WE MADE IT! THANKS ALL! Let's Make a Great Record!
Anything extra helps pay the Kickstarter Fees!
And.... i'm ready to Stretch! :) Bring on the Spring!
The heart and soul of what we are trying to is represented in the video below! It says more than I could in words. PLEASE PLEDGE NOW! Help make this great record a reality and a success this summer!
KICKSTARTER CLOSES 11:59PM MONDAY!
This is OLA FRESCA performing the title song ELIXIR!
Hello OLA FRESCA fans new and old. We have an album's worth of powerful, fun, original new songs and arrangements, written and ready to record in Brooklyn and targeted for release this summer! "ELIXIR" will follow up the IMA 2008 Best Latin Album (R)EVOLUCION which was originally released on MR BONGO UK. OLA FRESCA has since focused it's sound and scope and become a fiercely swinging and funky, trombone driven octet. Being that I am Cuban American born and raised in the USA, I am approaching clave and this rhythmic music from the perspective of growing up in Miami and experiencing New Orleans and New York before Havana , and the writing benefits from this perspective! There are fun and powerful songs on ELIXIR about the immigration wall, coexistence, spring parties and more in dance inspiring arrangements that blend the best elements of Classic Salsa, Cuban son, timba, funk and more. The band is amazing, and rehearsed and ready ~ but the project NEEDS TO BE FUNDED! Your PLEDGE here = an ADVANCE purchase of ELIXIR as a Download, CD, Vinyl, Box set or any other perk and it helps us reach our Kickstarter goal which we need in order to make this new album! Help a great collaborative independent Latin record come to life in Brooklyn, NY! Please make a pledge and join us today!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Muchas Gracias and Much Gratitude! Jose Conde
Currents from Afar ~
ELIXIR has been brewing for quite some time, from different places and inspirations… In Park Slope, Brooklyn, on an early spring morning, years ago, I casually spoke to a friend about throwing a BBQ party to celebrate spring and forget winter, and suddenly, the great party tune “Pollitos de Primavera” popped into my head for me to write it! In Havana at the age of 15, Juan Carlos Formell, growing up in the house of his legendary father, the founder of Los Van Van, writes “Mulata”, a brilliant, innocent, ode to a mixed race woman, in which he, at once, celebrates her sensuality and the pride for being “mestizo” – of mixed blood… In Puerto Rico, food, rhythm and Boricua women, inspire Ben Lapidus to write a great picaresque song called “Bizcocho”. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, the US border fence is such a dark and hideous, nightmarish vision, that festers in my soul, and years later when I see a NY Times video story about the thousands of immigrants found dead in the desert after climbing the fence, everything coalesces, and I am moved to write the powerful song “Bandera”...
FIRST REHEARSAL of MULATA (OCT 2013)
2nd verse lyrics of Bandera (performance vid above) written by Jose Conde
In the name of our flag a wall is raised
instead of moving forward we go backwards
cause where there is a will there will always be a way
and good people are risking their lives in crossing the fence
I don’t want my flag to be just a boundary...
Flowing to the Apple ~
Though the inspiration and the creators come from different places and times, all the songs of ELIXIR come together right here right now in cosmopolitan, multicultural, New York City, USA where all the collaborators and members of the band live.
Dancing in Brooklyn ~
The magical potion came together in Brooklyn, where I spent last fall zeroing in and writing 9 great arrangements for the Ola Fresca Octet, bridging elements of classic salsa, traditional Cuban son, timba, funk, and more, finding the right balance that would tell the strong lyrical stories, while insuring that ELIXIR is 200% dance inspiring!
The 3rd Wave ~
This will be the 3rd Ola Fresca album and my 4th over all. It follows some very good, loved and lauded records that have all been original and have explored and celebrated Latin roots and world music. AY! QUE RICO (2004) the first, laid down the roots strong, with poetic and humorous songs in rhythms of Cuban son, mambo, cha cha, and and some funky deviations.The title track, Ay! Que Rico (Ooo it's so good!), was an ode to moms cooking and "comida criolla!"(high Cuban cuisine).
