Street Muse Southeast Asia
Three new Street Muse chapters exploring musical ecology and culture in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam with musician and performer Gull.
S T R E E T M U S E S O U T H E A S T A S I A
The Street Muse documentary project is a vehicle for direct cultural exchange. Personal engagement with a diversity of people and places creates opportunities for mutually rewarding insights and understanding.
With your support we had the privilege to share our experience of this in Kenya with you. With your help now, we'd like to take you with us on another musical, cultural, and environmental journey to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Many do not have the opportunity to travel, and together we will make something that others can enjoy while learning more about the people and places of this planet we all inhabit together. With Street Muse, we will contribute to a wider understanding of our global community by celebrating our so-called differences.
As the solo music and performance project Gull, Nathaniel Rappole has traveled extensively and shared his work in the venues, streets, and wilds of North America, Central America, and East Africa.
Through these experiences, Nate has earned a unique view of human culture, one that takes time to notice how the sounds of a particular style of music are shaped by its place of birth.
He calls this pursuit “musical ecology,” the study of how local landscape and environment can influence people to make certain sounds.
In 2012, he and a small team raised $10,000 through Kickstarter to go on an improvisational exploration of Kenya, where he performed his music out in the open. This public offering sparked a local response — conversations and collaborations ignited.
After engaging with people throughout the country, Nate and his team created an intimate, personal representation of Kenya, its people, and its culture through the lenses of film and music.
Nate will be collaborating on this project with a couple of film makers, guides, and translators — all who are putting aside their normal activities to help see this project continue its mission of showing what it means to be human.
For this current campaign, we are raising support to further explore the nuances of musical ecology by traveling to Southeast Asia: Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
With one volume of this project complete, we are approaching this chapter with earned experience and redefined curiosity. We want to take a focused look at contemporary, urban music scenes while also diving into the traditions and geography that inspire their instruments, tones, and rhythms.
Rather than create a feature film, as we did with Street Muse Kenya, our plan is to create 3 episodes, each about 20 minutes long.
We want to know more about the phin, an electrified guitar-style instrument used in Thailand; the khan, an oftentimes bamboo mouth organ known to Laos and Thailand; and the hybrid traditional/rock music scenes of Vietnam.
Where do these sounds come from? Why here? In what ways have these traditions been upheld, transformed, or discarded?
We are planning to fly out for a five- to six-week journey in Spring 2019.
In Vietnam, we’ll explore a diverse music culture that often merges several traditions, including Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, and Japanese influences.
Pop music culture in Vietnam has taken some cues from popular music in western culture, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
We hear there are also distinctly American influences to their music, given the music brought over by U.S. soldiers. How have those aesthetics intersected with the local styles?
Located in between China and India, Laos and Thailand share similar musical stylings and instruments. Given their geography, these countries have been frequented on trade routes from Africa, Italy, Greece, and others. Modern music has flooded in from all over the world, forever changing the palate of their musical tastes.
Street Muse would not be possible without your support. While we raised $10,000 for the last project, overall costs swelled to over $20,000. Lesson learned, we are aiming to raise at least $25,000 up front.
As it was during the production, post-production, and release of Street Muse Kenya, we know that unknown circumstances always arise, and so anything over the target amount will simply go back in to making this project as dynamic, efficient, and substantive as possible.
The funding you provide will support:
- Camera and audio equipment and support, including insurance
- Crew stipends and per diem expenses (food, lodging)
- Travel expenses (including airfare, visas, travel within Asia)
- The editing and distribution of the final project video and audio recordings
Be sure to check out Street Muse Kenya, to give yourself a better idea of what we are doing.
Please share this page with friends, family, and colleagues.
We appreciate the support. Couldn’t do it without you.
Risks and challenges
Clarity of purpose and an improvisatory approach are how we intend to work through the difficulties that we will inevitably face during production. While we are working with knowledgeable local co-producers to plan our itinerary, our experience with the last Street Muse project and Nate's years of touring tell us that we shouldn't expect that plan to survive long once we get started. However, we know the stories we want to tell, and we know how to productively think on our feet. The spirit of this project is of curiosity, exploration, and communication, and our commitment to this vision will see us through.
As is true of many documentary projects, editing Street Muse Kenya was probably more challenging than shooting it. For this iteration, we have an editor lined up that has been working with us since the project's inception. Given their connection to the project, our goal of completing the edits within a year of shooting is realistic.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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