About this project
My name is Jessica Victoria. I live in Pennsylvania, but I'll always be a New Mexican at heart. Though Songs of the Summer Realm will be my third album, it is the first for which I have written almost all of the music. I am asking you, my audience and supporters, to help make it a reality.
Songs of the Summer Realm takes us into the world of King Arthur, showing him to us as a true model of the Servant Leader--a leader who has much to teach us in the twenty-first century. I wrote some of the lyrics myself, but many of them come from familiar Arthurian legends.
The idea of the Summer Realm itself comes from the Arthurian world of Steven Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle. These are some of my favorite books; you really should check them out. I cannot thank Mr. Lawhead enough for his kind permission to use his title, and some copyrighted excerpts from his books, which I have used as lyrics for several of the songs. I also set to music G.K. Chesterton's poem, "The Myth of Arthur." An excerpt from "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" provides the lyrics of "Christmas at Camelot," and Alfred Tennyson's Idylls of the King is the basis of two more songs.
To complete the album, I will be singing some Scottish Gaelic mouth music, which is traditionally known as Puirt à beul. I am doing this because I love languages; I wanted to learn some Gaelic in my free time; and I thought mouth music would be an awesome addition to a live show!
Recording an album of Celtic fusion music is an exciting, new adventure for me! I am a classically trained lyric coloratura soprano with a doctorate in voice from the Catholic University of America. I have sung with orchestras in the United States and Europe. In the opera world, I have appeared as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata and as the queen in Mozart's The Magic Flute. I have performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, and I had the honor of singing for Pope John Paul II in a private audience.
While singing with orchestra will always be one of my greatest passions, I also love Celtic music, and I love stories--to read them and to tell them.
I am working with my husband, Jason Ewell, who is managing the business part of the project. He designed the Kickstarter campaign; he is managing the logistics of the recording process; he is organizing the promotion of the album and the concerts that will support it. He has also contributed a few musical ideas.
We are planning to record the album working with Nick Turner and his team at Watercolour Music in the Scottish Highlands. We will be collaborating with the best Scottish musicians, including internationally-known classical and jazz pianist Euan Stevenson and award-winning piper and whistle player Lorne MacDougall.
Our team includes several friends who have assisted us in very important ways. First and foremost is my cousin, filmmaker Jordan Pacheco, of Denver, who made the project video. Invaluable assistance was also given by our web designer and friend, Kristen Dorn, of Baltimore, and by our friends Sandy Bennett, of Norwalk, OH, and Peter Argentine, of Mt Lebanon, PA.
Finally, a critical part of our team is you--my audience! I have received much support and encouragement over the years from family, friends and audience members who have enjoyed my concerts and my two previous albums. With this project, Jason and I are producing an album on a scale far beyond any recording I have previously made. This is a substantial undertaking, but I have already written all of the music, and we believe that there is still a place in 2015 for the album as an artform, whether downloadable or in physical format, especially one that tells a timeless story in a new, exciting way.
Risks and challenges
The biggest potential risk when recording an album of original music would be if the songs weren't done by recording time. My songs are all finished! My husband, Jason--who is also my business manager--and I are now giving fulltime to the planning and promotion of this project.
We chose our recording studio, Watercolour Music, in the Scottish Highlands after researching many U.K. studios. Nick Turner and his team work constantly with the best Scottish musicians, and they have produced numerous projects for the BBC. I mention all this to say that we do not expect any significant delays in the recording and production process. On the slight chance that we do have a problem during this process, we would find another studio or mastering engineer.
We set a fundraising goal for this project that would cover only musician and studio costs. It does not include the cost of our airline tickets and other travel to Scotland; it does not include the cost of album artwork design; it does not include CD manufacturing costs. We did this to demonstrate that we believe in this project enough to make sure that we have a financial stake in it, whether we meet our goal or not.
Although we are planning to produce Songs of the Summer Realm no matter what, the Kickstarter is important to help us promote the album in a 21st-century way, and to help us avoid going into debt while doing it! :)
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