The next record (R)Evolucion won the Independent Music Award for 2008 Best Latin Album. The theme of the album was evolution. New York Times writer Ben Ratliff said Ola Fresca's "emphasis on songs with characters, wordplay and mild social ideas.... brought together Cuban music that was good for dancing and thinking!"
Recipe for ELIXIR ~
Elixir - A fun, mid tempo, classic salsa groove anthem, the title track is a statement about art and music having no boundaries and is already a crowd pleaser that I have been playing and tweaking for a few years!
... here is a very rough rehearsal we did of the title track;La Mano del Rumbero (The Hand of the Drummer) - Para mis hermanos percusionistas de la rumba! (For my brother rumba percussionists) I wrote this song inspired by rumba and rumberos, the hand percussionists who play conga and bata, and the dancers, dancing, and timeless "ashe" (good vibrations) that is rumba! This is an up tempo instant dance floor track that celebrates the power of rumba and the magic in the hands of the drummer!
Mulata - One of my favorite songs written by my friend Juan Carlos Formell. I always loved this song and wanted to record it since I first heard it! He wrote it at age 15 in La Habana and recorded it acoustically on his album Cemetaries of Desire. In my approach to the arrangement, I chose to interpret it as a homage to the state of being "mulato". Musically I start it off with a classical fugal idea over son clave and then it bursts into a hot Cuban timba montuno. This heightens the romanticism of Formell's lyrics and then really expresses all of the possible rhythmic density and sabor. This tune is going to be infectious when OLA FRESCA lays it down! I can't wait!
Pollitos de Primavera (Chickens of Spring) As I said above this tune was inspired a while back and it inspires dancing whenever I play it in any configuration. For this album I evolved the arrangement into a super driving funk/timba groove that I can't wait record with Jorge Bringas grooving on bass and Pablo Vergara on piano montuno, Obanilu and Chinchilita on the percussion, and the Ola Horns! It's super tight and made for a hot spring or summer party!
Bandera (Flag)- (MP3 + mention above), this stark, haunting, and driving song brings together a statement about the fallacy of immigration walls and narrow minded nationalist agendas like "manifest destiny" over a delicious percussive groove that blends Puerto Rican Plena with Cuban comparsa and samba elements. It is a powerful and memorable tune with a hopeful resolution - CULTURA SI! BARRERAS NO! (Culture Yes, Barriers No!)
El Niño Tiene Clave - (The kid has Clave) A fun and funny cleverly written Cuban son about a child who came into the world with an irregular heart beat that turned out to be the sound of CLAVE! The song was written by Jersey based Cuban American Tres player and singer songwriter, Alex Fernandez Fox, whose law practice also makes his nickname "EL Abogado del Sabor" (The Lawyer with the flavor) applicable! The song was first released by Alex in his debut album UNO.
Convicencia (Coexistence) - Son about coexistance on the planet between human beings and nature. Pablo Moya sang an inspiration one day that I revised and titled and wrote verses for. The arrangement I did was inspired by my love for layered Salsa arrangements you can hear in the music of El Gran Combo or Ismael Rivera y sus Cachimbos and El Niño Rivera with Cuni and Chapotin.
Amor Ciclonico (Ciclonic Love)- AGuaguanco inspired on the eve of the NY arrival of Hurricane Irene when in a phone conversation Roman Diaz said something about "Proyectiles Ciclonicos" (Ciclonic Projectiles) which I laughed at and took as the cause for a song which we later co wrote in tiempo de rumba!
Bizcocho (Pastry) - Ben Lapidus is a talented Jazz guitarist, Tres player, cuatrista, singer, songwriter and professor. He has a way with wit and humor and I have wanted to perform his music for years. Bizcocho is a picaresque song about food as a sexual innuendo (at least that's my interpretation Ben!) which I arranged as a downtempo son/salsa number akin to Maelo, Palmieri, Son 14. It is a fun track to improvise and cut on en el soneo!
