The Africa Project
THE AFRICA PROJECT
Bringing together musicians who are worlds apart as an international music collaboration aiding African Education. Though The Africa Project can be compared to Bela Fleck's Throw Down Your Heart or Mark Johnson's Playing for Change, The Africa Project is different in many ways.
The Africa Project grew partly out of relationships Joe Baker created after founding Bay Recorders Organization in 2001, providing mobile services to musicians, schools, and events throughout California with on-site audio multi-track recording and "take it home" live CD's produced on site.
But there's also the family connection.
Joe's company and his brother Craig Powell's non-profit, G.I.V.EGhana Initiative for Valued Educationgrew up together. Joe wanted to see for himself what he'd only seen in photos and heard as shared stories from Ghana. In addition, The John A. Baker classroom at The Natilla School Complex in Abrafo-Odumasi in Ghana is named after Joe's father, whose donation to G.I.V.E matched by his employer Pier One Imports, went towards building new classrooms at the school. Now it was Joe's turn to step up.
Having worked with many musicians from many genres, Joe realized his relationships encompassed an entire orchestra of sound. He wanted to challenge himself by doing a project that went beyond the profit motive, one that would give back to others. He chose to use his network of musicians and associative artists to assist the children of Africa by aiding two worthy educational organizations: G.I.V.E, in Ghana, West Africa, and the Amajika Foundation in South Africa.
The Africa Project was born and on June 6th, 2010 Joe traveled to Ghana and South Africa to record musicians he'd made connections with there before returning to the U.S. to add tracks from his American musician friends.
THE AUDIO RECORDING
When Joe traveled to Africa he took along a 6 channel mobile recording rig, 3 video cameras plus basic drum, vocal, and keyboard tracks for 3 American songs, ready to receive input from African musicians.
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding celebrates the San Francisco connection.
I'll Fly Away, is a traditional gospel song written by Alfred E. Brumley, a song on which Joe was keen to hear an African interpretation.
Hello To Me, an original song written and donated by San Francisco musician Jordan Feinstein, a longtime Bay Recorders Organization recording artists and friend.
While in Africa, Joe originally recorded tracks for these 3 songs with 23 bands, 26 musicians, and 6 choirs, returning to American with 18 additional new songs donated and recorded by the participating African musicians. In the fall of 2010, Joe and his engineer Agent 19 recorded additional tracks by American musicians for the 3 original songs and the 9 new songs brought back from Africa, creating 12 original collaborations.
In November 2010, Joe concluded his audio recordings. That December the tracks were mixed by Green Robe Recordings in Elk Grove, CA and in January 2011, mastered by Aquarian Studios in San Pedro, CA.
CREATING THE DVD
During the recording sessions in Africa and America, Joe videotaped the musicians using 3 cameras. In Africa, he also shot cutaway footage at the local schools, the surrounding community, and even a national park, to be used in creating music videos for the project.
In February 2011, Joe, with assistance from Jarid Johnson of Artist Media Production (AMPsf), assembled a team of 11 editors to work on videos for the 12 songs on which Joe had recorded tracks. Each editor was given one song, the video shot of the musicians from that songs recording session, plus 350 gigs of cutaway footage. With the exception of the requirement to highlight each musician that played on the song, the editors were given artistic license, resulting in 12 unique visions.
Jarid assembled the final videos, synchronized the mastered audio, added title graphics, the films intro, credits, and outro, then completed the final preparation for DVD authoring by Rich Winter of Blackbird Digital.
Joe received his first batch of product on June 6th, 2011, 1 year to the day Joe originally traveled to Africa.
A COLLABORATION OF LOVE
Joe Baker is extremely proud to have provided complete funding for necessary out-of-pocket expense for The Africa Project, however all the musicians, audio techs, video crafts people, and artists donated their time and creativity to this project. The result is a collaboration of love that produced a package with a 17 song CD, 12 song DVD, and 16-page booklet, available for sale to aid African education. 100% of all sales profits will be split evenly between:
Ghana Initiative for Valued Education (G.I.V.E.) www.giveghana.org, an organization creating educational opportunities in Ghana, West Africa for primary and secondary school children.
