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For Notespeak, Peace Is The Word

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Forthcoming Project Merges Poetry & Music to Advance Stories of Inspiration & Compassion.
Lisa Simmons and Marco Cremaschini have announced that they are raising funds on IndieGoGo for NoteSpeak, a unique collaboration that intertwines poetical and musical forms to raise awareness of real-life triumphs and struggles around the world. NoteSpeak will explore creative paths formerly established by such artists as The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron, and Brian Jackson, but venture down contemporary avenues to address current topics of which many remain unaware.

Based in Garda Lake, Italy, Simmons and Cremaschini are primary forces behind the band Hippie Tendencies, which has released two albums that blend funk, jazz, and African styles into uniquely soulful and deep grooves. Their cover of “Here’s to You/The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti,” which recants the execution of two Italian immigrants wrongly convicted for murder during a 1920 armed robbery in Massachusetts, has been picked up by Amnesty International’s #herestoyou campaign. “The racism shown Sacco and Vanzetti in America is comparable to the racism consistent with many Italians’ treatment of immigrants arriving in Italy today,” Simmons suggests.

They will be joined in NoteSpeak by, among others, violinist Laura Masotto and vocalist Machan Taylor, whose soprano has graced recordings and performances by Sting, Pink Floyd, and George Benson. Additional musicians from jazz and other arenas who continue to join the project will be subsequently announced.

“We’re convinced of its relevance as an original observation driving from our own unique experience (as each of ours is) of the world today; and in particular we are trying to call attention to some phenomena of which many are unaware, such as the heartrending tragedy of Samia Yusef Omar’s story, or what it feels like to have a degenerative disease which causes peripheral vision loss (commonly referred to as ‘tunnel vision’), with the difficulty that that brings, particularly with the prejudice and public perception,” Simmons explains. “All the stories are not tragic or overwhelming—yet each one, we hope, is compelling.”

Musically and vocally, NoteSpeak consistently changes, shifting from style to style – acoustic jazz solos into hip-hop beats into harmonized gospel vocals into electronic jazz and fusion into free verse rhyming—and yet seems to constantly groove. Simmons' delivery swims in the deep waters connecting Nina Simone to Jill Scott, completely obliterating the line between vocalist and poetess: Warning like a mother lioness, whippersnapping through urban haunts, and curiously wondering about it all.

“I find in writing songs that I’m often walking that thin line – I’m trying to make a personal, individual experience universal,” suggests Simmons. “In NoteSpeak, we’re giving ourselves the freedom to just tell these stories with as much craft and beauty and compassion as we can muster.”

Contributors to NoteSpeak can select from several musical perks based upon their contribution level.

This campaign runs until Thursday, May 19, 2016.

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