We think this one’s going to be the hit single

I’m in India for about ten days working on a project with my university colleague Jez Collins and my New Music Strategies partner, Ian Wallman. We’re in Delhi recording an album with the Music Basti project.

Music Basti is an amazing group of smart, motivated and talented young people who arrange music workshops in homes for children affected by abuse, homelessness, abandonment and extreme poverty. Jez and I met Faith Gonsalves and some of her team when we were in India back in November for Un-Convention.

I had the idea to record the children singing and release it as a fundraising online album project – and use that whole process as a piece of research. I’m interested in how telling the story of the project through videoblogging, capturing the process and doing interviews contributes to how people connect with and value the recordings.

Jez and Ian with some of the Music Basti volunteers, led by Faith (left).

Available from a computer near you
The album will be released via Bandcamp as a ‘pay what you want’ download – from completely free to infinity pounds (dollars, rupees, etc). I’d like to think that when people watch the videos, get to know the kids and understand how these lives are changed through music, they’ll tend to be more generous than they ordinarily would be when getting music online.

I’m also keen for the project to serve as an example of the kind of thing that can be done reasonably simply with cheap and available technologies. Jez and I are using Flip video cameras (around £100 each) to shoot the video footage – and Ian is using a couple of microphones and a stereo digital recorder to capture the songs ‘in the field’. I’d be very keen for other organisations to take this idea and repeat it, develop it further or use it as a springboard into other ideas.

There’s a bit of technical know-how involved, but I’ve made sure to record Ian talking through the details of the recording process.

We’ve had a full-on few days of recording in the homes in 44 degree heat, but we’ve also managed to find time for some great food, monkey battles and a little bit of sightseeing.

Today’s a bit of a quiet day. We’re spending some time in the Music Basti office regrouping, using the (frustratingly intermittent) internet to upload videos and just chill out a bit with some air-conditioning.

You can find out lots more about the project here on the Dubber and Jez blog or follow @dubberandjez on Twitter.