CALI TO CALI: BUILDING A RECORDING STUDIO IN CALI, COLOMBIA
Indiegogo Campaign Live 10/7 through 11/7
In January 2020, I will be traveling to Cali, Colombia to study, collaborate and record with the legendary marimba player Diego Obregón.
From Guapi, Colombia, Diego is steeped in the folkloric tradition of Colombia’s Pacific Coast music and is a creative composer. He is known as a legendary marimbero and has toured the world, living in NYC for several years playing Colombian marimba music.
Professional recording equipment is needed for Diego's home studio to make high quality recording possible for him and his community in Cali.
Having access to this professional equipment will provide opportunities for Cali's local community to record original creative projects.
There is prolific music being made in Cali, Colombia and by supporting you will help Colombians have an opportunity to record, preserve and share this innovative music.
My plan is to go to Colombia in January of 2020. I will study with Obregón at his residence four times a week, documenting the lessons with audio recording as well as with video. In February, I will make a trip to Buenaventura where I will engage in musical collaborations and deliver an African balafon to the community. Upon returning to Cali, lessons with Diego will resume.
For the duration of my stay in Colombia, we will have access to Diego’s current recording studio setup. We will record different local groups from Cali performing traditional songs, original material, and collaborative fusion.
In late February/ early March, there will be a final concert showcasing the collaborations between Diego and I with local musicians in Cali. This concert will be filmed and recorded, and made available to those who have contributed.
This is an important time for music in Colombia’s Pacific Coast. The communities that make up Colombia's Pacific Coast region have been oppressed for generations, and have received little to no help from the Colombian government until the Colombian peace treaty was signed in 1991. Only for the last 28 years has this rich culture and their music gained the recognition that they deserve.
Diego’s house is a center for the music of Colombia’s Pacific Coast. He conducts rehearsals and gives lessons there, and even has a workshop where he builds marimbas.
This endeavor will serve the community in Cali long after my visit in helping them record and document their music with pristine quality.
Professional studios are expensive, and some of the best music coming from Cali comes from communities that don’t have access to large budgets. Creating a professional quality studio in the heart of Cali would make recording more accessible for musicians that deserve to be heard.
About the money
90% of the money raised will go into purchasing recording equipment to help document the beautiful music that is happening in Colombia. The other 10% will go towards travel costs and Indiegogo fees.
Although $5,000 sounds like a lot of money, for a project of this caliber we will be operating on a tight budget and will require funding from outside of this campaign. I plan to use personal savings for this trip in addition to the Indiegogo support.
If we raise more than the full amount, we will be able to alleviate unexpected expenses, pay musicians in Cali for session work, and respond to the needs of musicians in the Pacific Coast of Colombia.
My eventual goal is to open up opportunities for musicians and groups from Colombia’s Pacific Coast to perform in the United States. This project would be one step towards making that dream a reality.
As a composer, arranger, and bandleader, I am familiar with having multiple roles and responsibilities. One of the most challenging roles to fill is the business side of the projects I am involved with. Having this support will help me tremendously in fulfilling an artistic dream, while leaving generous and valuable gifts with the musicians I’ll be collaborating and studying with. These gifts will enable the musicians in Cali, Colombia to continue to record and showcase the beautiful music that they are making with an unprecedented quality that is much deserved.
While this is an ambitious project and campaign, I hold a good track record with fundraising. I have collaborated on fundraising campaigns with TripTrip to buy new instruments for a community in Juanchaco, and have successfully launched my debut CD Tenerife (2017) using Kickstarter.
What we need
2 Audio Technica At4050 condenser Microphones
Vacuum tubes, large and small
HD MIDI Interface
Mackie Big Knob Studio Monitor Controller
Lr Baggs m80
Funds to pay musicians for session work
Zoom H4 Recorder
16 GB RAM
- In addition to raising money for equipment to conduct our own recording project, the professional quality equipment will be a gift for Diego in order to record future creative projects representing the local community in Cali, Colombia.
