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We've written a mountain of beautiful new arrangements and are making our second full-length album. We can't wait to share it with you! Read more

Brooklyn, NY World Music
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 26, 2013.

We've written a mountain of beautiful new arrangements and are making our second full-length album. We can't wait to share it with you!

Brooklyn, NY World Music
Share this project

About this project

We made our $7,800 goal allowing us to finish our album!

We are thrilled! Thank you so much! We made our goal six days early - and are already exceeding it. We are so incredibly grateful to all of you for making our Kickstarter goal a reality. Thank you.

Because we're in this lucky position, we want to share with you several more goals on our horizon. They're called "Stretch Goals" here on Kickstarter:

---If we make it to $8800 (exceeding our goal by 1K) this will pay for our tickets and incidentals for our west coast record release tour. We can't wait to see you in California!

---If we make it to $10,800 (2K more), we will -- finally! -- be able to re-design and re-build our website and branding materials to support our new record. We would love to make this happen.

---If we make to to $11,300 (an additional $500), then we will also have the funds to take out an ad or two in the Village Voice and Time Out NY to market our most fun and outrageous NYC record release party to date.

---All said and done, if we make it to $456,000 (an additional $444,700) we will quit our day jobs and buy a house in Hudson dedicated to the creation and celebration of Balkan vocal music, and Balkan music ONLY! We will pay for your travel to come live with us year round. We will sing for you all day long, every day. And feed you.

Creating our album: 

In the years since we recorded our last CD, we've written up a storm of new arrangements -- songs about dragons and weddings, the fleeting nature of youth, bandits, and a lot of other things too -- and we're dying to get them out into the world!  We've chosen two amazing venues in which to record our songs - the acoustically gorgeous Temple Beth Emeth in Flatbush, which we fell in love with when singing as part of Michael Winograd's Ditmas Acoustic Series, and in Sarah's Kitchen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we've been rehearsing weekly for the last five years. We are collaborating with supremely talented recording engineer, Don Godwin, and mastering engineer, Sarah Register. We saved up all our money from our gigs and workshops for a year, but that's not enough to cover our recording, mixing, mastering, designing, pressing and promoting. We are asking for your backing so that we can record and promote songs like this:

Here's what we sound like singing about a river that reaches up and pulls a girl in (behind a 3D light installation) at the art gallery at Bucknell University:

We raised enough already to get us through recording almost all of the songs on our 15-track album, but we can't take this any further without your help. We are asking our friends and community to help us raise $7,800 to pay for our last four tracking sessions, the mixing, the mastering, the design, the printing, the publicity, and all the other steps it takes to get this CD from it's current place into your hands.

If you've never seen us...

...here's how we look in Polly's woodshed in our old fashioned outfits:

...and a pensive moment before at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

... Golden Festival post performance after-glow

... at the top of Trump Tower

... and at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe.

If you've never met us, 

...here's what we're like on stage before we start singing:

(CREDITS: Featured Video: DP: Gemma Flemming, Editors: Josephine Decker and Willa Roberts  |  Additional Photo + Video: from top to bottom: Walter Wlodarczyk, Benoit Cortet, April Renae, Barry Long, Brian Gonzalez, Ambrose Ferber, Walter Wlodarczyk, April Renae, Willa Roberts, Gregory Gutin, Toby Vann)

ABOUT BLACK SEA HOTEL:

Affectionately dubbed a “punk rock version of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares,” Black Sea Hotel is a Brooklyn-based a Capella trio that recreates traditional Balkan music, generating their own inimitable, gutsy sound. Sometimes lyrical and ethereal, sometimes dissonant and driving, their distinct voices create a harmonic blend that has been called haunting and otherworldly. Black Sea Hotel finds new ways to use melody, harmony, and rhythm to tell ancient stories which still resonate today. 

Gathering inspiration from master singers, archival field recordings, and large mid-century choral arrangements, the trio creates a unique repertoire, arranging and composing complex, three voiced interplays based on original material. The sometimes strident, sometimes unearthly textures and overtones characteristic of Black Sea Hotel’s music make it hard to believe that their sound comes from only three voices. 

Black Sea Hotel’s appeal draws a remarkably broad audience. They perform at venues ranging from concert halls and universities to downtown clubs, folk festivals, and the Bulgarian embassy. They have collaborated with such musical luminaries as Kremena Stancheva of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, beatboxer Adam Matta of Carolina Chocolate Drops fame, and Brooklyn Balkan bands Ansambl Mastika and Raya Brass Band.  The trio has been broadcast live internationally on Public Radio International's "The World, Global Hit" segment, as well as on WFMU, WNYC, WAMU, and Serius XM Radio Live on Fine Tuning.  They also regularly lead classes, workshops, and lecture-demos in Balkan singing.

Black Sea Hotel’s live performances, as well as their self-titled album, have been praised by Alex Gallafent of PRI’s “The World”, David Byrne, esteemed music producer Martin Bisi, NY’s Lucid Culture, Timeout NY, East Village Radio, and more. The group was the Editor’s Pick and Featured Artist on CD Baby, # 2 on iTunes World Music Top Albums the week of their first CD's release.

