July 2019 "The Campaign Begins and The Myth of Independence"
At long last, it has begun. My audacious dream, a musical and literary project drawn from my journey into my family's past and connections in the present, is becoming reality, and I would treasure your help in making it (see below). Being an avid student of history, however, demands from me first a few moments of reflection.
On our nation's 243rd birthday I find myself profoundly conflicted. Many of us are torn by the deeply disturbing situation on our southern border, and the spectre of a national holiday celebrating our cherished American ideals being replaced by what appears to be a militaristic campaign rally. It is hard to for me reconcile my pride in our country with some of what is being done in our name. But it is making me reflect deeply on what it means to be American, and to be human, about our lofty values, and how we treat each other. I'd wager that were any of us wearing the shoes of families fleeing danger and depravity in perhaps the only home we'd ever known, we might be pretty distraught about our condition and that of our family. Perhaps by now we'd be developing a lingering resentment and hatred towards those who'd perpetrated it upon us in our time of dire need. Whatever our individual feelings might be about those seeking asylum here, surely being American must mean that we can treat these desperate huddled masses with some human dignity - and most especially the children and highly vulnerable among them.
Again I am pondering the meaning of that word independence, a cherished and revered concept here in the "Land of Liberty." That somehow one can make do for oneself with a minimum of aid or assistance. As an "independent" artist, this word is pure mythology, for each of us is utterly dependent upon those who are consumers of our art in order to produce more art and be able to somehow sustain ourselves.
So as you'll see below, this dependent artist is asking for your help to produce Treasures in My Chest, an album and companion book. While it has coalesced around my incredible family journeys, experiences and present-day connections, I'm really excited about using them to inspire you to appreciate and explore the many treasures in your chest, even if they may be largely unknown to you. Thank you for letting me share it with you, and for taking the time to explore the highlights for yourself.
As we enjoy our rituals with family and friends this holiday, may we all find ourselves some moments to contemplate anew the struggles of our immigrant ancestors, the meaning of our principles and symbols like the Constitution and Lady Liberty, and above all to engage in our whole human community.
The beautiful graphic design concept by Stilson Greene.
The campaign has begun! While we are grateful to already be near 50% of our funding goal to make the album and companion book, this is by far Andrew's most ambitious and expensive project in his 25-year career. You can simply order the album and book in advance, consider underwriting an essential project component, or perhaps have Andrew help you make the most of your DNA results. We even offer an interactive evening of sharing some family stories from you and your friends followed by a concert!
We made a cool short video to help explain the project and campaign. If you're interested in seeing our daily updates (including as we start in the studio Friday), please follow our campaign page, and thanks for sharing it with anyone who might be interested. What is as deeply gratifying as the financial support is how many people are emotionally invested in seeing this project come to life. We hope that you will be too.