Baba Bruja's debut album
I'm Stephen McEntee, and I'm the founder, composer and director/ringleader of 12-piece Hobart based Afrobeat band Baba Bruja.
Our sound is big, it's raucous and it's dynamic; when we get cooking we find that our audiences can't help but move their bodies. We've become known for our infectious melodies, rhythmic drive and extended dynamic solos that really take us and our listeners on a sonic journey. Our music, while firmly rooted in the musical traditions of Afrobeat, incorporates elements from many different musical cultures from around the world.
I started the group in mid-2017 with some of Tasmania's finest musicians. I feel so lucky that they continue to contribute their talents and style to my original music. Read more about our extremely talented musicians here.
Between us we have about 229 years of combined musical experience and countless recording credits to our names. I can't begin to express how grateful I am to be able to work with such a fine group of musicians and human beings!
Since our inception we've played at some of Tasmania's best loved festivals and venues, including the Taste of Tasmania, Falls Festival Marion Bay, Party in the Paddock, the Junction Arts Festival, the Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival, the Republic bar, the Homestead, Yambu and MONA. We've supporting interstate acts like the 7-Ups, Sex on Toast and Casey Donovan, along with local Tassie legends Ruben Reeves, Boogieman and the Hobart Funk Collective. We even got to take science educator and celebrity Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki on a marching band tour of Hobart in 2018!
Since we got started we have attracted a strong and loyal following across Tasmania (check out our Facebook page here), and we continue to love sharing our music with them. We believe it's time to bring our music to an even wider audience, and that's why we're so excited to announce that we're ready to record our debut album!
We're planning to record our debut album over three intense consecutive days in April 2019 (stay tuned for the exact dates-- we're very close to locking them in!). We're planning to include at least 10 tracks on the album. We'll structure it in such a way that it leads listeners deep into a sonic garden of lush harmonies, intense grooves and other-worldly melodies. We want this album to tell a story about the value of opening your mind and your ears to different ideas and ways of being; while, of course, being irresistibly dance-able!
We're planning to use this album as a high quality tool with which to introduce ourselves and our music to radio stations, festivals, event producers, venues, other musicians and listeners across Australia and the globe. We hope that we can represent the high quality of Tasmanian/ Australian music and musicians on a big platform.
In keeping with true Afrobeat style we're going to record live-- all of us in the same room at the same time. This style of recording is seriously scary; if something screws up during a take we can't just go back and fix it like in a regular recording session. We've got to start the whole song from scratch!
The massive upside to this style of recording is that we'll be able to capture all of the energy and intensity for which we've become known. Our music is dynamic and fresh because our members have the musical skills to create value and meaning in spontaneity; we hope that from our intensive three days together we'll produce an album that expresses the deep joy that we feel when we play.
We are really lucky to be working with sound engineer extraordinaire Ivan Johnson, who will have the job of recording and mixing our album. He's been with the band since the very beginning, and knows our sound inside out. With over 20 years experience recording, mixing and sound engineering for large ensembles across Australia he's the perfect person to help us realise our vision.
We've found the perfect place to record! Long-time friends of the band and incredible Community Arts and Culture organisation Kickstart Arts have generously donated their beautiful 'Old School Room' to us for the project for FREE, and we can't begin to express our gratitude.
This room is perfect- it's big enough to fit 12 people, our instruments and our recording gear AND it's got great acoustics; meaning we'll be able to capture a really organic and warm 'room sound'.
Once we've recorded and mixed our album, we'll send it off for mastering. The next step will be to press it onto CD (Vinyl might be in the works sometime soon, but that'll have to wait for a bit), finalise album art (we're working with some wonderful artists on that right now) and launch it on all those online music platforms. We're also planning a killer launch party for later in the year in Hobart-- stay tuned!
As you can imagine, a project of this ambition and scope ain't cheap. We've been fundraising pretty hard and saving some money from our gig fees over the last 6 months to get enough money together to get the ball rolling, and we've gone a decent way towards covering some of our costs.
What we've raised so far:
- Paying our musicians for their time: $2400
- Album art and photography: $1000
- Pressing, printing and shipping the CD: $1000
- Initial advertising and promotion: $500
We've done a pretty good job so far, but we're still falling short of our goal by $3,500. We need this money to cover the costs of paying our sound engineer's fee and getting the tracks mastered.
This is the point at which we'd love to invite you to consider becoming part of our journey.
We don't create music just for ourselves; we want to share it with everyone, and we're so grateful for the support and encouragement that we have received from our listeners so far. If it wasn't for each and every one of you none of us would be able to do what we love and create the music that defines so many of our lives.
We've got some wonderful rewards to throw at you if you do decide to donate! They're all listed on this page, and we welcome you to get in touch if you have any questions about anything.
Every dollar that you can donate to this project will help us to realise our dream. Thank you so much for taking the time to consider our campaign, I can't wait to share our music with you very soon!
Risks and challenges
Like all projects this one comes with it's fair share of risks and challenges. I've listed and breifly discussed some of these below:
Budgeting: I've done a lot of research and talked to all of the major players involved in this project, but there's always a risk that I haven't budgeted enough money to cover all of my expenses. In the event that this does happen I've allocated some of my own personal savings to cover any short falls. I'm not doing this to make a huge profit, but if I can break even I'll be happy. At the end of the day I want to make a strong record of what this wonderful band has managed to create so far on our journey.
Recording: There's a very slight risk that the end result will be rubbish. We might not be happy with how we played, something might go wrong with the equipment or we might listen back to the end result and not be satisfied. If I've learnt nothing else during my musical life it's that practice and preparation are key. To that end, we meet regularly to practice together in order to refine and perfect our sound. I've assembled a crack professional team in whom I have a lot of confidence. I know that as long as we work together, continue to communicate and have a solid shared vision of our intended outcomes we'll create something of value.
Rewards: I've tried to create meaningful rewards and gifts that will hopefully satisfy our backers and also be achievable for me to deliver on time. That being said, I know that there is a lot that can go wrong, and I'd like to ask our backers to be patient in the unlikely event of a delay (should we reach our goal and get the funding!). Please know that every effort will be made to deliver your gifts on time!
What happens if we don't get funded? The Kickstarter model is structured in such a way that if we don't reach our goal in 30 days we don't get ANY money. And that eventuality would be disappointing, but OK. We are really ready to record soon (that's why we're launching the campaign now) but if we don't reach our target then we'll continue playing gigs, saving and fundraising until we do have enough money to do it. The music won't stop, and we won't stop pursuing our goals!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)