About

The inception of the Golden Record was at the crossroads of science and culture, and so is our series. The story of the Navajo Night Chant is just one of 27 musical portraits that we want to share with the world. Our documentary series will be guided by contemporary musicians to tell a story not only of world music with the Golden Record as our map, but also a story of cultural preservation on a planet facing recent global changes that only seem to be getting worse. Find our more about our project below, and if you love music, science, and care about preserving our culture here on Earth, donate a dollar today. Just one dollar from a lot of you – 175,000 of you – will go a long way!

Video credits: cinematography by Cameron Wheeless, stock footage includes public domain material and licensed material, original music includes tracks by Tony Redhouse, Chris Zabriskie, and the Navajo Night Chant of Voyager's Golden Record, by Ambrose Roan Horse, Chester Roan, and Tom Roan.

OUR STORY

This documentary series will follow each of the 27 tracks of music that were selected for the Golden Record, launched aboard NASA’s Voyager Spacecraft 1 and 2 in 1977. 40 years later, back here on Earth, we want to uncover and explore the musical cultures belonging to these 27 songs. In the same way that Carl Sagan and his team may have wished to socialize musically with extraterrestrial beings through this Record – a musical gesture of greeting from one cosmic neighbor to another – the series’ mission will be to demonstrate how crucial it is to invest in and preserve our most fundamental forms of expression that unify us as a global human race. We hope this series will serve as a cinematic gesture for us all to become better neighbors on this Earth, and to identify and become critical of current global issues that are affecting the places of origin of the music selected for this Record.

In 2017 and for the first time ever, the Golden Record has been made available to the public by Ozma Records! Click here to get your copy!
In 2017 and for the first time ever, the Golden Record has been made available to the public by Ozma Records! Click here to get your copy!

The 27 songs were selected as “musical representatives” of our civilization, but what can we say we know about them? To explore this question, we will seek out artists who can perform these songs, and we will capture the musical traditions of each song as they exist today. We will re-record original renditions, film the musical process, and allow the musicians to guide us through their customs, cultures and homes. Ultimately an homage to the Golden Record, GOLDEN TRACKS: MUSIC ABOARD THE VOYAGER will document the life and struggles of the people behind the music at the place of origin on what will surely be an incredible world tour.

With episodic content at the epicenter of how we consume stories today, it was intuitive to break down our story into an 8-episode season. As online streaming platforms and film festivals start to dedicate more space to episodic content, we believe that it’s simply a matter of time until we secure a home for our series. 

The episodic structure is as follows: Episode 1 - The Old New World (Native American music, Blues, Jazz and Rock n’ Roll), Episode 2 - America Latina (Peru and Mexico), Episode 3 - The World of Oceania (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia), Episode 4 - Africa (Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Episode 5 - East and Southeast Asia (China, Japan, India and Java), Episode 6 - Pioneers of Western Classical Music (U.K. and Germany), Episode 7 - Classical Music Pt. II (Germany, Austria and Russia), Episode 8 - Eurasia and Eastern Europe (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Bulgaria).

Although we are launching our campaign in time for Voyager’s 40th anniversary, we have been developing this project for the past two years and have already started working on the storylines for 5 of our 27 tracks! Take a look: 

The Preservation Hall Legacy Band performing Louis Armstrong's "Melancholy Blues" in New Orleans at Preservation Hall, May 2017.
The Preservation Hall Legacy Band performing Louis Armstrong's "Melancholy Blues" in New Orleans at Preservation Hall, May 2017.

 

Interview with Valya Balkanska in Smolyan, Bulgaria, August 2017. She is one of Bulgaria's greatest national treasures and learning about her music floating in outer-space as little girls really planted the seed for our project.
Interview with Valya Balkanska in Smolyan, Bulgaria, August 2017. She is one of Bulgaria's greatest national treasures and learning about her music floating in outer-space as little girls really planted the seed for our project.

 

Blato Zlato in June 2017, performing "Izlel e Delyo Haidutin," the Bulgarian folk song made famous by Valya Balkanska and included on the Golden Record.
Blato Zlato in June 2017, performing "Izlel e Delyo Haidutin," the Bulgarian folk song made famous by Valya Balkanska and included on the Golden Record.

 

  

Sample footage and interviews from India courtesy of satellite producer Leo Heiblum, as he explores the story of "Bhairavi: Jaat Kahan Ho" by Kesarbai Kerkar.
Sample footage and interviews from India courtesy of satellite producer Leo Heiblum, as he explores the story of "Bhairavi: Jaat Kahan Ho" by Kesarbai Kerkar.
Co-director Biliana Grozdanova travels to California to meet with SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) in September 2017.
Co-director Biliana Grozdanova travels to California to meet with SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) in September 2017.