Amajika Performing Arts Foundation (NCD Foundation) www.tunoke.com, a foundation on 26 campuses throughout South Africa that offers after-school care, tutoring, dance, theater, and music.
Rocky Dawuni; Ghana, a very popular reggae singer, recently nominated for a World Musician Award from NAACP and recently performed with Stevie Wonder. Rocky sings on "Hello to Me."
Tu Nokwe; South Africa, performed in the mid 1980's movie "Shaka Zulu," and sang on all 3 songs Joe originally took to Africa. She donated "Watch Out Girl," a song the Nokwe family has been singing for 60 years. Her father founded the NCDFoundation in 1978.
Philip Andu Otery; a 14 year old drummer from a central village in Ghana, playing his home made drum set out of recycled kitchen pots, pans and empty bottles.
Jestoo; Ghanian Highlife singer who heard about The Africa Project through YouTube. He sings on "Hello To Me" and donated the wonderful song "Reach Out."
Bozoe, a band originally from Zimbabwe, recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa. Donated "Izwekazi," and "Sawobona."
Intombedala uBavikile; South Africa, 70 year old woman playing a "umakhweyana" (a gord/bow/wire combo instrument from the central part of South Africa) accompanied by two young girls doing "slap dancing" with their feet.
The Bzwanyubuz Tribe of South Africa, a percussion trio, donated 2 wonderful songs, "Bana Bayalla" and "Batho Baya Ntsheya."
Inxs Herman a drummer originally from South Africa who now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has toured with Sting, Paul Simon, Hugh Masekela, and Vusi Mahlasela.
Michael Manring; USA, bassist extraordinaire and Windham Hill recording artist who performs on 4 songs.
Stephen Perkins; USA, the Jane's Addiction drummer plays on 4 songs.
Larry Kassin; USA, member of MKD, plays flute and is the founder of Noe Valley Music Series in San Francisco.
Ed Ivey; USA, tuba player from The Faraway Brothers band.
John Harrington; USA, trumpeter and founder of Delta Nove and is a studio musician.
Tom Freund; USA, plays ukulele and has performed with Ben Harper and Silo's.
James Whiton; USA, bass player currently performing with Tom Waits.
In all35 musicians, 3 bands, 2 choirs from 3 countries: Ghana, South Africa and the United States.
THE AFRICA PROJECT LIVE EVENTS
The Africa Project screening and TAP LIVE:
January 14, 2012, Brick & Mortar, San Francisco, CA
January 13, 2012, Aubergine, Sepastopol, CA
August 20, 2011, St. Cyprian's Church, San Francisco, CA (Noe Valley Music Series)
September 16, 2011, Ashkenaz, Berkeley, CA
These multi-media events will be the first Bay Area screenings of TAP and will include an evening of music organized by Jordan Feinstein, featuring musicians who performed on The Africa Project.
RECENT PRESS & ACTIVITIES
The Africa Project screened 3 days at the High Sierra Music Festival over the July 4th weekend in Quincy, CA. This was the first public screening of the film.
Peter Finch from the KFOG morning show interviewed Joe Baker, Jordan Feinstein, and Jarid Johnson for his program "Beat of the Bay" and "The FogFiles" The program aired simultaneously Saturday, July 23, 2011 on KFOG-FM, KNBR-AM, and KSAN-FM "The Bone" in San Francisco.
Joe Baker was interviewed on KALW-FM and KELC-FM in the San Francisco Bay Area
The Africa Project on Facebook
Purchase The Africa Project on cdbaby
Purchase The Africa Project on Bay Recorders Organization
Streaming interviews about The Africa Project
www.BayRecorders.org (look for the green box at the lower left of the home page)
KFOG-FM, San Francisco "Beat of the Bay" & "The FogFiles"
KALW-FM, San Francisco
KELC-FM, El Cerrito, CA
Aubergine After Dark (View)
755 Petaluma Avenue
Sebastopol, CA 95472
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|