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Sounds Like Van Spirit: Europe's Pavement Melodies

A sound engineer, a van, 2 years, 25 countries, MANY street musicians. 1 Album. 1 Book. 1 Movie.

About the project

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Hi my name is Marten Berger, and I gave myself a mission. I wanted to bring the European Continent a little closer together just with an old rusty van and a bunch of microphones. The ideas was to find the best street musicians from all around Europe, record their music, and share their stories with the world. 2 years and 25 countries later it is finally done. A Collection of Europe's Pavement Melodies.
Released as vinyl, book, and full length documentary movie.

 

"You have to do it because you love it"

This is probably the most important lesson that, spending two years with incredible street musicians from many different countries, has taught me.
I want to take you on that journey once more, so that you can see what I saw, feel what I felt, learn from the mistakes I made and experience the authentic art of true musicians and listen to what they have to say. 

HOW DOES IT SOUND? 

Check out this playlist (click on the top right corner to see all other videos that are published already)
 

 

Let's make a statement

I think that an album with street musicians from 25 countries, that mostly play original music and that are still totally of the radar of the music industry, is a very powerful message for this world.
I think it shows us that we don't have to only look at big stages and TV shows to find incredible artists, and it shows us that sometimes "imperfection" is the only ingredient missing in order to make something "perfect".

So let's bring this album to life and connect an entire continent through music so pure and rough, we may have ignored a thousand times before.

Of course buying the album helps a lot! But above that I need your help to spread the word.
I created this Dropbox folder for you where you find Pictures and Van Session Previews ready to share on social media.
Why don't you go ahead and share your favourite artist?

If you are interested in writing about this project, please check out this presskit and feel free to use whatever you need.
 

Have a look behind the scenes


The one busker it all started with in 2014. (From left to right: Jarin Lourens (assistant), Me, Christiaan, Christiaans' Daughter)

Beach recording Session in Valencia with BOANAE from the Netherlads

The van: Studio, Kitchen, Bedroom and Exploration Vehicle all in one.

Ljutri Busking in Ljubljana (Slovenia)

"Primitive Spaghetti Blues" with The Hot Teapots from Verona, Italy with their own song "Dirty Stomp"

Late night recording session of with TIES in Lisbon for his own EP

Beautiful musical vanlife moments with ANAE

"YOU ARE HERE TO CREATE" Self-Reminder on why I am living in this van
 



 

What are the funds for?

What is the money for?

The big work is done. Now I want to share it with the world. In form of a Documentary Movie, BOOK(let), Vinyl and more.
And to get the album printed and the movie online I need your help to start the production process.

Documentary Movie Stream

I didn't have a script when I first began my journey
I simply taped everything I found interesting. Only after having filmed every recording session, dozens of interviews, landscape sceneries, road trip diaries, ups and downs, serious and stupid moments I decided to turn this experience into a full length 2 hour documentary style movie.

Vinyl

CDs are dead and vinyls are back
I’m happy to share with you the 20 hottest tracks, recorded from all over Europe presented onto two 12” inch Vinyl Disks. Including a digital album version, which will be downloadable right after the campaign ends. 


 

BOOK(let)

This is what you wanna get!
There is too much I wanna share that cannot fit into a standard sized booklet. So, it’s got to be an extended booklet.
Actually, a 250 page, full color “BOOK(let)” which will include a digital album version, comprised by the songs of the vinyl and also, all other songs I recorded throughout the two years, but didn’t fit on the vinyl disks.
In the BOOK(LET) you’ll find many behind the scenes of the journey, beautiful pictures, a place for all songs including the lyrics, extracts from interviews and much more.
(written in English)

Cassette Tape

Imagine a road trip in a van that is older than you

Just you, your lover or best friend and new land ahead of you to explore.
No CD player or bluetooth radio miles around you. Just your trusted tape deck.
And that’s the exact reason why this album will be released on tape, too.
Limited Edition!

Vinyl + BOOK(let) Bundle

Everything Bundle



You are helping others too!

50% of all profit from all album sales will go directly to charity

"Sounds Like Van Spirit" has always been a completely independent one-man-operation, and my goal was to always help artists reach a bigger audience. Unfortunately, I don't have the means to take over the royalty administration for over 50 musicians on my own. Especially since some of them don't even have a bank account and with others, most of the times, I communicated with improvised sign language. This is why I agreed, with every participating artist, that 50% of all profit from all album sales will support a charity that commits itself to making the world a better place through music and musical education. And I believe I have found the most suitable partner for this, "musicians without borders".

About the project owner

MY MISSION

During my third year studying MediaMusic in the Netherlands, I encountered a Dutch busker that changed the way I perceived street music. His voice and music was so raw and pure, I haven't felt many times before. His guitar was slightly detuned and he didn't play his instrument in a virtuosic way. Yet, it were these imperfections that caught me.

I felt that his music had to be heard and offered to him to record his album. And just a few weeks later we met at my university's studio to do so. It was the beginning of a special friendship for me. 
Months passed and I couldn't stop thinking about how cool it would be to do this not just in the Netherlands, but everywhere. The world seemed to big and Holland too small.

Being German and living in the Netherlands I couldn't decide where I wanted to start my professional life after university and wanted to see more places of this world before making that choice. This was the perfect opportunity for me to travel and take my job and passion with me, and that's how the "SoundsLikeVanSpirit" idea was born.

An idea of connecting people and countries through songs, played by musicians which you probably have never heard of and so I turned my idea into a personal mission. 

I bought an old ice cream truck, converted it into a rolling recording studio with a bed and kitchen. Found a few sponsors that helped me to get started and then terminated my apartment's contract to start my journey of recording street musicians from every corner of Europe.

It has taken me a year longer than I thought and I wasn't sure if I could finish it. But now, 2 years later I proudly present to you "Sounds Like Van Spirit – A Collection of Europe's Pavement Melodies".

I am deeply thankful for all the incredible artists I've met during my journey that not only showed me their art, but also let me into their lives, sharing friends, meals and incredible moments.

I've tried my best to pass on that feeling to you through an album that is hand-crafted with love and a book(let) that lets you look behind the music and experience this journey from the inside out.

Who is also involved?

"Sounds Like Van Spirit" has always been a personal project of mine. However it would have been impossible to finish my mission without the help of countless friends and family members that supported me with, expertise, encouragement and many hours of hard work. Thank you a lot!

Last not but least this project is about music, and I am so grateful I could the last two years of my life with incredible talented musicians, that always treated me always like a dear friend, wherever I went. This is an experience I will never forget.

Musicians Participated:

Christiaan Mauer, Frederik Konradsen, Morten Vestergaard, Kristoffer Birkedal, ANAE, Winnie Christian, Mind Us, Peer Hellberg, JUHA, Karin Tytär, Infidelix & Mario, Alpine Dweller, Sisa Feher, Iby, Ljutri, The Hot Teapots, BOANAE, TIES & Sadik, Chico Perre, ATACA PACA, The Dawlins, Malaka Hostel, RammTammTilda, Michael W., Hot Whiskey, Jacek Piotrowicz & Agnieszka Oramus, Theodora Kalogirou, Dimitris Fragkoulis, Semeli.

Also I would like to thank my project partners that helped me completing my mission.

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