Note - All the songs are written and performed in Spanish. English translations will be made available in the e booklet for the album!
OLA FRESCA BAND + ~
Jorge Bringas - Bass, Coros - Havana Cuba: One of the best around now on Latin grooves Jorge has toured with Tiempo Libre, Albita, Omara Portuonda, and is the arranger and bass player in SCC (la Exelencia)
Pablo Vergara - Piano - Chile: One of the most versatile and tasteful pianists and keyboardists anywhere Pablo has played and recorded with Groove Collective, Gypsy Allstars, Gato Barbieri, Dave Valentin, Juan Pablo Torres, Claudia Acuña, etc.
Obanilu Ire - Conga, Coros - Santurce , Puerto Rico - From a renowned musical family Obanilu is one of the most versatile percussionists around who is also a great singer and a great live performer. He has recorded and graced the stage with the likes of Bobby Sanabria, Miguel Zenon, Larry Harlow, Ruben Blades and more.
Gabriel "Chinchilita" Machado - Timbales - Las Tunas, Cuba - What a great career "Chinchilita" has had. He was part of Orchesta Novelle and played the last vestige of the Fania era in New York and then became a member of the legendary Lionel Hampton's big band and toured the world for 10 years. Chinchilita has recorded with the likes of Juan Pablo Torres, Paquito Hechevarria, and Compay Segundo.
John Speck - Trombone - Seattle, WA - John and I connected in Miami. he used to play with my peeps the Spam Allstars and is a great Bone player and composer. Some notable folk John has worked with include Bacilos, The Spam Allstars, Page McConnell (Phish), Jorge Ben Jor, Javier Garcia, Larry Harlow, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Elastic Blond and others.
Rey David Alejandre - Trombone - Veracurz, Mexico - A multi instrumentalist with a powerful trombone sound Rey David is a current member in Fania legend Willy Colon's band and has shared the stage with many great musicians and artists blowing jazz and many styles.
Dennis Hernandez - Trumpet - Havana, Cuba - Dennis produces a classic modern Cuban trumpet sound with modern spice. he has performed and recorded with Manolito "el Medico de la Salsa", Bamboleo, Larry Harlow, and is also currently a member of the Richard Bona band.
Jose Conde - Voice - Miami, FL - Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Arranger, multi instrumentalist Conde founded Ola Fresca and has produced two records featuring mostly his compositions. He has led the band in shows and tours in North and Central America and has produced one solo world music album. Conde is also a budding music producer working with several projects and artists of multiple genres. He owns PiPiKi Records Label, blu Iris Music, and has a distribution deal with Virtual Label.
Andy Taub - Co Producer - Brooklyn, NY - Andy is an incredible engineer and mixer. Some of the many notable peeps he's helped get a great sound for are Norah Jones, Calexico, Edie Brickell, Robert Glaspar Experiment, The Neville Brothers, Marc Ribot, Steve Jordan, Ani Difranco etc.
Kickstarting Ola Fresca ~
Kickstarter represents a real revolution in funding a musical project. As the music industry's decline has sliced sources of income and support from creators of new music, we have had to become ever more creative in our ability to fund a record and find new alternatives. Through Kickstarter, this good and necesary record can be a success even before it is made! It can get funded before production and commercial release by pledges and advance purchases, love, support, and confidence from many people in many different places around the world, coalescing their positive energy and sending it to Brooklyn! (like the muses sent the songs!)
And it is a great deal for you, the discerning fan of good music, the good soul who loves our cause and our art! You help us fund and reach our Kickstarter goal, and we will make a great positive spirited record for you and the world! At the end of it all we will have made this together. A lot of good people and great artists will have done some great work, and no one will be in debt over getting it done! Then.... We can we have an OPPORTUNITY to DANCE to ELIXIR, and perform it LIVE around the world! This is no splash! This is what I call making a big wave!