 

     
Interview with Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at SETI Institute and host of Big Picture Science. Mountain View, CA, 2017.
Interview with Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at SETI Institute and host of Big Picture Science. Mountain View, CA, 2017.

 

 

Co-director Marina Grozdanova has recently established temporary residence in Japan in order to conduct research for the songs of East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Not bad, we’d like to think – we’re in two hemispheres!
Co-director Marina Grozdanova has recently established temporary residence in Japan in order to conduct research for the songs of East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Not bad, we’d like to think – we’re in two hemispheres!

OUR TEAM

We are Biliana and Marina Grozdanova, sister filmmakers who founded El Jinete Films in 2012. El Jinete Films is an independent production company that focuses on music documentaries, music videos, and diverse commercial content. After producing two feature documentaries, multiple shorts and over a dozen music videos, we are embarking on Golden Tracks, our most ambitious project yet. Originally from Bulgaria, as young children, we had always heard about the Bulgarian music drifting through outer-space. This is one of the main (out of many) reasons we have become so deeply inspired to tell this story. 

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

Our campaign goal reflects a bare-bones budget which will cover the production process of our series. Here is why we need your help:

  • First of all, this documentary series will require a lot of TRAVEL! We are essentially tracking down the tracks in their places of origin – and that is what makes this series unique and special! We will need to travel to remote locations in Oceania as well as distant European concert halls (and everywhere in between!) in order to record and film original renditions of these songs with local musicians.
  • Secondly, we will need to rent/purchase some equipment (primarily lenses, additional sound gear, and lots of drives for storage). Currently we operate with two 4K A7s Sony’s and have a full sound setup for interviews, but we have to take into consideration, for example, the expense of the different and complex situations of live music recording we will be presented with. Among other miscellaneous production expenses, there will be visas we have to pay for, locations to rent, and of course the acquiring and mailing of your rewards along our route. An important fact not to be overlooked is that any project raising over $20,000 will receive a 1099 and will have taxes to pay.
  • Finally, a portion of the funds raised will be for compensating our crew and our performers. We as directors will not receive personal compensation, but we do believe in paying our crew and anyone who lends their services to the production.
  • Although we have set an ambitious goal of $175,000, we believe that if our campaign reaches enough people who love science, music and care about preserving our culture here on Earth, just one from 175,000 of you will get us there! So help us spread the word!
Some of our rewards!
Some of our rewards!

 

Risks and challenges

We understand that this project is as ambitious as it gets, but after two years in development, and in conjunction with Kickstarter’s Projects of Earth initiative, we have decided it is our time to launch.

As we will be in production for approximately 15 months starting at the beginning of 2018, some of your rewards will take a longer time to be delivered. Hopefully when you are pledging, you will choose a reward you have the patience for! However, it will be our mission to keep you updated on our progress every step of our journey.

We will do our best to plan our itinerary in advance, over the course of the 15 months, in the most efficient and time effective way, but we will have to be ready for unpredictable changes of plans. Ideally we will have established some official shooting schedules and locations with our local contacts and musicians, but anything is possible when working at a distance. On occasion, we will also have to overlap production at a location with simultaneous planning for the next. Essentially, we are setting sail on a meticulously mapped out race but have to be prepared to troubleshoot and solve the unpredictable.

There are intrinsic risks and challenges with filming in any foreign land, but when entering a community other than your own, it is important to remember that respect for each other’s customs and traditions is the base for solving any possible discrepancies. Logistics just as visas, vaccines, etc. (wherever required) will also require research and effort to coordinate.

We also have to take into consideration risks and challenges in locations that are currently politically unstable or places in which film crews might be viewed as a threat or invasion of local privacy. We will try our best to get in contact with as many cultural ambassadors, academics and local grassroots institutions that may act as liaisons and facilitators in these circumstances.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    If you love SCIENCE & MUSIC!

    It's as simple as 175,000 of you pledging just one dollar to make our filmmaker's dream come true and to help us pay homage to the greatest record ever made!

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    Golden Tracker

    THANK YOU! You are now a part of our #GoldenTracker family and you will receive a special shout-out on our social media pages!

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    • A hashtag with #YourNameisaGoldenTracker
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    Golden Tracker & Street-teamer

    Receive a #GoldenTracker pin and let the world know you are following the #GoldenTracks with us!

