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North Carolina musicians record compilation album to fund bail for protestors

 By Harris Wheless

June 5, 2020

Chapel Hill-based independent record label Suah Sounds has released a compilation album, The Co-Isolation Sessions, featuring songs performed by over 20 musicians to support jailed protestors in North Carolina who cannot afford bail. The album will be released exclusively on Bandcamp on Friday, June 5, with all of the proceeds going to the NC Community Bail Fund of Durham

The benefit album was recorded in isolation by Triangle-area musicians and collaborators from New York, New Jersey, Nashville, Savannah and Muscle Shoals. Suah Sounds founder Michael Venutolo-Mantovani wrote and recorded ten basic tracks and sent them to other musicians who wrote lyrics and melodies, then overdubbed vocals and additional instrumentation.

Following the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and, most recently, George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, protests in solidarity with black victims have erupted across the country. To help combat the mass arrests and additional police violence that has since occurred, Suah Sounds will be donating all of the proceeds from the album towards bailing out protestors.

“It just seems like the necessary move, considering everything that’s going on around the country, to help benefit people who are fighting in the streets for justice and equality,” said Venutolo-Mantovani.

Suah Sounds, which began in 2011 when Venutolo-Mantovani self-released the debut 7″ by his band The Everymen, has since expanded its focus to releasing new material from other members of the Triangle music community. In the last few years, the label has released albums by John Howie Jr., Al Riggs, Reese McHenry, Raymond Mantovani and Skylar Gudasz. The Co-Isolation Sessions is the first compilation album the label has released, one which spans six states, several generations and a wide range of genres.

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“I was demoing new songs for what might be my next album when I thought, ‘Why not use these songs to help people in this uncertain and completely fucked up time?’” said Venutolo-Mantovani. “Now, if I were to release a record of mine with the aim of charity, I might raise a few bucks. But I thought, the more people I could tap into, the wider a net we might cast.” 

The album features vocal or instrumental contributions from Al Riggs, Jphono1, John Howie Jr., S.E. Ward, Elizabeth Nelson of The Paranoid Style, Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony, Eilee, Joe and Evren Centeno of RocknRoll Hi-Fives, Mark Connor, Raymond Mantovani, Jonathan Oliphant and Venutolo-Mantovani himself. Engineering was done by Stu McLamb, Alex Maiolo, Jeff Carroll, Adam Nicholas Copeland, Ryan Gross, Danley Murner, Andrew Sovine, Ryan Havers, Sarah Glasco and Venutolo-Mantovani.

“Everyone donated 100% of their time,” said Venutolo-Mantovani. “We’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars worth of professional musicians’ time, all donated in hopes of raising as much money as we can to help.”

Listen to The Co-Isolation Sessions compilation album by Suah Sounds benefiting the NC Community Bail Fund of Durham.

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