Now here is a breakdown of the budget and I will use the funds from this Kickstarter to make the record and deliver the perks for albums and downloads :
- 7K - Musicians (7 musicians x 1k each + Im working on spec) Ola Fresca is collaborative, but it ain't a collective...these cats gotta be paid! And we aren't in Cuba, the government is not sponsoring us or sustaining us! All us musicians in NY are working our tails off independently just to make a living, let alone to make a great record! So this is the reality we embrace wholeheartedly! See who OLA FRESCA is below!
- 7K - Recording and Mixing at Brooklyn Recording Studio. An amazing studio where Norah Jones, Calexico, Ani DiFranco and many more greats have recorded! We will use a mostly analog natural process to capture ELIXIR! It is co producer's Andy Taub's place so we are in luck and will be in a most welcoming environment not far from home! This is a great scenario for making music!
- 1K - Mastering by Alan Silverman at Arf Digital. For the non musically inclined, audio mastering is like a creating a bra for music so it pushes everything up and evens it out. Not necesarily better than natural, but that is why we will have a Vinyl option! Alan is the most tasteful multiple grammy winning mastering engineer around! Just listen to his gem Bebo Y Cigala or any of his work!
- 1K - CD Art and Graphic Design. We are very lucky to have the great Japanese painter Yuri Shimojo and her team working on the over for ELIXIR. The budgeting here does not represent near what this is worth!
- 2K - CD Manufacturing will be done by audiophile quality and environmentally conscious Groovehouse Records who also do an amazing job with printing with natural inks on recycled paper!
- 2K - Vinyl Manufacturing Vinyl will probably be done as well at Groovehouse or maybe right here in Brooklyn.
- 3K - Publicity by Rock Paper Scissors. The best world music publicity in the biz by Dmitri and crew!
- 2k - Kickstarter Expenses. Whatever else expense comes up I will pay for out of pocket. This includes radio PR which will be about 1.5k straight away.
Goal - 25K - We reach our Kickstarter goal, record, and make ELIXIR and deliver it to the world, digitally, on CD, and Vinyl Funded in advance!
Stretch Goal #1 - Seriously, I need to go back to doing yoga! I haven't properly stretched since I started typing up this Kickstarter page!
Stretch Goal #2 - Anything extra will be used for videos, tour support, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. It would be great to really actually just make the main goal. If we go beyond that... I'll have some other goals in mind and post them!
Finally, here is a funny animation Frank Cromer and I put together just for a laugh. Based on a true story by the fictional Berner Herso (the Cuban Werner Herzog) Enjoy!
Risks and challenges
RISKS ~ OLA FRESCA is not Guns and Roses! :) If we reach our goal here, we will have a limited budget and short time frame to record (3 days). The music is written, arranged and ready and we have been rehearsing and sounding so great, and we have all done this before many times. Which is to say, we are extremely well prepared and ready. But making real music with real musicians is not automatic. And there are risks in the real world and life that a plan will not go as you expect. Luckily, we are great improvisers in music and life! And we resolve to move forward asking the grace of the muses to bestow a light on this effort, and help us make as good a record as we can. If you, the world, fund us, I'm confident we will deliver all your perks and an amazing album on time this August!
CHALLENGES ~ Any independent musical project has incredible obstacles now more than ever. For an original Latin roots project coming out of NY and the USA the challenges are augmented. I have studied the industry and the market as well as the music and I think Ola Fresca is going to do just fine. If we can get this Kickstarter to fly, we will absolutely make a seriously good record. It will have been funded. All of you will have great music and be able to brag to folks and say you were a part of making it! The music will show up were you least expect it, in a club, on the radio, in a TV show or movie, at a friend's house, in a restaurant. It will have a life of it's own and touch people all over the world for many many years to come. What a great thing WE will have done, together! Thank you... in advance! Jose CondeLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)