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    • A #GoldenTracker pin
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    Pen Pals from Bulgaria and Japan

    Become our pen pal and we will each send you a personalized postcard from Bulgaria and Japan!

    Includes:
    • A postcard from Sofia, Bulgaria
    • A postcard from Tokyo, Japan
    • Plus rewards #1 & #2
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    A little piece of Bulgaria

    Biliana will send you Bulgaria's most unique and precious gift: a little vial of rose oil, direct from our Rose Valley and used in the world’s finest perfumes.

    Includes:
    • A handcrafted wooden vial of rose oil
    • Plus rewards #1 through #3
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    New Orleans care package

    Straight from the birthplace of jazz, receive a signed CD from one of our collaborating musicians and a traditional carnival mask.

    Includes:
    • A traditional carnival mask
    • A signed CD from a local jazz musicians
    • Plus rewards #1 through #4
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    A little piece of Japan

    Marina will send you a unique and traditional omamori *good luck charm* from Japan's shrines and temples. Do you need more romance, happiness, success? Let your new omamori do the trick!

    Includes:
    • A traditional, handcrafted Japanese omamori
    • Plus rewards #1 through #4
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    Golden Tracks poster

    Receive a dedicated Golden Tracks poster, signed by us and some of our collaborating musicians!

    Includes:
    • 18" x 24" Golden Tracks poster
    • Plus rewards #1 through #4
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Let's get exotic!

    Once we hit the road for the long haul, you will receive a series of 10 postcards from our travels and a surprise souvenir! Will it be from Peru, the Solomon Islands, Australia...? You will have to wait and see!

    Includes:
    • 10 handwritten postcards from our journey
    • A surprise souvenir from somewhere in the world
    • Plus rewards #1 through #4
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    From our kitchen to yours

    In the spirit of the Bulgarian hospitality of our motherland, we offer you a traditional ceramic pot with a very special Thracian recipe inside. We will even include one of the main ingredients: lukanka. Look up Thracian clay pot recipe to see what you will be able to prepare with this gift!
    *The lukanka, a Bulgarian cured meat sausage, will be freshly delivered from a local Bulgarian imports store.

    Includes:
    • A traditional ceramic pot, recipe & lukanka!
    • Plus rewards #1 through #4
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    Pledge US$ 175 or more About US$ 175

    An Alternative Soundtrack

    Receive a vinyl record with brand new original music from our performers around the world - tracks they would select to send into outer-space if they had the opportunity to do so today.

    Includes:
    • Golden Tracks: an alternative sountrack on vinyl
    • Plus reward #1 through #4 and #7
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    The World through our lens

    Receive a limited edition 16" x 24" metal print of one of our travel photographs. Along with our video shoots, we will also document every step of the way through black and white film photography. We will periodically upload the images on our website and you will be able to select your snapshot of the world to keep.
    *Metal prints are ready for your wall and require no framing!

    Includes:
    • 16" x 24" metal print of an original B&W photo
    • Plus rewards #1 through #8
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    Golden Backer

    As a Golden Backer, you will receive a personalized postcard from each and every stop of our journey (27 locations). This will be an ongoing reward that will require some patience, but think of the collection when it's complete!
    *Certain rewards from tiers #1 through #11 will ship earlier!

    Includes:
    • 27 postcards from around the world!
    • Plus rewards #1 through #11
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Collector of curiosities

    Ever wanted to explore the markets of distant destinations but never made it there? Now is your opportunity! At this level, we will take you shopping through the antique stores, art markets and treasure shops of our journey. First, choose a country or continent listed in our project description. Then, let us know what you are looking for: it could be a painting, an instrument, a book, textiles, or anything else that might spark your desires! Finally, wait for your curiosity in the mail!

    Includes:
    • A curiosity from around the world
    • Plus rewards #1 through #12
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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Sponsor a song

    This level is specifically for our music licensing fees. We have 27 tracks we have to clear sync licenses for and we would love for you to sponsor a song! Your pledge will go directly to covering the rights for the song of your choice (understanding that some licenses will cost more, some will cost less) and you will be listed as that track's sponsor in our credits.

    Includes:
    • Music licensing sponsor credit
    • Plus rewards #1 through #13
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    Pledge US$ 9,999 or more About US$ 9,999

    Executive Producer of an Episode

    Become an Executive Producer of 1 of our 8 episodes!

    Includes:
    • Executive Producer Credit of an Episode
    • Plus rewards #1 through #13
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Funding period

- (60 days)