Connecting Cultures Through Music
Travel Songs began in Tunisia in 2011. I was working as a photographer for a small English language news source and living in the embassy district of Tunis back then.
I took photographs that documented life in Tunisia after the revolution that ousted Dict-president Ben Ali on January 14, 2011. Nothing spectacular. My favorite photo is of a protester giving the peace sign in front of a line of civil police.
Anyhow living in Tunis was pretty lonely, and I was pretty lonely.
I started writing songs because I thought that if I wrote songs and put them on the internet it would be a good way to interact with people from back home. I worked with a producer, Sam Nobles, and sent songs back and forth via email to create the first Travel Songs album, Matadors. It’s named after a soccer gang in Tunis.
After Tunisia came Thailand, and the other three surrounding countries that backpackers usually collect stamps from -- Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Then I went to Europe, South America, and Costa Rica.
In 2013 I went to Cusco, Peru with a film crew of five. George Murphy, Colin Shalo, Tyler Doherty, Tyler Holloway, and Sam Nobles. The first two were video producers, the latter three were musicians I performed with under the name Travel Songs.
Together we created a documentary about the intersection of tourism, music, and society in the Andes. We called that Travel Songs too.
Presently, Travel Songs is a bicameral sonic organization of sorts.
On the one hand we have the musical group, Travel Songs. We play a combination of worldly jazz and California folk. We have released five albums that were all recorded in various parts of the world. The most recent release, Coco Bengali, is due out January 2017.
On the other, we have a production branch, The Travel Songs Foundation. The Travel Songs Foundation is a non-profit fund associated with the Delaware Community Foundation. We use funds from donors and grants to produce documentaries all around the world about music all around the world. While filming, we recognize a critical need as it pertains to either advocating for, or preserving local music culture. We then launch a charitable project in that country to address that need.
- Zachary Humenik