Isle to Isle: Publish the Quest plays for a cause
By NATALIE JOHNSON
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter
August 24, 2010 · Updated 1:29 PM
You know that trumpet gathering dust in the back of your closet — the one you played in high school and haven’t touched since. Islander Jacob Bain wants it. He also wants the broken clarinet your uncle gave you, the drums your teenage son outgrew and the guitar you thought was a good deal at a garage sale but never learned to play.
No, Bain isn’t hoarding instruments for his popular Island band Trolls Cottage. He and his Seattle-based band Publish The Quest are collecting instruments for islands on the other side of the world. At a benefit concert on Friday, the band will collect instruments and donations to keep music alive in Cape Verde, an island country off the west coast of Africa.
Though a tourist destination, Cape Verde’s 10 Islands are also home to great poverty, Bain said. Many of its inhabitants, descendants of Portuguese colonists and African slaves, are in dire need of food and fresh water and want nothing more than to escape the heat on their tiny islands.
However, from this poverty-stricken country also comes beautiful music, a mix of traditional Portuguese and African melodies. And that music — the heartbeat of the Island nation — is what Publish The Quest hopes to help preserve as it joins forces with Project Salt, a Seattle-based nonprofit, to get instruments into the hands of musicians young and old who desire the means and the training to express themselves.
In addition to collecting instruments, Publish The Quest will use the proceeds from its Friday concert at Paradise Ridge Park to buy additional instruments that the band will personally deliver to Project Salt’s music school in Cape Verde, where they will also play at an international music festival and hold workshops for island musicians.
While the group hopes to take mostly band instruments so the school can begin a much-desired marching band program, Bain said they welcome the donation of any instrument, working or broken, from harmonicas to cowbells.
“Any and all instruments will be used to the maximum, to the point of decay,” Bain said.
Johnny Fernandes, who grew up in Africa and founded Project Salt, took another Seattle band on a similar trip to the country in 2005. He said he is excited for both experienced musicians and young beginners in Cape Verde to have the chance to learn from and even collaborate with Bain and the members of Publish The Quest.
Since he began the project about a decade ago, Fernandes has seen music, both mournful and beautiful, flourish on the Islands. “Their culture, their history, everything is passed along through this music,” he said.
What’s more, Fernandes said, the school has begun to employ Cape Verde residents, as well as turn out musicians who now make a living off of their craft.
Though Publish The Quest has already received some instrument donations through online networking, Vashon is the only place they will play a concert to collect instruments and funds for the trip. The suggested donation is $15, but Bain hopes to see a large turnout and encourages Islanders to give whatever they can.
“If people want to come and learn about it and enjoy the music, if you don’t have 15 bones don’t let that be a deterrent,” Bain said. “We welcome whatever you’ve got.”
Publish The Quest will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27, at Paradise Ridge Park. Islanders are encouraged to bring instruments they wish to donate.Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Reporter Natalie Johnson at email@example.com or 206-463-9195.