47 3Arts supporters
$5,300 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on August 15, 2019
    • 106% contributed

Heliocentric is a collection of songs that explores the effects of my immigrant story on my interpersonal life since my mother and I fled from Haiti to the United States under the Duvalier Regime in the 1980’s. Written over a four-year period, the songs focus on the ways I’ve had to adapt and cope with a sense of displacement and the impact it has had on my relationships. As a singer-songwriter with the collaborative project Wooden Rings, I recorded these songs but have never released a fully-produced album. This campaign gives us a chance to raise the funds to do that and commit the work to vinyl for the first time. Referencing the title, the sun appears throughout this music, symbolizing the hope and restoration of what has been lost. Although these songs are personal to me and my story, it’s really a human story with many complexities and richness that I feel listeners will appreciate.

About This Project

I began writing the lyrics for Heliocentric in the winter of 2014, when something broke open inside me. Well into my adulthood, I really began to feel the loss of what was left behind when my mother and I fled to the US. Much I may never get back, no matter how hard I try. Some are tangible things, like my childhood home and land, my father living down the street, and my inheritance, all of which are now gone. But there are also intangible things, like the use of the Creole language and the wisdoms encoded within it, the feeling of belonging to a nation, and access to the network of families that drive innovation on the island.

In listening back to the lyrics that I wrote, I am coming to terms with how much I miss my family and everything I have tried to do to cope with that. I tried, and failed, to build an idealized version of family too early. I was married, had a child, divorced, remarried, and am now twice divorced. Three times I've lived with partners trying to build a family like the one I knew. My personality and my future have been shaped so much by how I’ve coped with what I’ve lost. In the end, the ability to express this complex idea in music is the gain I value the most.

The first iteration of Wooden Rings was disbanded by the time I wrote this music. I took it as an opportunity to write for a larger stage, with an electric, amplified sound and drums. Two versions of the band then came together to construct the live show, and this recording contains both. The recordings take on the studio as instrument as well as create a sound that is more than what we could perform in a live setting. We practiced this music as a collaborative and played shows to experience and further develop the sound and our understanding of the work. The core of Wooden Rings now consists of myself (guitar & vocals), Alex Brescanu (bass), Nathan Staley (drums), and Liz Arakaki (vocals & keyboards).

The impact of this music on others is felt very close to home in personal ways. Through our lush progressive sound, listeners can feel a range of emotion, from the shame of hiding dyslexia in one song to the desire for a lover in the next, slowly compiling stories until my immigrant story becomes their story.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Digital download of the album ($15.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above + vinyl recording of the album ($20.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above + T-shirt ($40.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $200
    Above + a 30-second song about you ($140.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $300
    Above + a personal Wooden Rings concert (must be within 50 miles of Chicago) ($90.00 is tax deductible.)

Ramah Jihan Malebranche

Make a Wave Artist

Ramah Jihan Malebranche is a Haitian immigrant with interdisciplinary talents spanning music, visual arts, education, and the accompanying project management skillsets. His music is a lush yet austere brand of chamber pop; honest and sentimental while set in a mature …

View Ramah Jihan Malebranche's profile
  • No updates yet, stay tuned!
    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Dmitrij Ivanov

    • Sergey Feldman

    • Marianne Montler

    • Joseph Bannister

    • Blake Reeves

    • Ana Everling

    • Pedro Guerra

    • Dave Staley

    • Britt Greiner

    • Maria Allred

    • andrew shapiro

    • Jessica Uramkin

    • Ivan Meyers

    • cristal sabbagh

    • cristal sabbagh

    • Deb Cannon

    • John Norman

    • Antonio Martinez

    • Jennifer Zigler

    • Erve Malebranche

    • Isabel Hutchison

    • Brent Sigler

    • Ben Pakter

    • Alex Paterakos-Figueroa

    • Luciana Tiberio

    • Niko Duffy

    • Abby Shure

    • Wes Elfman

    • Chris Walsdorf

    • Kevin Valentine

    • Rachel Kraft

    • Amy Niemi

    • Erve Malebranche

    • Mark Yoshizumi

    • Aisha Pervaiz

    • Raphi Rechitsky

    • Ann & Alan Herbach

    • Jordan Snow

    • Jesse Herbach

    • Mark Arakaki

    • Kristina Gosh

    • Anthony Stamilio

    • Leigh-Anne Borkowski

    • Sarah Eide

    • Kevin Kramer

    • Justin Rodig

    • Jenny Goldman

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council