Christine Bougie's Aloha Supreme

Aloha Supreme! Micropatronage and Karma

Christine Bougie - 'Aloha Supreme' CD

Christine Bougie – ‘Aloha Supreme’ CD

A pre-release copy of Christine Bougie’s new CD ‘Aloha Supreme’ arrived with me this morning, and I’m like a kid a Christmas waiting to play the Canadian jazz-guitarist’s second solo independent release.

You see, after living in Toronto briefly in the 1990s I became a huge fan of new Canadian music, and these days I tune in avidly to CBC Radio 3 to discover emerging independent musicians. But more on that later in a dedicated New Canadian Music blog post!

However, what makes my latest CD purchase so special to me is that, in a small way, I helped to make this latest CD creation happen through a micropatronage scheme set up by Christine.

Micropatronage or crowd funding is defined in Wikipedia as:

” the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”

Christine had contributed one of the tracks from her fabulous first CD ‘Hammy’s Secret Life’ to a forthcoming podcast series that I’m putting together, so I jumped at the chance to support her in the making of her own new CD. Don’t you just love the economics of bartering?

Despite the title of one of the tracks on the new CD ‘I wasn’t made for these Times’, Christine is in fact a great example of a modern musician using new technologies to allow her to practice her craft and reach new audiences.  She runs a wonderful blog giving a real insight into both her creative and business practices… a must-read for any struggling creative.

The micropatronage scheme, run from Christine’s website, allowed her fans to pledge donations to cover the recording and printing costs of the new CD. As a reward from investing, fans get access to signed  pre-release versions of the CD, a copy of Chrstine’s first CD, a mention in the CD inner-sleeve notes, and the knowledge that they have helped to get some fantastic new music into the world.

Christine used  the Kapipal website to take donations, but there are plenty of new online tools coming online.  For instance, Kickstarter is a scheme that has just arrived in the UK focussed on helping creatives secure funding online for projects from private giving. Kickstarter works on the basis that, as an artist, you set a fundraising target and a deadline for achieving that funding. Donors make their pledges, but the money only changes hands if the full funding is achieved by the set deadline. This deadline acts as an incentive to get people giving quickly, but also reassures the donor that the project will definitely go ahead as planned assuming donations are forthcoming.

As for myself, I’ll be starting my own enterprise next Monday (1 November) – a small web business for the creative, cultural and charitable sectors. According to the often-misunderstood laws of Karma, the best way to “plant the seeds” to see any new enterprise succeed is to first ensure that the projects of others succeed. I think of Karma in quite a scientific way. At its most basic, Karma refers to deeds, and deeds are like any other form of energy – you invest all your actions with an energy.  And that energy doesn’t just dissipate and die out, it continues on in a range of other forms.

For example, when I was at school we used to play a game called ‘wall ball’ … the simple idea being to throw a tennis ball hard against a brick wall so it bounced back for the next person in the sequence to catch (like squash without raquets). Now, I don’t fully understand the science behind it but, essentially, when you throw the ball you invest it with the kinetic energy that propels it forward.  When it hits the wall, rather than that energy disappearing, a little is transformed into sound energy (the sound of the ball hitting the wall) and thermal energy (the ball gets hotter where it hit the wall), and all the rest of the energy goes into propelling the ball off the wall and back towards you.

Karma cartoon courtesy of

Karma cartoon courtesy of

With Karma, the principle is exactly the same. All our actions our invested with a propelling energy and, rather than that energy dispersing, it just bounces back at us in a similar form. So, if our initial action is invested with a  positive motivation (i.e. wanting to help others), we’ll get a positive result. If it is invested with negative motivation, what bounces back will not be so welcome.  The problem is, that bounce can take a long time to happen with Karma, so it’s not always easy to see this cause-result relationship in action and, as a result, we often go around doing things that aren’t going to get us the results we want.

Recently,therefore, I’ve been busy trying to invest in other people’s ideas and projects with a positive motivation. So this donation could perhaps be called an act of “Enlightened self-interest” (as my Lama would call it), rather than an act of generosity per se.

But wouldn’t we all want to have a world where, before starting any enterprise themselves, people first invested in the great ideas of others? Wouldn’t that be a great place to live?

PS: Whilst writing this post, I’ve been listening to ‘Aloha Supreme’, and I can tell you that it’s a very fine album indeed – smooth, sophisticated,
quirky and full of humour.  Christine Bougie’s ‘Aloha Supreme’ is released on 21 November 2010, and will be available for purchase via Christine’s website.

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