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Help Joe Brent and Alon Sariel finish their CD of Dowland lute arrangements!
Help Joe Brent and Alon Sariel finish their CD of Dowland lute arrangements!
90 backers pledged $5,013 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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'An Englishman In New York'

Hi everybody! It's Joe Brent here. SOOOOO... a few months ago, lutherie maestro Brian Dean had a crazy idea: why not a CD of Dowland lute music to feature the versatility of his instruments? Everyone already knows how good they are with modern music, but what people don't realize is that owing to their similarities to lute construction, they're actually just as perfectly suited to Renaissance music as well. Of course, I was all for it. He even agreed to build me a 10-string instrument, much like the 8-string Grand Concert he'd already built for me, to handle the lower voices. But who to record the higher voices?

Well, the answer was obvious to me, and after a few emails, my dear friend, virtuoso mandolinist and early music specialist Alon Sariel was on board. We did the arrangements over the course of a few months, and as he was coming to New York anyway to play some concerts, we headed to Vinegar Hill Sound for a few days to record the project. While Alon was in New York, we also performed together at Bargemusic on some of the Dowland repertoire, the result of which you can hear right here:

Pretty cool, huh? We sure thought so. And since we'll be in London together in December as well, we'll take the opportunity to finish the album there, and the final project will be called 'An Englishman In New York', after the Sting song of the same name. When it's finished, it'll certainly be the first of its kind -- Dowland's lute music arranged for two mandolins! -- and it's definitely something we're both very proud of. 

Risks and challenges

But here's the problem -- we'd love to get this music out into the world, but printing CDs and doing the final mixing can be pretty expensive, so that's where you come in. It's not much, since we won't be doing a large printing of the CD at first (unless it's a huge hit and we go out on tour with Lady Gaga and all that...), but all told, it'll probably run about $5,000. We want to do this right, with packaging reflecting the work we've done on the CD on two continents, and a nice mix and professional mastering, combined with the travel costs of getting together when we're both in the UK... whew! It's a wonder anyone ever gets these things finished at all! Anyways, we need your help to finish this project. Any help you can give is tremendously appreciated, and will help put something we feel is really beautiful into the world!

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FAQ

  • Seriously, incredibly, amazingly awesome. That's how awesome. You are ALL THE AWESOME.

    Last updated:
  • The recording is already 'in the can', as they say 'in the business'. Basically, we now need to do some editing, mixing, mastering, designing, and printing. We'll probably do the mixing at the studio where we recorded the project, Vinegar Hill Sound. Mastering will have to wait until early next year, once everything is in order and we're both back from our little sojourn in the UK. While we're there, we're going to do some more photos, record our thank you tracks for backers, and perform a couple of shows together to promote the project. Then we'll have a designer take everything and wrap it in a pretty bow, and off it shall go to the printers. But all of that is pretty expensive, so that's what the money is for.

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  • We've targeted May 2013, which seems like a conservative estimate for the editing, mastering, designing, and printing to be finished. Could be sooner, or could be later if things come up for either or both of us. But probably somewhere around that time.

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  • You bet you can! Here's a couple of videos of us playing this music at Bargemusic in Brooklyn recently:

    Hey Elle, really appreciate the help with promoting the shows! Here's a few Youtube links:

    The Shoemaker's Wife: http://www.youtube.com/watch…
    What If A Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch…
    Fancy In G, 'Tremolo': http://www.youtube.com/watch…
    Queen Elisabeth Galliard: http://www.youtube.com/watch…

    Plus, in the video we recorded that's just above on this page, we put a few minutes of recording from the actual session at Vinegar Hill.

    Last updated:
  • The 8 and 10-string mandolins were made by Brian Dean (http://www.labraid.ca), and belong to Joe. The lute was borrowed from Erik Ryding, a wonderful NYC-area lutenist. And the octave mandolin we used was made by Adam Buchwald (http://www.circlestrings.com/). The 10-string was sent to Joe unfinished just a few days before the session! It still sounded amazing, and will sound even better in London now that it's finished and the sound opens up a bit.

    Last updated:

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THIS REWARD IS ONLY FOR WHOEVER PUTS US OVER $5000!!! For the amazing person who puts up the final amount that gets us over the top, Joe and his girlfriend Sara Caswell will record a song of your choice, in a new arrangement for mandolin and violin, and post it to Youtube with a dedication to you! For an example of what Sara and Joe do, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkIoO39vitE. Additionally, you will receive a copy of the FINISHED CD, plus anything else your donation qualifies you for.

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    Get THANKED PROFUSELY in the liner notes of the finished album!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get thanked profusely in the liner notes of the album, PLUS a FREE COPY OF THE FINISHED CD, An Englishman In New York, featuring our arrangements of Dowland's lute music for two mandolins and performed on Brian Dean Grand Concert instruments!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Get thanked profusely in the liner notes of the finished album, a free copy of the CD, PLUS we will record A PERFORMANCE OF ANY OF THE TRACKS of the album over Skype and send it to you personally!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Get thanked profusely in the liner notes of the finished album, a free copy of the CD, a Skype-recorded performance of any of the tracks from the album sent personally to you, PLUS a FREE COPY OF THE SHEET MUSIC of the arrangements of Dowland's lute music for two mandolins that we created and used on the CD!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    et thanked profusely in the liner notes of the finished album, a free copy of the CD, a Skype-recorded performance of any of the tracks from the album sent personally to you, a free copy of the sheet music we used to record the music on this CD, and COPIES OF JOE'S TWO BOOKS OF MANDOLIN PEDAGOGY, ORCHESTRAL AND CHAMBER EXCERPTS AND SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS FOR DAILY PRACTICE!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Get thanked profusely in the liner notes of the finished album, a free copy of the CD, a Skype-recorded performance of any of the tracks from the album sent personally to you, a copy of the sheet music of the arrangements of Dowland's lute music for two mandolins that we created and used on the CD, and a FREE MANDOLIN LESSON with either of us via Skype!

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Get thanked profusely in the liner notes of the finished album, a free copy of the CD, a Skype-recorded performance of any of the tracks from the album sent personally to you, a copy of the sheet music of the arrangements of Dowland's lute music for two mandolins that we created and used on the CD, copies of Joe's books, a free mandolin lesson with either of us via Skype, and AN ARRANGEMENT OF A SONG OF YOUR CHOICE, WRITTEN BY JOE, AND PERFORMED AND VIDEOTAPED (AND UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE) AT HIS BIRTHDAY SHOW ON APRIL 6!

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Get thanked profusely in the liner notes of the finished album, a free copy of the CD, a Skype-recorded performance of any of the tracks from the album sent personally to you, a copy of the sheet music of the arrangements of Dowland's lute music for two mandolins that we created and used on the CD, copies of Joe's books, a free mandolin lesson with either of us via Skype, an arrangement of a song of your choice performed and recorded at Joe's birthday show on April 6, AND AN ARRANGEMENT OF A SONG OF YOUR CHOICE FOR TWO MANDOLINS, PERFORMED BY JOE AND ALON AT THEIR CONCERT IN LONDON ON DECEMBER 4, UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE AND DEDICATED TO YOU! BECOME A YOUTUBE HERO -- AND OUR HERO AS WELL!!!

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Funding period

- (30 days)