Sumkali's 4th album titled "Dha Re Dha" is almost here!!
The Musicians: Lucas Atkinsmith-Violin, Scott Brady-Bansuri, John Churchville-Tabla/Drum Set/Percussion, Will Cicola-Woodwinds, Bidisha Ghosh-Vocals, Anoop Gopal-Violin/Vocals, Richard Rickman-Bass, Dan Ripke-Guitar, Atmaram Chaitanya-Tanpura, Grammy Award Winning Peter Madcat Ruth-Harmonica/Jaw Harp, World Renowned Tabla Master Pandit Samar Saha-Tabla, Dave Sharp-Bass, Elden Kelly-Glissentar, Ramani Ayyagari-Harmonium
This album has been a work in progress for over 2 years and I can say with the utmost confidence that it is by far our best work to date.
The significance of this particular album hit us all shortly after the presidential election of 2016. The calls for division and messages of fear made it very clear to the members of Sumkali that the work we do is not just to make great music...it also serves as a sign of hope and promise....letting people know what happens when you meet and work with people different than you are to create something new together.
Our music represents a coming together of humans from very different backgrounds and finding beauty, truth and common ground. Having your support puts a stamp on our message of unity and love through music. Though this project is nearing completion, the work we have started will carry on for years to come and we would love to have you along for the journey. THANK YOU for supporting both our music and our message. Now here is a bit about what we have done and will do moving forward:
The Creative Concept
This album is split into three main avenues of creation:
1. Original arrangements of traditional Indian folk songs. One of the great elements of our group is that we love to apply our own personal influences to music that has already been created and craft beautiful pieces of music that speak in a universal language. Whether it is an ancient melody that sounds great over a funky organ groove, or a light classical piece that gets the full western harmonic treatment...nothing is out of bounds, the goal is simply to make something great. Here is a sample of one of those pieces called "Ganga Tumi":
2. Original compositions composed in the studio. This is a concept we have dabbled in in the past, but for this album we have really hit a stride of collaborating, writing, arranging and creating, using the studio as the hub of creation. This is really where we can craft every moment of music down to the smallest breath. For both these first two avenues, we have spent over 100 hours in the studio, recorded hundreds of tracks...over 20 hours of music!! We then take what we laid down and mix, match and mold the music down to the essential and best sounding ideas. Sometimes we build a whole piece around just a measure or two of music. This process has been the most intimate and demanding, requiring a lot of trust and agreement to keep moving forward. We believe you can hear that in the music. Especially in the title track "Dha Re Dha"...here is a sample:
3. Pieces created from pure improvisation.
Perhaps the purest musical expression on the album comes in the form of pieces that were done in one take. They are the tracks that resulted from hitting the record button and going on a journey together. In some situations we had no choice...when Pandit Samar Saha, a world renowned tabla master, came through town on tour, we decided that we best take advantage of every moment. So we called on whoever could make it into the studio.
Lucky for us we have a Grammy Award winning harmonica virtuoso that lives just down the street, goes by the name Peter Madcat Ruth. Madcat had been playing with us at Indian Music Night and we were having a blast combining traditional blues harmonica with the Indian music, so we asked Madcat to join us at the studio to play with us and Samar Saha. These two titans of their instruments met in the studio for the first time that day. We recorded for 6 hours and never played the same thing twice. The ideas were flowing and plentiful. One of our favorite improv's came in the form of an Appalachian style harmonica piece..here is a little taste:
We have multiple tracks from each avenue of creation that have made the final cut for the album and we CAN'T WAIT for you all to hear it!
While this campaign is live, we will be recording the final tracks for the album, getting the mixes tweaked just right and preparing the audio for mastering, which is the final step before the audio is ready to be shared to the world.
We will also continue work on the Dha Re Dha CD Companion eBook, which we are very excited about. This book contains all sorts of information about the music, musicians, techniques and technologies that we used to create this album. We are working with the NYU Music Experience Design Lab (MusEDLab) to create an interactive mixing board that allows you to create your own mix, listen to one instrument at a time and get an idea of how the music is put together. The eBook will also contain notation of some of the main musical ideas, lots of pictures, biographies of each musician and the breakdown of all the technology we used to make the album. The book is coming together nicely, but more work needs to be done.
Once the audio is ready, the graphics have been created and the album is off the production line the FIRST thing we will do is take care of all of our Kickstarter backers. We will compile and send the rewards as soon as everything is in our hands. Our backers are our first priority!! Of course, we will also keep you updated along the way with exclusive behind the scene videos, reports on the production status and any C.D. Release dates that we schedule. As a backer, we will take you along for the ride!
- Production costs for Audio mastering, CD production, Graphic design, promotional materials, reward fulfillment and Kickstarter fees: $5500
- Legal and business fees for copyright, licensing, contracts directly affiliated with the album: $500 (hiring a pro for a few hours of work...we have done this the cheap and easy way in the past and have decided it would be better to have a pro cross the 't's and dot the 'i's)
- Marketing and promotions: $4000-$6000(if we exceed our goal. We have looked in the past...it costs around $2000 for a couple of months of light promotion nationally (in the US). So the more resources we can put towards promoting this work, the farther our message can reach. (This is a BIG step for Sumkali and we could not have made it to this point without all of our past and current backers...THANK YOU for believing in us!)
Like I said in the beginning, we have been awakened to what a piece of work like this represents in the world. Our work has not just been to make great music, it is also to send a message of unity, collaboration, compassion, and understanding. Fearlessly creating together, using our differences as a catalyst for new ideas, finding out what WORKS. We believe our music has this message embedded within it and we are inspired to spread that message as far and wide as we can. Doing this sort of project with crowd-funded resources just adds weight and significance to the message. We do look forward to sharing the journey with you!!
Thank you for your support! We will talk soon,
Here are some parting shots from the many studio sessions we have had to create this album, thanks to past backer John Diephouse for the amazing pics!
Risks and challenges
We have got a pretty great track record when it comes to risk management. Of course the big risk is that things become delayed and we miss our delivery date. We are 90% finished with studio tracking and we still need to to the mastering, all the graphic design and production of the actual C.D., and finishing up of the C.D. companion. Everything is right now ahead of schedule to be done by April.
This ball has been rolling for so long now that it is really just a matter of time before we are able to deliver on every reward. We have been at this for over a decade and don't plan on stopping anytime soon, so rest assured, even if delayed a bit the goods will be delivered. In fact, we already have the t-shirts and sunglasses ready to go.
For a further sense of comfort....it might be good to know that all of our digital information is backed up in the cloud as well as on a hard drive in the studio, so unless someone really wants to stop us, this album is going to happen!!
- (30 days)