Late last year, I arranged a set of Devendra Banhart's music for an orchestral ensemble and we performed them together at Week-end Fest in Cologne, Germany. I really fell in love with the arrangement of one of his beautiful songs, "Celebration," and have played a string quartet version in my own shows a few times now.

The first time I played the song without Devendra was at a show with Amanda Palmer at Union Chapel. I had recently lost my grandmother, Helen Bischoff, and the wound was still very fresh. I was with her when she passed. She was 102 years young. Everyone always says, especially when one lives such a long and full life, that you should celebrate their life and be happy about how much time they got to live and how much time you got to spend together. I certainly understand the sentiment, but especially at that time, I was just really sad and was much more comfortable in my sadness than trying to muster a smile. The song and mantra is a perfect balance for me, singing the word "celebration" while wallowing in sadness and beauty. When I sing the song, I sing for her.

So, last month, I decided to experiment with my Patreon and asked my patrons to collaborate on the song with me. I asked them to send simple recordings of themselves singing the word "celebration." I received an overwhelmingly positive and excited response and a bunch of recordings. I took all of the recordings and edited them into one big choir of my patrons, The Celebration Choir, and added it to a new recording of my string quartet arrangement.

The finished product is one of the coolest, most beautiful things I have been a part of. In addition to their recordings, my patrons shared stories and photos of whom they were thinking of. It was such a unique and intimate project, and a great example of the awesome things I've been able to do thanks to my supporters on Patreon.

And now, we share the song with you. Maybe you can sing along and think of someone you'd like to celebrate.

Paris Hurley - Violin
Madeline Falcone - Violin
Marta Sofia Honer - Viola
Aniela Marie Perry - Cello
Jherek Bischoff - Double Bass

Aldous Cyriac Lázár, Alexis, Alice, Allison Bailey, Andy Grafham, AnnMarie Thomas, Bridget, Carl John Armbruster, Claudine Chen, Christian Kloeckner, Dean Garland, Deniz Bevan, Eli Kay, Emily, Emily Rowan, Federico, Francisco Bracho, Gaba Kulka, Glyn Williams, Gudrun from Karlsruhe, Hayley Nystrom, Igor from Poland, Isabel Vogt, Jessica Cannell, Karen Bell, Kelly Rainey, Lisa Forrette, Lori, Mark Alan Mendes, Martin Holeysovsky & Kate, Mel/"Satan", Melinda Kearney, Michael Hargreave Mawson, Musictwig, Natanielle Felicitas, Pia Lauridsen, Ralph-Eric Berg, Simon Carruth, Sally Mac, Sky Siegel, Toby O'Neil, Valerie Lanard, Wolfie, Yehuda Schupper, Yining Ma

Written by Devendra Banhart (BMI)
Arranged, Produced, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Jherek Bischoff
Co-engineered by Mayumi Heider
Recorded at Pink Ape Studios
Album Artwork by Mayumi Heider
Photos courtesy of The Celebration Choir

Special thanks to Jürgen Ahlmer, Nathalie Boisard-Beudin, Karl Bischoff and Leslie Phinney, Lisa Forrette, Mark Alan Mendes, Ryn Miake-Lye, Isabel Vogt, Virginia, Willcox, Crystal Wilson and W Andrew York.

The artwork is a collage of photos my patrons submitted of their loved ones - past, present and future.

I am incredibly grateful to all of the patrons who contributed to this project and am so lucky to have a venue to be able to share my world and invite supporters to create with me. It is such a warm community of people. If you've thought of becoming a patron but haven't yet, I hope you'll consider joining. You can check it out here:
I look forward to collaborating with my patrons again in the future!

And if you haven't heard Devendra's gorgeous original version, I urge you to check it out!

I'm currently in Amsterdam playing a few show with Kronos Quartet and stargaze ensemble. Wednesday, I played a David Bowie Tribute show with stargaze ensemble and guest singers Anna Calvi, Jeanne Added, Soap&Skin and Laetitia Sadier at the gorgeous Saint Denis Basilica. The concert was streamed live and is still up to stream for a limited time.
You can watch it here:

We are doing another David Bowie tribute at Holland Festival tomorrow. If you're coming to the show, I hope you'll come and say hello!

Happy Solstice and Celebration!