What is the Singing Wells project?

Singing Wells is a project jointly operated by Ketebul Music, a non profit music studio in Kenya and the The Abubilla Music Foundation, a UK registered charity.

Our goal is to preserve the music traditions of East Africa and make this music relevant to the next generation of musicians and fans.

Who works for the Singing Wells project?

Our team is made up of audio and video engineers from both Ketebul Music and Abubilla Music.  You can read about members of the team if you click here. Influences artists are professional musicians who collaborate with us on field and studio recordings.  Click here to find out about these musicians. We also rely on local liaison personnel who have direct contact with the communities we visit and an expert knowledge of local music styles. During the field recording visits we also benefit from the voluntary help of the Abubilla Music Foundation trustees and UK Project Managers.

How long have you been working on the project?

We made our first field recording on the Kenyan coast in March 2011. The Abubilla Music Foundation was granted charitable status in June 2011.We are currently preparing for our 10 year anniversary, and are doing a countdown of our Top 20 Singing Wells moments here.

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How do you discover the music groups?

To find talented and inspirational musicians and groups we rely on local fixers and musicians who spend a great deal of time researching before our visit.  They make sure that everyone locally knows what Singing Wells is about and why we are there.

Do you pay the musicians you record?

Of course – we believe that musicians should be paid for their time performing for us. We pay a recording gratuity on the day of the recording. This amount varies based on a number of factors such as the number of members in the group and the number of songs we record.

In the event of any music we record making money directly (through sales, sync licensing or performance royalties) we will endeavour to channel this money back to the original performers.

Can I buy the music you have recorded?

A selection of our music is available to download from our site. We have one album of music from each trip, and we hope to curate albums of particular styles and instruments soon. To browse our albums, head over here.

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Where does the money to support Singing Wells come from?

We invite financial contributions from private donors and corporate sponsors and seek grants from NGOs. Donations and grants are administered by The Abubilla Music Foundation.  Donors may support specific parts of the project – a particular field visit perhaps. For example, in 2011 we received a grant from the Institute of International Education to record the music of the Batwa in Uganda.  Click here to find out more about donations to Singing Wells.

You can also donate to Singing Wells via our YouTube channel.  Each music video has a donation button associated with it and you can donate £1, £5, £10,£20 or £50 to help support a music group you particularly like.  Find us on YouTube here.

If I support you where will the money go? How do I know it will be well spent?

Donations to Singing Wells can be made through The Abubilla Music Foundation. Your donation will be restricted for use in East Africa to support the project goals.  You can specify just how much you would like to spend and on what. For example, you could sponsor a song, a group or a whole field recording day during our next field visit in East Africa. Or you could sponsor one of our annual CD/DVD collections.  Either way, we guarantee that your money will be spent on the ground in Africa. (Note: representatives of Abubilla Music who work on the project are either volunteers or are personally funded.  No third party donor money is used to support their expenses).

Who owns the Singing Wells recordings?

The ownership of the original songs remains with the performers who receive a performance gratuity from Singing Wells.  They give consent for us to publish the material on the Singing Wells website and other digital media which is free to access.  Any money received from the sale or commercial use of Singing Wells recorded material will be donated back to the project via The Abubilla Music Foundation and wherever possible royalties will be paid to the original performers.  New Influences material is jointly owned by Ketebul Music and Abubilla Music.  Profits arising from the sale of Influences material will be used to support the artists and music projects and aspiring musicians in East Africa.

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Can I help in some way?

We’d love it if you could help – be in in drumming up publicity for our cause or offering to perform some post production of our material. Maybe you could help with our fundraising efforts. Please get in touch and let us know how you would like to help.

Will you come and record my band?

We have a schedule and a plan for the next 3 or 4 field visits to East Africa, so any groups we record would have to be within designated areas where we plan to travel.  We’d love to hear from anyone with new suggestions for field visits.

Can I join you on your next recording trip?

Please get in touch if you would like more information about where are travelling with Singing Wells in the future.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with us by email here: info@singingwells.org

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