Background: Throughout the world there are communities seeking to improve their quality of life but facing financial barriers to undertaking development efforts.
Many of these communities also produce unique music which could produce profits if it were marketed to an international audience. Community Voice International is based on the idea that the sales of these communities' music can and will generate the seed money to fund the development efforts desired by community members.
Pilot Project: In order to prove the concept that local music can be recorded and sold to fund local development projects, Community Voice International is currently implementing a pilot project. This pilot will execute the model on a small scale, helping just a handful of communities. Later, based on the evidence from the pilot, the model will be scaled up to help communities all over the world fund their development work.
After many months of planning, relationship-building, recording, copyrighting, mixing, and mastering, we are incredibly proud and excited to announce the release of the first recordings from our partner communities!
They are also available on CD Baby (here and here):
In the weeks to come, the albums will begin appearing on the iTunes store, Amazon, Spotify, and many more places. We are very excited about this milestone and the opportunity it represents for our partner communities.
Community Voice International is very proud to announce phase two of our pilot project. Building on the work we’ve accomplished in Senegal with Peace Corps Volunteer Joshua Snyder, Community Voice’s founder will travel to Senegal this April to meet with at least seven more partner communities, record their music, and sell the recordings to generate funds for each community’s development projects.
We are calling phase two “Music for Development” and are proud to continue collaborating with Peace Corps volunteers. We are also excited to be partnering with communities which have worked with Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program, have identified development goals but face financial barriers to achieving them, and perform local music they wish to transform into a funding source.
In order to fund this phase of our pilot project, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Please take a look at our campaign, consider funding us (there are some fantastic music-related incentives for our backers), and spread the word about our project. Thank you very much!
How does Community Voice International work? For a long time we have been looking for a fun and easy way to help explain what we do and how our model works. So, we created this infographic-ish one-pager to help communicate that. Please take a look at it and pass it along to your friends.
For Community Voice International, this is fantastic news! If we could secure just 1% of this market, our partner communities would generate over $80,000 in funding for their development efforts. Plus, these statistics are only for the United States; there are huge audiences for “World” music globally. Numbers like these hint at the huge potential for success Community Voice has moving forward.
We’re excited to share this photo taken by our Peace Corps Volunteer partner, Joshua Snyder in Thiaraguene Cognadji during the recording session there. The copyright agreements and recording mixes are nearly complete. That means we’re getting very close to selling our partner community members’ fantastic music and generating a new stream of income for their community-driven development work.
We have been sending out smaller updates through our facebook page but thought we would post an overview of some of the big news here, too. Community Voice International and its work keep moving forward every day. Here are just a few of the things we have been doing:
Through the generosity of the intellectual property law whizzes at Waters and Associates, we currently have copyright agreements in the field. These agreements are pretty innovative because they give the copyrights to the community and allow Community Voice to serve as the community’s agent. This is a departure from other entities which have recorded traditional music and stripped the local people of any rights. Community Voice firmly believes that the music belongs to the people, and our job is to connect performers and audiences, assisting the community to generate funds in the process.
Our passionate Board members are meeting for the first time December 6, 2012. These five hard-working folks from five different states are meeting using video chat technology to discuss the initial phases of Community Voice International’s institutionalization and plan for the future. This is an incredibly exciting step forward.
We are finishing up a comprehensive organizational plan. This will be a major asset as we continue to collaborate with partner communities, seek funding, and expand the scope of our work beyond the initial pilot phase.
Our thanks go out to all of you for your interest and support.
After many months, Community Voice International is proud and excited to present the first two Partner Communities of our pilot project: Thiaraguene Wolof and Thiaraguene Cognadji. The following map shows the approximate location of both villages (they neighbor one another).
The village of Thiaraguene Wolof is home to about 125 people. They have a few small boutiques selling cooking oils and other staples. The short-term development goals of the village include:
Organizing the local women’s group to support microenterprise
Developing low-cost, high-value products to sell at the local weekly market
Expanding craft industries to create sources of supplemental income
The first songs recorded in the village are:
Beggel Ci Barada Bi: a love song about making tea for someone special.
Sangara Dunyuko Jaay Dolle: a cautionary song about alcohol and the way that even the strongest, most powerful person can suffer from alcoholism.
About 25 people call the small village of Thiaraguene Cognadji home. The village maintains a community garden and has a steady source of water. Short-term development projects include:
Machines for processing grain
The expansion of a women’s garden
The investment in tools to expand the women’s and community gardens
Thiaraguene Cognadji’s first recordings are:
Tharenga Tabledena: about not caring what people say around you and being able to always move forward. The singer notes that there will always be people who will disagree with you but you should avoid fighting and violence.
Xakeula Ndene Douxo Liwou: about a father upset with his son because the son is not working, not looking for work, and doing nothing.
Penerena Bare Guana Feuda: tells the listener that you can make light but don’t burn anything. Much of the song is done in a joking manner.
We are incredibly happy to be working with the members of these two communities and have just a bit more work to accomplish before we can sell these tracks. Thank you, again, to Joshua Snyder from Peace Corps, Senegal!
After lots of hoping—and even more work—we are incredibly pleased to share with you the first video clip of our recording process. This video shows Peace Corps Volunteer Joshua Snyder making the first Community Voice recording in central Senegal. Once we get these recordings mixed and ready to go, we’ll let you know how you can go about purchasing them to support the development efforts in this partner community.
Oh, and just like the lady in the video, if you feel like dancing, don’t be shy!
Once again, Community Voice International’s Peace Corps Volunteer Partner Joshua Snyder has run into an unfortunate speed bump, but his continued tenacity has triumphed. The memory card holding the first four recordings for the Community Voice pilot project was stolen. Joshua returned to our partner communities, explained the situation, recorded five new tracks, shot video, and took dozens of photos. We are excited to share the fruits of his labor with you soon.