About this project
The Street Muse Project is a documentary project exploring the culture of street and public music around the World. This component of the project will document street performances in Africa. In addition, Gull will perform on the street throughout the project as an offering and thank you to those who are sharing their talents and energy with us. The documentary will be the first in a series.
Why Street Music?
Have you ever stopped and listened to a street musician, maybe given them a dollar, and wondered about their story? What are their musical influences? What can their life and art open to you about the World? That's the goal of the Street Muse Project...to capture and share these stories and use them as a springboard for education. Many countries in East and West Africa are facing incredible humanitarian and political challenges. We see public music as a way to help inspire education and foster a sense of mutual humanity.
Over the last 5 years Gull (Nate Rappole) has been performing as a street musician across much of the United States and Mexico. He is known for his percussion project that involves the simultaneous playing of the drums and guitar. Through his travels, Nate has come to see the importance of street music as a public display of emotion and how it can be used to break down social barriers and constraints. The street can serve as a public venue for artistic experimentation and social/political creativity. In the Spring of 2011, Nate was joined on a tour of the American South by Len Albright, who had recently completed a PhD in urban sociology. They discussed the possibility of interviewing musicians on the streets in other parts of the world and how the sharing of this could open pathways for creative politics and experiences across the globe. The Street Muse Project was born.
Within each country that we visit in Africa we will be meeting street musicians, documenting their craft with both audio and video, and using the lens of street music to explore local cultures and stories. The project will take place for six weeks during February and March, 2012.
The product of the Street Muse Project will be a documentary short that we will share free of charge to educational institutions, cultural centers, and anyone else who is interested in learning about the creativity and stories of street musicians from around the World.
We plan this component of the Project to be the first of a series.
The funding you provide will support:
1.) Equipment needed and costs for conducting audio/video field recordings
2.) The editing of the project and the sharing of the field recordings and documentary.
3.) Travel expenses (including airfare, visas, and travel within Africa)
How Can You Help?
The itinerary for the documentary is dynamic and growing. Beyond our fundraising goal, we are hoping that this kickstarter will help us with new contacts and ideas for the project. We are particularly interested in connecting with people living in or with knowledge of West and East Africa. We are also very interested in connecting with local cultural, music, and educational organizations. Please contact us with connections, feedback, and ideas. The Street Muse Project will evolve and we will be updating and engaging you along the way. We feel that this evolution and openness will allow us to best navigate the moral sensitivity necessary in politically aware cross-cultural documentation and story-telling.
A Special Note
We see music as a way for people to form an emotional bond with another person. We see this emotional bond at the heart of cross-cultural learning and compassion. The history, politics, and humanitarian crises of many East and West African nations are very complex and challenging. Through the sharing of music and musicians' stories, the Street Muse Project will offer all who participate a way to form an emotional bond and starting point for learning and engagement. The stories and music of individuals can lead us all to broader themes of humanity. We see value in the power of music to inspire learning.
The overarching goal of this project is to facilitate the sharing of creativity. A secondary goal is to aid in the equitable sharing of power, resources, and energy among the people of the World. We see the sharing of street music locally as a way to explore and challenge the concept of power imbalances. This sentiment is at the heart of our interest in moving the project towards an international focus.
How can the sharing of street music help us to overcome power imbalances across states and cultures? We have given thoughtful consideration to the challenges of history and privilege, and with this in mind we will approach the project with a deep focus on reciprocity. We hope to connect you (our supporters, friends, family, and those who watch the documentary) with the new musicians and friends who we meet, and vice versa. Perhaps some of the musicians we meet would want to collaborate with some of you. Maybe this will lead us to some terrific ideas for micro-finance projects. We're not sure what will happen once we connect our new friends met via kickstarter with our new friends met on the street... But we are excited about the possibilities! We want to assure you that we will keep this mutual exchange of energies at the heart of the project - with a goal to make the full fruits of the project available to all involved.
Thank you very much for reading about our project, and we hope that you join us on this journey! Nate and Len
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to these talented videographers/directors for the use of their footage on this page:
~Tristan Brown (video compilation/editing/filming for kicker vid)
~Chad Middleton ("Shackleton" vid)
~Duncan Bridgeman (Veracruz, MX footage from "Evolucion" documentary)
~Jen Law (Monroe Park moving truck footage)
~Craig Hennecke (Redwoods footage)
Background Videos on Gull
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