I will spend one year in Seville, Spain, the epicenter of flamenco, composing and recording new music. Backers will enjoy my new music in the form of:
1. Sueños Gitanos's Second Album -- to be composed and recorded in Spain, completed and released in Richmond, August 2014. I will write all the songs on this album and record them with flamenco musicians I meet in Spain.
2. Flamenco Journal -- a year-long audio account of my flamenco journey. I will create three to ten solo guitar recordings per month from October 2013 through June 2014. The recordings will be both sketches of music that inspire me and sounds that I create. I will make them available to backers in the form of audio downloads. While I may arrange some of these journal entries into tunes on my album, most of the tracks will be available exclusively in this journal.
3. Private, backers-only concert in Richmond, VA, August 2014 -- to feature music that I created during my time in Spain. Exact date and location to be determined once I know what size audience to expect. I will send you a thank you postcard from Spain that will serve as your admission ticket to this concert.
Because these three central rewards will not be completed until over a year from now, I have included some extra rewards to help backers wait. These include: downloads from Sueños Gitanos's first album (already recorded), skype lessons during my year in Spain (for guitar students), and personalized arrangements of pop tunes. For backers who pledge above and beyond, I am offering private performances (Summers 2013 and 2014) and public concerts (Summer 2014). Thank you all so much for your support!
More about flamenco and my music:
I fell in love with flamenco in early 2006, when my first classical guitar teacher showed me falsetas of Solea. I heard his guitar growl, laugh, taunt and tease with rhythmic complexity, and mourn with primitive simplicity. I discovered music that withholds and fulfills, soars with an aggressive joy, and laments with raw sorrow. The combination of harshness and beauty paralyzed me. My ears opened to rhythms, tones, and colors I had never known existed, yet that instantly resonated with my soul. Seven years later (which have included one classical guitar degree, three Richmond VA flamenco/world music ensembles, three VCU Flamenco Festivals, two albums, countless performances, and tons of flamenco yearning), it is time for me to delve into the flamenco world first-hand.
My goals for next year are two-fold. First, I want to create new music that both my backers and I will love listening to. As described in detail above, the new music will be available in the forms of Sueños Gitanos's Second Album, my year-long flamenco journal, and a public concert in Richmond VA, August 2014. Second, I want to accompany singers and dancers. Cante (flamenco singing) is the center of the flamenco universe. Guitarists and dancers alike have utmost respect for the beautifully harsh and commanding flamenco song. They mold their art to support and uplift the cante.Similarly, no guitarist can really call herself a true flamenco guitarist if she cannot accompany the passionate and intricate rhythms of flamenco dancers. There is no better place to learn to accompany singers and dancers than Andalucia, Spain, the heart of flamenco music. While the album I produce in Summer 2014 may not include flamenco singing or dance, the skills and insight I gain from accompanying will elevate the music that I produce.
I am thrilled to finally begin this project and to turn my flamenco dreams into reality. Having an entire year to dedicate to flamenco and to composing will be both an exciting creative journey and a crucial necessity to my career. I will do great things with your backing, both during this next year and for the rest of my musical life. Thank you so much for your interest and support!
Here are some samples music I have created, performed, and/or recorded during the past several years in Richmond VA:
"Cosmic Accidents (Bulerias)" with guitar and percussion (CJ Alicea)
"Iorek (Solea)" for two guitars (performed and recorded with Denver Walker)
"Entanglement (Rumba)" with Sueños Gitanos (my RVA flamenco-inspired ensemble with jazz and classical guitar influences)
"San Salvador (Guajira)" with Sueños Gitanos
"Parallels (Rondeña)" solo guitar (this is the full version of the song playing in the background of my video)
Performance of "Farruca" at VCU's first flamenco festival
Performance of "Zambra" at VCU guitar ensemble concert
Photos of my RVA ensembles and performances:
Excerpt from Style Weekly's 4/23 Article on Kickstarter Projects by RVA Musicians: "For Leah Kruszewski, the hope is that through Kickstarter she'll be able to reach her goal of going to Spain to further study flamenco guitar and record an album. Co-founder of local flamenco group Sueños Gitanos, Kruszewski wants to spend a year in Seville learning and composing the music act's second album. Kruszewski has always wanted to travel to Spain to learn the music style, and says she was inspired by a friend using Kickstarter for a music project last year." Read full article here.
Risks and challenges
Spanish Language. My spanish skills are still elementary, but I intend to begin my year in Seville with a two month intensive language course in August and September. I have saved up money to pay for this course myself (l will use Kickstarter funds for my music goals only). It takes more than a couple months to became fluent in foreign language, but I am good with languages and am confident I can learn enough in two months to start my year with a solid foundation.
Visa. Taking classes at the Fundacion Cristina Heeren, a respected flamenco school in Seville, will enable me to obtain a student visa.
Finances. I have planned out my budget for the year to the best of my ability. Parts of my budget, especially living expenses, I have estimated low in order to make sure my funding goal is achievable. However, backers can be assured that I will keep all funds for producing rewards (recording expenses, costs for time and travel for performing, and accompaniment expenses) very separate other expenses. If unforeseen expenses cause me to need more for travel or living expenses, I have a small savings cushion that I can dip into. I will NOT sacrifice quality or timing of backer rewards for any minor budget issues. I will produce the very best album I possibly can and give the best performances I can give in summers 2013 and 2014.
Here is where backers' money will go:
1. Travel Expenses. I will make two round-trips from Richmond VA to Seville, Spain, as I will return to Richmond for VCU's Flamenco Festival IV, Nov 1-3 2013.
2. Partial tuition at the Fundacion Cristina Heeren. Taking classes at this respected institution will help me connect with local musicians and dancers, give me some formal instruction in flamenco guitar, and help me get a student visa.
3. Living expenses (partial/low estimate). I will supplement with a small savings cushion if necessary.
4. Expenses for time and travel in preparing and executing performances in Summers 2013 and 2014.
5. Recording and production costs for Summer 2014 (studio time for recording, payment for musicians, mixing and mastering, printing Sueños Gitanos' second album).
+ $1,500 Kickstarter fees (5%) and Amazon Payment Fees (3-5%)
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