So I am finally doing it. 33 years old. My first recording. All original music, songs, improvisations, melodies, words. A collision of every genre I have ever loved, from Arabic and African, to experimental out-there af jazz, to the Mellow Bars spotify station, to cross-cultural spiritual/devotional and trance music, to the 90s grunge and R&B I grew up on. Phew.
I’ll be recording basically all the instruments on the album- oud, saz, buzuq, classical guitar, frame drums, riqq, piano, drumset and my voice.
It's ambitious, I know. But I feel pushed by something greater than me. It feels like a beautiful end to an incredible cycle of my life, including my years in Lebanon, my lovers and cherished friends, my Arabic music decade+-long emersion and my feminist-playwrite anarchist civil-rights-activist grandmother, who supported my music every moment. I grew up listening to the music of her plays, which had a lot of rap in it. Emotionally charged, beautifully honest, raw, ahead of its time, no apologies, political, fighting for the rights of women, African Americans and wartorn families. And boy, what an incredible lyricist. I hope to make her proud.
Two weeks before her passing on September 15, 2017, I had her listen to some of the album ideas I had captured on my phone. I had recorded them just a month prior in Lebanon with my musical soulmate Zaher Hamade. Myrna (my grandmother), at that point on hospice care, sends me away, back to New York. The two weeks that followed, I sat in my music studio praying for some meaning to justify my distance from her. I became overwhelmed by melodies and words. I sat at the piano, and as if incensed, spilled out 30 minutes of music. My mother called and told me, 'Myrna is nervous.' I said, 'have her listen to this, this must be for her.' Then she became calm. She let go the next day.
The process of preparing the album thus far has been overwhelming but I let Spirit keep pushing me through it. Years upon years of learned perfectionism on each instrument, but I am choosing to enjoy the process and let it be organic. Add to it bouts of sobbing and therefore inability to sing, but it's so damn real and good.
I'm so excited to share this with you soon.
Thank you to my mom, aunt uncle and cousin who supported my artistic endeavors since baby-dom, and my late father who I everyday pray he can see all the cool things I'm doing. I believe my dad and grandmother are definitely hanging out right now. <3
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On January 30 I'll be traveling to Lebanon to record, and return to the states Feb 15.
Consider your support of $25 or more a pre-order. I will make sure you are the first to obtain a copy when all is said and done, inchallah by the spring. $100 can be 4 copies for example, if you like.
The $2500 overall is mostly recording studio and engineer costs and traveling to Lebanon to work with my essential music partner there, and have access to the correct studio, instruments and sounds. It is also design and printing discs (people still like to have those! :))
$10 helps too! Whatever you can manage. Every extra dollar gives me a better sense of how much professional studio time I can book versus leaning on home recording equipment, and allows me to perhaps finish off the product in New York (hoping to do some touch ups at my man Adam's Retromedia studio in Red Bank!) to really polish it up right and get a great drum sound.
This is all just me, throwing myself out there, doing this on my own, on faith. Any support you can provide is appreciated.