab instruments with modern jazz-influenced compositions. He also played with a variety of musicians and groups, including Simon Shaheen's Qantara, Michael Bates's Outside Sources, Ravish Momin's Trio Tarana. When he met Kenny Warren and Nathan Herrera, they wanted to form a group that would emphasize the interplay and improvisation of jazz while retaining the melodic and rhythmic feeling of Arabic music—this group is Nashaz.
The band's name, "Nashaz", is a tongue-in-cheek joke, playing on the non-traditional nature of the music. "Nashaz" in Arabic mean "out of tune" or "unmusical", or otherwise aesthetically unpleasant music. In a bit of preemptive self-deprecating humor, the band anticipates a mixed reaction from purists (from both the traditional jazz and Arabic music worlds).
The core lineup is Brian Prunka on oud, Kenny Warren on trumpet/flugelhorn, and Nathan Herrera on saxophone and woodwinds. Apostolos Sideris is the main bassist and George Melikishvili (George Mel) and Vin Scialla are the percussionists. As the band evolves, we plan to invite guests to occasionally add their talents for special events.
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