A close friend of ours was in Haiti, just outside Port-au-Prince when the quake struck.

Natural disasters happen all the time, I know.  But in this case, my friend was there, and it took us a day or so before we learned that she was (thankfully) okay.  During that day, we were all glued to the television (and to the internet and Twitter, but that’s an entirely different story), and thus we were struck by the devastation we were witnessing.  At one point I heard a commentator note that there were hundreds of dead on every block in Port-au-Prince.

We had, of course, immediately made our donations to Yele and to the Red Cross, and made sure all our friends did the same.  But it seemed like somehow that was not enough.

I have this record company now, I thought. We could do more.

One of the cool things about being as small as we are is that we can pretty much do what we want.  And since so much of what we do is digital, online, I realized that we could probably get a benefit compilation together pretty quickly.

I reached out to Ralph and Brian of Stuyvesant, and they immediately said yes.  Take any tracks you want.

I asked Jim and Lenny of Jenifer Convertible, and they said the same thing.  So did Doug and Steve from Cuppa Joe, and Adam from The Mommyheads.

And then we cast the net a bit wider.  And even wider, still.

Pretty soon I was reaching out to bands I didn’t know, but bands I loved. I’d introduce myself – a guy they’d never met and likely never heard of; all these young whipper-snappers were in grade school when we were in our heyday, and most of them have never heard of us.  They have no idea who we are, what our ethics are, what we’re like as people.  As far as they’re concerned, I’m just another guy, leeching onto them, asking them for something.

Funny, though.  Most of them said “yes” anyway.

I think artists are, in general, generous people.  They understand that their creativity has value, and that a few hours of their work can make an enormous difference in somebody’s life.

So last Saturday morning – just three or four days after we had the idea – I sat on my living room couch, broken leg and all, reading all the “yes” emails from bands all over the world.  Moviola, from Ohio.  The Gena Rowlands Band, from DC.  There Will Be Fireworks, from Scotland.  The Neutron Drivers, from right here in Jersey.

I was blown away by the response.

There’s a Haitian proverb that goes “Men anpil, chay pa lou.” I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it looks beautiful.  And what it says is even more beautiful.  It says “Many hands make the load lighter.”

That’s what the Haitian people need now.  They need many hands, to help make their unbearable load just a bit lighter.

And so if everything goes well, next week we will be releasing Make The Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti.  All proceeds will go to benefit Voice of Haiti, a charity that’s been doing work in Haiti since 2005, and a charity we haven’t been able to get in touch with, probably because they’re all volunteers and they’re in the middle of a humanitarian disaster.

Stay tuned, this is all coming together very quickly.  But we hope to have the entire compilation available on our site for download – and on iTunes, eMusic and all the other retailers shortly thereafter.

Keep coming back for track lists, availability, and all that.

~ by Al on January 25, 2010.

2 Responses to “haiti.”

  1. I’m at work catching up on all things Dromedary and had a question for you. What is the difference (if any) between buying this album directly off of this website and going to someplace like iTunes or eMusic or something and buying it from them? Is there a middleman fee that they would charge?

    I’m in the middle of listening to the album a second time (my commute isn’t nearly as long as it was when I was in Chicago so my music-listening time is cut drastically) and loving it.

    I’m so proud of what you are doing and how quickly this has all come about. Not just this particular album but rebooting the business as a whole. Many many MANY congrats. I wish I could help out in some way. Be a part of this awesome story.

    Have you considered a Dromedary podcast? A way of constantly updating the story and the goings-on and introducing the music and bands in the fashion of almost having your own radio station? Just a thought…

  2. […] friend Al Crisafulli from Dromedary Records put together a digital download comp titled Make The Load Lighter to benefit survivors of the […]

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