As Black Sea Hotel finishes their current album, they are looking forward to a very lively 2014, with projects including a commission by Lenore Davis for composer Bruce Adolphe to create a new music score for Black Sea Hotel's three voices, piano, and three cellos, as well as touring with a rock band to write home about... Details to come!

WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT US:


“…Black Sea Hotel takes some of the most compelling elements of Balkan folk music and strips them down to their barest form. The vocal trio executes the kind of close, difficult harmonies that inspired Kate Bush to collaborate with Trio Bulgarka."

-The Washington Post

“[These ladies] are exceptional musicians and magnificent singers. Listening to them singing Bulgarian folksongs brings me back to my childhood… Their performance is just fascinating.”

- Kremena Stancheva, Soloist- Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares

“Black Sea Hotel captures an other-worldly sonic experience, wonderfully concordant and discordant (to my post-punk ear), a totally unique sound on this planet.”

- Martin Bisi, Engineer/Producer (Pixies, Sonic Youth, Swans, Herbie Hancock, Dresden Dolls)

“When their voices combine, these incredible women create a miraculous and transportive alchemy that, for me, transcends the very physicality of music itself.” 

- Bill Kates, Sirius Radio Personality/ Producer

“[Black Sea Hotel creates] exciting arrangements that preserve and honor the strength of Balkan folk traditions while bringing fresh and vibrant interpretations to these haunting songs. The blend of their stunning voices makes my spine tingle!”

- Shara Worden, Singer/Composer (My Brightest Diamond)

Risks and challenges

We are so lucky to be part of a big warm awesome community of musicians in Brooklyn who are inspired, as we are, by the music of the Balkans. We've called on them to help us book gigs and we've followed their recommendations for engineers, designers, production houses, and publicists. We've encouraged our community to give us continuous feedback, and they've been endlessly generous. Now we need to reach out more broadly. Our biggest challenge is getting our sound out into the world outside of the Brooklyn Balkan community.

After we finish this CD, we want everyone to know about it! Please tell your friends, please post this Kickstarter on your FB, Twitter, your Mom's chalkboard, and as you root for us, we'll keep singing for you!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    5 backers

    {THANK YOU IN NEW ALBUM}
    We will thank you in our album liner notes and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

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    Pledge $10 or more

    2 backers

    {HILARIOUSLY ADORABLE AND EMBARRASSING OUT-TAKE MONTAGE FROM RECORDING SESSIONS}
    We will send you a string of ridiculous bloopers, sneezes, burps, inappropriate commentary, major mistakes, and uncontrollable giggles, compiled throughout our recording sessions. Yes, it's true, we're actually sharing this stuff with you. Yeah, we can't believe it either. We will also thank you in our album liner notes and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

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    Pledge $15 or more

    33 backers

    {DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF NEW ALBUM}
    We will send you a link to digitally download our new album. We will also thank you in our album liner notes and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    17 backers Limited (1 left of 18)

    {INTIMATE HOUSE CONCERT AND RECEPTION ON CENTRAL PARK WEST} We are suggesting $25 Admission. However, we want to make the event accessible to our student/working musician friends, so for those of you who can pay only $15, then please pay $15… we want to include you too!

    Tuesday, May 14th
    Doors Open: 7pm
    Concert Begins: 7:15pm

    Black Sea Hotel has been invited to perform in a gorgeous apartment on Central Park West overlooking the park. The event is hosted by Lenore Davis, a brilliant pianist, who will also be playing on the program. There are only 30 seats - so act fast!

    Here's what you can look forward to:

    Dances by Shostakovich: Lenore Davis- solo piano (5 minutes)
    Black Sea Hotel (25-minute set)
    Dvorak's Dumky Trio (mvts. 4, 5, 6): Lenore Davis - piano, Matous Michal - violin, Patrick Hopkins - cello (14 minutes)
    Black Sea Hotel (35-minute set)

    80 minutes of a Cappella singing and chamber music, followed by wineandcheese, set against the picture-perfect backdrop of Central Park. Once you pledge we will send you the location…

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  • You selected
    Pledge $17 or more

    35 backers

    {PRINTED COPY OF NEW ALBUM}
    We'll ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US).
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    27 backers

    {DIGITAL DOWNLOADS OF BOTH NEW AND FIRST ALBUMS}
    We will send you a link to digitally download our first album and our new album.
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $27 or more

    23 backers

    {PRINTED COPY OF BOTH NEW AND FIRST ALBUMS}
    We'll ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press, as well as our first album (*free shipping in the US).
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
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    Pledge $50 or more

    26 backers

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM AND SONGBOOK} We'll send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on our new album. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US).
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
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    3 backers

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF 2007 SELF-TITLED ALBUM AND SONGBOOK} We'll send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on our 2007 debut self-titled album. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press, as well as our debut self-titled album (*free shipping in the US). We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $70 or more

    2 backers

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM AND HANDMADE PHOTO BOOKLET}
    We'll send you a tiny handmade booklet, filled with photos, texts, and song stories from Bulgaria and Macedonia that have inspired us and our work. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US).
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    9 backers

