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Dithyrambalina to Bring Musical Architecture to New Orleans

Dithyrambalina, Kickstarter, New Orleans, musical architecture, music project, the music box, Delaney Martin, Jay Pennington, Taylor Shepard, New Orleans, Swoon Airlift,

Photo by William Widmer

When you hear the words musical architecture, what comes to mind? Fictional characters? Animation? To some, the thought of transforming a large inanimate object into an instrument may be hard to imagine in real life.

But then the world, specifically New Orleans, was introduced to The Music Box. In its short run, the prototype village of musical houses hosted more than 15,000 visitors, organized educational workshops for over 500 students, and served as a stage for hundreds of musicians.

“In New Orleans, each street has its own set of sounds that define its identity. In fact, each street has its own visual language. Many people say that walking down the street in the city is like listening to jazz, with unexpected riffs of sights and a regular beat of doors and windows,” artist Caledonia “Swoon” Curry writes in a Good article.

Swoon and Delaney Martin, Taylor Shepard and Jay Pennington initially came up with the Dithyrambalina project in 2009, which led to the The Music Box. Over twenty five artists, both local and international, built The Music Box on Piety St., and numerous musicians and visitors brought the 250-year-old house turned instrument to life.

Still, the Box was only phase one of the project and Swoon and many other contributors are now focused on carrying the tune that it started by building Dithyrambalina. “We are working towards building Dithyrambalina, a campus of musical architecture dedicated to shared community experiences, outstanding performances, artistic innovation, and alternative education workshops based in a model of fiscal sustainability,” Swoon sayss.

The project was posted on Kickstarter by New Orleans Airlift on Sept. 30 and will end on Oct. 30. Nearly 600 people have backed the project, contributing more than the $50,000 goal.  People can still pledge to show their support and there are numerous awards available to backers, including digital mix tapes featuring over 50 collaborating musicians, signed photos of Mannie Fresh or Andrew WK, DIY Invented Instrument Kits by Ranjit Bhatnager, limited-edition 7″ records of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), and much more.

For more information, visit the official Kickstarter campaign.

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