We record and film and release to broader audiences a wealth of traditions with the artistry and technical quality necessary to foster awe and renewed curiosity about the world’s diversity of cultures - cultures which, in many cases, have never been portrayed in this way before. We invite people from the communities of the musicians to participate in this process, which gives them greater ownership over the process, and increases their sense of collective pride in their heritage, and gives them more of a voice in how their traditions and stories are being represented elsewhere.
Our vision of a world based on mutual respect and celebration of our differences informs everything we do, including our financial models, designed to keep the artists and our organization invested in each other's success. We have long considered various models, and we’ve arrived at the simplest and fairest model for our growing family of artists. We pay all of our traditional artists an initial fee, that way, even if our organization loses money on the artist’s releases, the burden is not on the artist. If and when we do recoup our costs and have net proceeds, those are split evenly between the artists and our organization.
We are cultivating a community where all participants, including remix and traditional artists, are mutually invested in each other's success.
Thanks to technology, pretty much anyone can remix any music, photo, video, object, or concept they like. This flourishing remix culture has sparked an unprecedented wave of creativity, which deeply inspired us to contribute to it an ecosystem. One which is not only more open but also economically responsible. One where source musicians share in financial rewards when their music is remixed for commercial purposes. One where growing participants engage with each other in a cultural and technological call and response and thus become increasingly curious, empathetic, and compassionate about cultures that differ from theirs. We do this to create a connection that is more human between all participants.
Otherwise we are lost.
We often hear the term ‘cultural preservation’ used by others to describe our work. We prefer the term ‘celebration.’
While we agree that there are musical traditions around the world facing a real threat of disappearing, we shy away from the term ‘preservation’ because it conjures up images of old, dead objects locked up in a museum. The musical traditions of this world are very much alive, and so our approach to ‘preserving’ them is one which recognizes that they are constantly evolving. Our role is not to mummify a tradition before it dies, but rather to find the life in these underrepresented traditions, and breathe new life into them.
Through our work, we expect not only to increase empathy and mutual respect across cultures, communities, and individuals, but also facilitate meaningful interactions among them. This commitment to fostering a meaningful cross-cultural dialogue is expected to offer each of these communities a sense of shared identity with their neighbors, near and far, by elevating their shared stories, shared rhythms, shared melodies, shared colors, and shared humanity.
Otherwise we are lost.