Detailed Description for my project proposal to travel to Cali, Colombia in January of 2020
For the Afro-Colombian population of the Pacific Coast, marimba music represents peace and resilience through generations of hardships over the past two centuries. Although relatively unfamiliar in popular culture, marimba music is recognized as an important global treasure. In 2015, UNESCO inscribed marimba music, and the chants and dance of Colombia’s South Pacific Coast, on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. With the support of this Indiegogo campaign, I propose to study and collaborate with Diego Obregon, a respected master of the Colombian marimba. I will study alongside Obregón at his residence in Cali, Colombia. My goal is to honor the musical and cultural traditions of the Afro-Colombian Pacific Coast, and to cultivate bonds between the United States and respective communities in Colombia by using musical collaboration as a medium to develop appreciation and recognition.
My research will consider a couple of major questions: How has this music influenced popular styles of music and how will it do so in the future? What possibilities are there with the combination of backgrounds?
With the support of this campaign, we have an opportunity to facilitate access for Colombians so that their musical voices are heard outside of Colombia. What kind of music is being created on the daily, without being documented and preserved? In addition to providing musicians with tangible items such as recording equipment and instruments, spending more time in Colombia will open up more opportunities for long lasting connections and cultural exchange. My research will also consider the relationship between folkloric styles native to the Afro-Colombian Pacific Coast (including currulao, bunde, and juga) and popular styles such as salsa, cha-cha-chá, rumba, cumbia, and latin rock. This will help further my professional development by increasing my knowledge of how the music of Colombia’s Pacific Coast relates to jazz and Afro-Cuban music.
My proposed campaign and research is qualified by my expertise as an active musician in San Francisco, California, as well as my international experience performing in Europe and studying music in Cuba and Colombia. My daily practice and previous experience of speaking Spanish with native speakers of Colombia, Cuba and México has prepared me for a trip of this caliber. I have collaborated with TripTrip, an ecotour company based in Cali, Colombia that takes tourists to the remote parts of the Pacific Coast region, while supporting various community and infrastructure building activities, including garbage pickup and fundraisers. In the fall of 2018, I held a fundraising concert in San Francisco where a local band played and raised money to buy a new set of traditional Afro-Colombian instruments for the children of Juanchaco so that they can continue to practice and preserve their cultural heritage. I have also collaborated with Marimbea, an organization that is committed to developing awareness of the Pacific Coast’s rich music and culture through educational workshops, retreats and private lessons. Marimba players and educators Adrian Sabogal and Ali Cuama visited San Francisco on behalf of Marimbea in October of 2018, and I assisted in setting up locations for workshops and concerts, as well as event promotion. I currently have venues (Bemusical, Bird and Beckett Books, California Jazz Conservatory) that are interested in hosting future performances and/or workshops of this type of Afro-Colombian music.
During my trip to Colombia in August 2018, I was introduced to Diego Obregón by Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda, a respected master musician. Obregón is an important composer and instrument builder, and is featured on the album ¡Arriba Suena La Marimba! (Smithsonian) with renowned marimba player Baudilio Cuama, the father of Ali Cuama.
My plan is to go to Colombia in January of 2020. I will begin studying with Obregón at his residence in Cali, Colombia four times a week, documenting the lessons with audio recording as well as with video. In February, I will make a trip to Buenaventura where I will engage in musical collaborations and interview members of the community. Upon returning to Cali, lessons with Diego will resume.
In late February, there will be a final concert showcasing the collaborations between Diego and I with local musicians in Cali. This concert will be filmed and recorded, and made available to those who have contributed. For the duration of my stay, we will have access to Diego’s home recording studio, and we will be able to record different groups representing musicians from Cali performing traditional songs and rhythms as well as original material and collaborative fusion compositions. I will post select footage and corresponding commentary on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as maintain a website blog throughout my stay. Exclusive access will be given to those who contribute during the campaign.
This campaign will not only expose me to many different communities within Colombia’s Pacific Coast region, but will encourage future collaboration outside of Colombia and will make these endeavors accessible. My experience collaborating and fundraising with independent organizations Marimbea and TripTrip has prepared me well for the subtleties and obstacles associated with this type of research.