Hot Buttered Rum Headed To Africa To Study, Record, Film


Though very much an American string band, San Francisco's Hot Buttered Rum has long had roots in African music, mingling the original Motherland inspirations with their modern take on acoustic music. Now the band is making a full leap into learning and recording in Africa early in 2011. In January, Nat Keefe and his comrades and friends will assemble in Ghana. To find out more about this exciting adventure (and perhaps donate the much-needed funds to make it all happen) pop over here.

Here's a mission statement from Keefe:

Nat Keefe by Josh Miller
A decade ago I traveled to Ghana, West Africa and found the missing piece of my musical education. In studying drums, xylophone, palmwine guitar, dancing, and singing, I found the roots of, and a new perspective on, some of my favorite music. Oldtime banjo, Stravinksy, James Brown, Radiohead, all of this music has roots still resonating in West Africa.

It was an "a-ha" moment for me, which has changed everything since. I wrote symphony, choir, and percussion ensemble pieces based on Ghanaian rhythms. I returned to Ghana and filmed a documentary and recorded a disc of field recordings. I started a benefit project for an orphanage in Accra. With my brothers in Hot Buttered Rum, I created a fresh approach to American string band music. Things have not been the same for me since my trip to Ghana!.

This January I am returning to Ghana to record an album with Ghanaian musicians and American musicians from Hot Buttered Rum, ALO, Poor Man's Whiskey, Elephant Revival, and Izabella. This will be a masterwork of sorts for me, bringing together music, community and service. Let me explain the scope of the trip. There are three phases:.

First, I'll spend the first part of January alone in Ghana paying respects to old friends and making arrangements for the rest of the trip. Then, on January 18 my American colleagues are arriving in Accra. This will include Erik Yates, Lucas Carlton, Eli Jebidiah, Bonnie Paine, Audio Angel and Murph Murphy. I invited each of these artists to come for a week of workshops, cultural exchange, and service. Together we'll learn music and dance from Ghanaian masters, and share our own music with people in the capital city of Accra and the beach village Keta. The group will do service projects in each city and music sharing in schools. The week will be filmed and made into a movie by Eli Jebidiah..

After our workshop, we'll record for several days in Accra. I'll also do some more recording when I'm back in California. I'm going to produce an album of shining collaboration with American and African musicians that can stand beside any great music. I've got the songs, the vision, and the organizational skill to put the pieces together. It will be passionate, accessible, fun music that will find an audience in and beyond the Hot Buttered Rum world.

This album will bring together elements of Ghanaian music and Bluegrass music, all tied together with my Americana-style songwriting. It will bring together luminaries from Ghana and the States alike. It has taken a decade of experience to be in a place to do this, and I'm going to work tirelessly to bring it to fruition. All of the workshop participants are paying their own way. I am paying for my travel expenses. The place I need support is in the production of the album. While all these elements are aligned, I want to be able to do things right and produce the project with tools in my hand. I don't have the resources myself to make this happen. So I'm asking for people who believe in this idea to help make it happen, in a variety of ways.

Once again, if you would like to help bring this dream to fruition head over here and share what you can.

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[Published on: 12/8/10]

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