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, SONGBOOK, AND HANDMADE PHOTO BOOKLET}
    We'll send you a tiny handmade booklet, filled with photos, texts, and song stories from Bulgaria and Macedonia that have inspired us and our work. We'll send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on the new album. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US).
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    11 backers

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM WITH SONGBOOK and 2007 DEBUT SELF-TITLED ALBUM WITH SONGBOOK} We'll send you songbooks for both our albums that include scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of our original arrangements on both our new and debut albums. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press, as well as our debut album (*free shipping in the US). We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, PRIVATE SINGING LESSON WITH WILLA}
    Private Balkan singing lesson with Willa Roberts of Black Sea Hotel. You and Willa will work together on the vocal placement and sound production unique to Balkan singing. You will also learn about pronunciation and ornamentation techniques. Willa will teach you repertoire that represents varied styles or you can pick a region on which to focus. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US). We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    0 backers

    {HOLIDAY PACKAGE - 10 COPIES OF OUR NEW ALBUM FOR THE PRICE OF 6}

    We'll ship you 10 copies of our new album for you to share with all your friends, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US), so you will be all prepped and ready for the holidays! We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, PRIVATE SINGING LESSON WITH WILLA AND SONGBOOK}
    Private Balkan singing lesson with Willa Roberts of Black Sea Hotel. You and Willa will work together on the vocal placement and sound production unique to Balkan singing. You will also learn about pronunciation and ornamentation techniques. Willa will teach you repertoire that represents varied styles or you can pick a region on which to focus. We'll also send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on our new album. We'll also ship you a copy of our new album, when hot off the press (*free shipping in the US). We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, SONGBOOK, AND REHEARSAL "SIT-IN"}
    Join us for one hour in person or via Skype to sit in with us during one of our rehearsals. Gain insight into our musical and personal process... if you dare! We can get a bit rowdy, and no guarantees that your experience will be PG-13. We'll send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on our new album. We will also include a digital download or physical copy of our new CD (*free shipping in the US). We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $750 or more

    1 backer Limited (3 left of 4)

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, SONGBOOK, AND HOUSE CONCERT}
    Black Sea Hotel will come to your house (in one of New York's five boroughs or nearby NJ, etc) and sing acoustically for you... We will take requests song by song, or we will curate an evening of music just for you. We will sing for your dinner party, tea party, party party, for your evening of meditation, as a backdrop to a silent film you're playing, for your family, you're friends, your co-workers or your cat. You and 10 of your friends will get physical copies or digital downloads of our new album. We'll send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on our new album.
    We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, SONGBOOK, AND EVENING WITH BLACK SEA HOTEL INCLUDING HOUSE CONCERT, TABLE SONGS, DELICIOUS BALKAN CUISINE, AND LULLABY}
    Black Sea Hotel will come to your house (in one of New York's five boroughs or nearby NJ, etc) and sing acoustically for you... We will take requests song by song, or we will curate an evening of music just for you. We'll supply you with unbeatably tasty honey rakija, and delicious Balkan cuisine. We will spend the evening together, cooking for you, laughing with you, singing with you, teaching you songs if you become curious. We'll sing you songs at the table just like in the old country, in the winter when there's nothing to do except be merry and sing. We will eat and sing and laugh, until we get exhausted. Then we will sing you a gentle lullaby as you fall asleep, clean up, leave you a present on the table and quietly let ourselves out. You and 10 of your friends will get physical copies or digital downloads of our new album. We'll send you a songbook that includes scores, texts (both in Cyrillic and Latin), and translations for all of the original arrangements on our new album. We will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, and will be grateful to you forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    {AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF NEW ALBUM, SONGBOOK, HOUSE CONCERT, AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT}
    Black Sea Hotel will grant you one of the three available Executive Producer credits on our album. You will receive 1/3 of a full page for your personal or professional profile in the album liner notes. *There are only 3 of this incentive available. If you snatch up all 3, then you will be our SINGULAR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER and will receive a FULL-PAGE PROFILE in our album liner notes. Becoming an/the Executive Producer will also include House Concert, as listed above, in addition to 10 copies of our album, our songbook, bloopers, as well as undying gratitude for your generosity and support forever and ever.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    {UBER-PRESIDENT OF THE ENTIRE WORLD}
    You will go down in Black Sea Hotel History, Kickstarter History, and World History for being the never-to-be-matched-again Balkan New Music Supporter. Your name will be included in all publicity materials, all interviews, all marketing emails, and all tour collateral for all Black Sea Hotel's undertakings throughout 2013 and 2014. You will be given as many CDs as you would like, and in addition, if you would like (and if our travel expenses are covered) we will fly to you to sing for any event of yours anywhere in the world. We will sing for you, we will laugh with you, we will be merry together and we will cook you food. We will write and dedicate an arrangement personally for you, to be included on our third album; you will get to choose from a selection of 10 Balkan folk melodies, from which we'll build this arrangement. You will get to choose from three options what the name of our album will be. As if this wasn't already abundantly obvious, we will also thank you in our album liner notes, send you album bloopers, as well as be undyingly grateful for your generosity and support forever and ever (and ever and ever).

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (38 days)