About this project
Thank you for watching and checking out my project!
I’m currently finishing up my third album, Gracia, which is by far my proudest project yet. For those of you familiar with my work, Gracia, is significantly different from my previous two albums, and is also very different from other contemporary Ladino albums out there. Why? Because half the album is original music I’ve written, in Ladino.
Very few contemporary artists are writing their own albums in Ladino today. And as you can see from my video, sadly very few people even know what Ladino is! My mantra is that “Ladino Rocks.” Ladino is not a dead language at all; it is a living, breathing, beautiful language seeped in centuries of rich heritage and culture. By writing new songs in Ladino that will hopefully reach a mainstream audience, I am doing my part to ensure that Ladino does not just get preserved from days of old, but continues to develop and grow today. Your support will allow this to happen.
The album’s title, “Gracia,” has several deep meanings for me, thanks being one of them. The title itself pays homage to one of my heroes, Dona Gracia Mendes, a 15-century Sephardic woman who saved hundreds from the Spanish Inquisition. She is truly the main inspiration for me for this album—I admire her courage, commitment to preserving culture, and her savvy use of feminism along the way.
To realize my vision for this album, I’ve joined forces with the incredible music producer and composer, Shai Bachar, who has worked with artists as varied as Ishtar Alabina, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Sheila Jordan and Dudu Fisher, and has produced a platinum-record for Israeli superstar Ronit Shachar, wrote the original music for the Israeli Academy of Film best documentary film, Souvenirs (2007), and has scored countless commercials, PBS specials, and movies both in the US and in Israel.
Together with Shai, the songs on Gracia (both the original ones and a few radically reinterpreted classic tunes as well), are a mix of feminist, experimental, raw, rock-beat, energetic, empowering, electronic, retro-chic, Mediterranean-infused and fine-crafted, detailed sounds. The album includes some of the finest musicians in New York, Israel, Morocco, Uruguay, Spain, Colombia, Russia and more. I’m also featuring some guest voices and artists such as the incomparable Vanessa Hidary (the Hebrew Mamita), Amos Hoffman and Amir Bresler (Avishai Cohen band), Roni Ivrin and Mark Kakon (Idan Raichel Band), Nir Graf (Noa, Rita, Shalom Hanoch), Oz Noy (Cyndi Lauper, Phoebe Snow, Bill Evans), Samuel Torres (Lila Downs, Arturo Sandoval) and even a cameo by feminist icon, Gloria Steinem.
In order to make this project come to fruition (with a goal to release it in spring 2012), I need to raise $12,000 in the next 60 days. This is actually only a quarter of what I need to ensure the quality that this album deserves. Between studio rentals in Tel Aviv and New York, world-class musicians (including a 16-piece string orchestra!) mixing and mastering, this is what it takes to create a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) album in today’s music world. As the music industry changes, independent artists like myself can no longer turn to record labels to help put forth our music. We are left to self-fund, record, market and distribute our music all on our own.
So that's where Kickstarter comes in. It’s basic crowd-funding: give your pledge now, and you will only get charged in 60 days if the complete amount I’m requesting gets raised. If I don’t raise the full amount in time, you don’t get charged (and the album doesn’t get released). And I don’t have to stop at $12,000. That’s just my minimum goal to get the CD through mixing and mastering. But there’s still a long way to go to get the CD packaged and into your hands. I can always raise more (and in fact, need to…), so just because you think I’m nearing my goal, please don’t let that stop you from being a part. Plus there are rewards for everyone who contributes, at any level!
I’ve already come so far. You, my friends and fans, have the power to ensure that this music gets out into the music marketplace. I believe so strongly not only in this album (which is by far my best musical expression and product yet), but also in the importance and power of preserving cultural treasures, like Ladino, in new ways that will challenge and inspire.
Thank you, or in Ladino, munchas gracias, for taking the time to read and watch. And thank you many times over if you contribute even a tiny bit…all of it will make a difference!
P.S. Please feel free to share this Kickstarter page and video far and wide! I’ll be launching a new website in the next 60 days, and you can also find updates (including sound-clips!) in the "updates" tab above, on my Facebook Page and on my Twitter.
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