Welcome to my Kickstarter for my latest project about the Karen Refugees living in camps on the Thai-Burma border!
With all the wars and violence on the news every day, I believe we must find a personal connection that motivates us to protect people, their land and their culture. I think there is no better way to make this connection than through music.
The purpose of this Kickstarter is to finish production on a CD which will share the beauty of the Karen culture through their music and images and tell the story of the displacement and human rights abuses they have faced over the last 20 years as a result of the war in Burma. This is a really special and important project and I really need your support to make it happen. Look to the right for the different rewards you can receive as a Thank You for being a part of the project.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the situation in Burma is incredibly difficult, particularly for the Karen people living on the Thai-Burma border. On top of facing massive violations of human rights: forced labor, use of child soldiers, rape as a weapon in war, forced evacuations, and executions, tens of thousands of Karen were forced from their villages and have been living in refugee camps in Thailand. Despite of these challenges, the life in the camps still breathes with the beauty of their cultural heritage and traditions, which include music, dance, festivals, monasteries, churches and cultural museums. It is in their arts and culture that the Karen people are able to find strength, continuity and even joy after leaving all else behind.
I began working on these kind of projects in 2000 when I traveled to Macedonia to volunteer with the Roma (Gypsy) refugees who had fled from the war in Kosovo. During my time there, I recorded a CD of field recordings to raise awareness of the Roma culture and the abuses the communities faced during and after the war. This initial journey led to the creation of my organization, Cultural Cornerstones, and a series of projects in which we documented and disseminated the musical traditions of people who are affected by crises.
Some specifics about the project:
The CD will include 17 recordings made in the refugee camps on the border. It will be accompanied by a 30 page color booklet of lyrics, photos, and information on the Karen's music, their instruments and the history of their people leading up to the war and their displacement. Most of the recordings were made with Sein Tin Aye a community elder and a group of students he has been teaching in Mae La Refugee Camp.
The CD will be distributed to libraries and universities as well as given to individuals who are advocates for the Karen communities. CDs will also be sent back to the refugees themselves so that the music can be broadcast on local camp radio stations and used by local NGOs to raise awareness of the situation.
I have raised $1500 thus far and need another $4000 to make the CD - this will cover mastering, design and the printing of the CD and booklet.
Your support to the project is processed by Amazon so it is as easy as purchasing something from Amazon.com. This support will only get to us if we actually reach our funding goal of $4000 (otherwise your card wont be charged) - this means that I need everyone's help to make sure this project happens by reaching the funding goal on Kickstarter.
Photos and music from all my projects can by found on at www.ccstones.org
Thank you for your support.
- (40 days)