Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 4, 2011.

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An official vinyl release of "Music from Saharan Cellphones", a compilation of music collected from memory cards in the Saharan desert.

Music from Saharan cellphones is a compilation of music collected from memory cards of cellular phones in the Saharan desert. And it's coming to vinyl.

In much of West Africa, cellphones are are used as all purpose multimedia devices. In lieu of personal computers and high speed internet, the knockoff cellphones house portable music collections, playback songs on tinny built in speakers, and swap files in a very literal peer to peer Bluetooth wireless transfer.

The songs chosen for the compilation were some of the highlights -- music that is immensely popular on the unofficial mp3/cellphone network from Abidjan to Bamako to Algiers, but have limited or no commercial release. They're also songs that tend towards this new world of self production -- Fruityloops, home studios, synthesizers, and Autotune.

In 2010, returning to the states, I released a handful of cassettes. Many of the songs were unlabeled, giving no insight to their mysterious origins. But in the past year I sent out hundreds of emails and calls across six different countries and even returned to West Africa. I've tracked down enough artists and I've got their approval to collaborate on a commercial release.

The cassette was ripped onto the internet and has circulated around the world, featured in the The Guardian, BBC Worldservice, The Fader, Pitchfork, as well as a number of other blogs, but has never had an official release. The vinyl release is a chance for the artists in the compilation to get paid and be properly credited. The record will be accompanied by liner notes with a short bio of each musician and group -- artists from Ivory Coast, Mali, Algeria, and Niger.

The funding makes this release possible -- covering a portion of production costs, mastering, distribution, and payment for the artists.

for more info see:

Music from Saharan Cellphones: Vol 1

Music from Saharan Cellphones: Vol 2

FAQ

  • The $4000 is kind of a modest goal -- because full production cost, including artist licensing is around $8000. The idea is to pre-order as much as possible, at a cost that's equal, if not lower than what it will cost at retail price.

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  • The record should be completed by the end of October/beginning of November -- I'll keep updates on the progress.

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    Digital download of the "Music from Saharan Cellphones" official release w/ liner notes.

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    Cassette version of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" + Digital Download (+$10 for international shipping)

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    189 backers

    Vinyl LP of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" + Digital Download (+$10 for international shipping)

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    Vinyl LP of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" + Cassette + Digital Download (+$10 for international shipping)

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    Vinyl LP of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" + Cassette + Digital Download + Glossy 8x10 of one of musicians from compilation (+$10 for international shipping)

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    Vinyl LP of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" + Cassette + Digital Download + Glossy 8x10s of all the musicians (+$10 for international shipping)

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    A custom, made to order, mix tape made from previously unreleased mp3s from the cellphone archives + All of the above (+$10 for international shipping)

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    Original handpainted reproduction of the cover of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" by West African sign painter, Thiam Bellou + All the above (+$10 for international shipping)

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    I'll come anywhere in the continental US and DJ a party for you with sounds from the archives of mp3s collected from cellphones + All the above

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- (40 days)