In his own words, Darryl Yokley describes his project. “We are almost ready to release our upcoming album, Pictures at an African Exhibition, but we need YOUR help to reach our last few steps! Please check out our campaign, to see what we are doing and how you can be a part of our creative process! I’ve put up some perks that you will find to be very interesting, including signed copies of the album, prints of the art work, as well as art and music commissions and more! Let’s make this album come to life together!
The campaign is winding down! Check it out. We would love to have you back us.
Sound Reformation and I have been performing this music for about the past three years with my regular band consisting of Zaccai Curtis on piano, Luques Curtis on bass, Wayne Smith, Jr. on the drums, and our special guest Nasheet Waits on the drums. The project has grown each time we have performed the music; and we recently documented the music over the course of a year from 2015-2016, first with recording the small group, and then with the wind ensemble. Finally, each piece of music is accompanied by an original work-of-art work, created by London based artist David Emmanuel Noel.
Now in the final phase we are hoping to raise funds for the mixing, mastering, packaging, and distribution, as well as promotional and marketing cost. With certain levels of contributions, you will be able to receive some amazing perks, such as early copies of the album, signed copies of the album, prints of the art work, and more! This project is 100% completely independent and while our desired target mark is $6,000, if we do not reach this cost we will still put all contributions towards the completion of this project. If we are fortunate enough to receive more than our desired cost we will use these funds to promote the album to the best of our ability to make it a success; and if we receive further funding from this campaign it would go towards the budget for recording the second part of this music and arts collaboration.
With art programs across the country constantly taking budget cuts and some being removed from the schools, I am hoping this project will be able to come to fruition to serve as an example for younger generations to come as to what is possible, if they use their creative powers. In this project, I have drawn inspiration from African art and music, jazz music, classical music, as well as the artwork of David, and other visual artists and much more to create this jazz symphony. I am also hopeful that with the themes we’ve explored in this project we can see that although we all have differences in our various cultures across the world, we all have more in common than we have differences.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope you will find this project deserving of your support. Even if you are not able to donate at this time, even spreading the words to friends and family about this project, it would be most appreciated and hopefully garner more support to bring it to life. Once again, thank you.”
I had an opportunity to speak with Darryl and David about the project. The interview was both insightful and engaging. Check out the interview below.
Tell us about your fundraiser for the Pictures at an African Exhibition.
DY: This fundraiser is to help us finish our second album, Pictures at an African Exhibition. We have many great rewards for those who donate to the campaign including early copies of the album, signed copies of the album, the new album plus the old one, combinations of these and more . . . and that’s just with the music. Then, we get to the art work and there’s even MORE options! It’s really an art lovers dream! The proceeds will help us pay for mixing, mastering, packaging, distribution, and promotion.
Tell me about the art prints you’re offering in the rewards. What can backers expect?
DN: Most of the work is an interpretation of Darryl’s titled tracks. Limited prints of all my work, including pieces inspired by the album, are available. Moreover, I am available for bespoke commissions for donors providing substantial contributions. A full account of the rewards is available on the crowdfunding page.
DY: We are mainly promoting the artwork from the album, but it is not limited to that. If you love the artwork from the album, and would like to explore David’s wonderful work, even more, I encourage donors to do so! I’m sure donors will agree upon exploring David’s work that there is no shortage of great works to choose from.
DN. Most of the work was created with the album in mind. To be honest, this is a portfolio in progress and will probably continue as a theme-of-work beyond completion of the album. The artwork is through the recognisable lenses of figurative and contemporary work, but other pieces form a more unconventional and abstract recognition, where the use and expression of colour, something historically associated with the continent and Diaspora is the prominent feature. As an avid jazz fan, my work is produced in a studio, where the music is the backdrop, influencing every stroke of a brush and fusion of colours on each canvas. The paintings are my visual interpretations and dialogue with each track. I encourage viewers to explore the connection between the music, colour, motion, and energy. That way, you’ll find the images marry with many, if not all, the musical compositions.
DY: I believe the art pieces chose David, just as the music chose me. And it’s quite amazing that, in some cases, David came up with more than one great interpretation per musical track that is a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have options, but it’s going to be hard to choose between many quality works.
I love the idea of blending art with music. There is an interest in seeing this combination. What are your thoughts on his?
DY: I think artists should reach across the aisle more often, and draw inspiration from other artistic outlets. This project was inspired by Modest Moussurgsky’s orchestral work Pictures at an Exhibition, where he wrote a symphony after being inspired by paintings of one of his close friends.
DN: The arts should be fluid enough to fuse the more recognised mediums. The very existence of the creative sector and the industry depends on the artist’s ability to reinvent, challenge and influence how or what we communicate and what medium. I think it’s particularly important, when we discuss the African Diaspora and exploit mediums we do control to fully understand the continent’s people, its history, influence and the world’s interdependence on a landmass, with over one billion people. The capturing of a continent’s milestones, from the celebration of life and execution of cultural creativity, to human struggle and emancipation of a Diaspora, needs to be told in an amalgam of ways. Music and paintings serve each other well in exploring how we react emotionally to the album’s theme.
My contribution forms my own Black European perspective on aspects of African history, the continent and its peoples. Within the confines of the album tracks, the work is an interpretation of the continent’s spirit, its growth from the cradle of civilization to a mature, but exploited and hugely vulnerable mass, scarred by consistent and violent approaches of foreign powers as parasites, feeding on its natural wealth and human resources.
Yet, the continent survives, growing in resistance and encouraging its children to be the architects of a Diasporas renaissance, celebrating all is has and will be; forever great. It is has an emotional pull and the album/project appeals and addresses this.
As I mentioned, I would like to extend this as a theme of my work; the subject matter is a portfolio in itself. With Darryl, it would be nice to see this exhibited and performed in different locations in both the US and Europe. It is a project that Darryl could explore further, introducing perhaps other artistic mediums, such as dance or spoken word to accommodate other artistic interpretations.
We love the idea you included concert tickets as a reward. Tell us more about the concert. What could a backer expect?
DY: Well, that’s the great thing about this reward. It can be ANY concert of the purchaser’s choice. It’s limited to the Tri-state area essentially, because that’s where we are based so it would be hard for me to promise it to people not in the area and have them waiting a long time for us to come to their city.
You’re still a ways from your funding goal. Do you have any additional plans to raise funds?
DY: Yes we are unfortunately a ways a way. The campaign is set to end this Saturday, but if we don’t reach our goal by then I have the option to extend it an additional 15-days so readers of this article . . . it won’t be too late! We are hoping with more exposure through social media and by word-of-mouth, we will be able to make our goal. We’re down, but we’re not out yet!
Is there anything else you would like to say about the campaign?
DN: It’s both an honor and pleasure to collaborate with Darryl and his talented colleagues. It’s humbling to have been invited to contribute to the making of the album. The experience of fundraising for arts projects can be troublesome, but equally rewarding when progress is made and you accomplish something unique and worthwhile. This is something I am definitely proud to be associated with, and I hope contributors to the campaign will feel the same way.
Thank you for your time. I wish you much success with your campaign! If you would like to contribute, please visit their IndieGoGo campaign and make a donation.
Connect with Darryl and David:
Campaign contributions can be made at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pictures-at-an-african-exhibition-album-funding-music-art#/
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