I am so happy to announce that Wooden Rings has completed the recording, mixing, and mastering phase of our first full-length record, Heliocentric. We could not have done it without the never-ending support, care, and love of our close friends and family. We also had 50 amazing donors who chipped in to press our dreams into reality (thank you). The next steps include sending the masters and artwork to a record printing company that will take 10 weeks to carve it out into dead dinosaur disks. We should be performing and releasing the record in the winter hoping that the music con offer us some warmth.
Honestly, listening to the Sides A and B of this record transports me back into myself – to sit with my ideas- all wrapped in memories. I thought I’d share:
I remember my house and my mother living in Haiti. The air, the kennepas, and flowers but most of all, I remember my grandparents. They created Heaven for us in their homes in the mountains. Both died during the writing of this record. I was able to fly to my grandfather’s funeral, thanks to my father. My grandmother died a couple of weeks ago but Haiti is so violent I could not travel to see her. They were our family’s last true grounding point to the country my mother and I fled.
Fleeing leaves you lost and empty. As a boy I was so unsure of myself because I knew deep down, I didn’t belong. I missed and needed my family and I didn’t realize it. Nobody told me what was missing was my people scattered across the globe. Even now, I see my mother once a year and my father, less. This lack drove me to build family early, have a child young, and marry twice. I had no idea why I needed to do what I was doing. Some of these songs explore that plainly. This is the most important thing I’ve learned from playing in Wooden Rings since 2012.
Continuing to listen, I remember how much I loved my ex-wife and how amazing and beautiful she is. I believed in her more than anyone. Knowing how bad things had got between us, I am also reminded of how selfish and insecure I was and how I couldn’t be any better than I was. We were like two kimono dragons in house, two Qilins. I remember my daughter growing taller into the world with my cooking, challenging my conversations at the table, and testing herself carefully, listening to it all.
I remember how hopeless I felt working as a teacher, giving everything I had to others all day, with so little to bring home or share. I was good at it. My students flourished. Some died- shot. I attended only one funeral and decided, one would be all I was going to give. Writing this music was a way I could survive all of those ideas so I didn’t have to forget the memories. Those I could enjoy without being hurt by them over and over. Those I could keep without being poisoned.
The year is almost over and I’m so glad that I get to walk into winter with some Haitian sun, peaceful doves, my mother’s face, and some sugarcane rind to keep me warm.-Ramah
We reached our goal and exceeded our expectations for our campaign with 3Arts Foundation to fund our first full-length vinyl record, Heliocentric!
We can’t thank our friends and family enough for their generosity and care. Check out our donor page and give them hugs at random when you wee them.
In other news: We complete our final vocals in two weeks and give the project away to mix and master at Coda|Room Audio. Once that’s done, we shop around for a company to press our vinyl and argue over the album art. I can’t wait!
Lastly, we are in the process of booking shows all over the midwest. If you know a place that we should play or live somewhere we should visit, especially if we can crash on your couch, hit us up via email.
It can’t be overstated how much the creativity and technical prowess of Joshua Torrey and Keith Bjorklund have brought to some of these tracks. Keith plays oboe, a rare instrument to see on stage with a four piece back playing some diet form of rock. But when I close my eyes I hear lines that fit the instrument perfectly and lines that Keith effortlessly draw in and masterfully pushes out.
Josh Torrey not only brings the chops and tone on the trombone but also has an excellent ear. I could sing parts out to Josh, he would transcribe them and arrange them with clarity. I really could not make the work, the way I hear it with out these two guys.
We are only 10% away from our goal and really need your help! With this money we commit our music to vinyl and pay our Grammy Award winning engineer.
Please support our work and listen to the story of our album at https://3arts.org/projects/heliocentric
Meet Josh joshtorrey.com/
Meet Keith keithbjorklund.com/
This image was captured from a music video Wooden Rings is producing for a song called, In June. The lyrics start us in the dark winter apartment in Chicago. It’s the type of winter that holds you hostage in your apartment, studying the drab walls, drinking too much, sick from cabin fever.
In that state, my mind is hypersensitive to sounds, like the sharp cracks and resonant metal screams of radiators in the lead-draped apartments I could afford. They found their way on this record. The music then shifts into nostalgia- longing for the tropics, vivid fruit and loving family, for the warm sun and the god in my grandfather’s garden. When my grandfather passed away, I was able to go home and taste it all again, laying him to rest.
This song will open our first new full length record, Heliocentric. Help us press it to vinyl bust supporting up here and sharing this post with friends and family. https://3arts.org/projects/heliocentric/
Thanks for making the leap,Ramah Jihan
We are excited to announce that Wooden Rings is partnering with 3Arts to complete our first full-length album, Heliocentric.
We ask you to please help us bring this album to light by donating to our campaign. We are attempting to raise $3333 by August 15th to commit Heliocentric to vinyl and make it ubiquitous on streaming platforms. If you can help us meet our goal, the 3Arts Foundation has agreed to cover the rest of the costs.
Those who know us well understand that our bone marrow has been woven into the art on this record. We believe that our sacrifices will make this release not only meaningful to us but to our listeners as well. With this work our aim is to connect with a broader audience without sacrificing the complexity and emotional range that make Wooden Rings so impactful.
Please help spread the word by liking and sharing our posts with your friends, family, and music-loving communities.Thank you for supporting us,
Ramah, Liz, Sasha, Nathan
Donation Link: https://3arts.org/projects/heliocentric
Wooden Rings will be performing on November 17th at Catcus Club in Milwaukee and was recently written up in Deli Magazine.Wooden Rings has released a new track called “A Bell”. This is the group lead by songwriter, guitar player, and vocalist Ramah Jihan Malebranche with Nathan Staley on Drums, Alex Brescanu on Bass/Vocals, and Elizabeth Arakaki Vocals/Glockenspiel). This is their first single since 2016 and it focuses on our inability to take things back and unring that bell. The track was produced by Malebranche on the front end and the magical (we are not kidding about that) “Studio” James Auwarter on the edit and mix at Coda Room Audio, Chicago, IL. The challenge behind the edit was blend two different takes from different rooms, at different tempos, with two different sets of instruments together into a whole. Other performers on the first take include John Ozaksut on Bass, Joshua Torrey on Trombone, Keith Bjorklund on Oboe Peter Burger V smoking that electric guitar. If you live near Milwaukee, you have to come out and hear us. Everyone that knew us describes Wooden Rings as chamber pop. Come see how they are evolving beyond that label, swimming in more amplified waters.
We played Lamplight Festival years ago when it was just starting out and the energy is right- think with creativity with positivism. Don’t just come for Wooden Rings, these bands are all are great!The idea for Lamp Light was born in a warm living room in Eastown in 2012. After six years of nurturing, learning, and growing, we have collectively decided that it is time for Lamp Light’s next chapter. We are brimming with excitement as we welcome you to join us for the seventh year of Lamp Light, with this year’s main stage at the historic Wealthy Theatre. The decision for the festival to transition out of residential homes and into a public space came after many conversations surrounding the festival’s sustainability and goals to be inclusive of more communities.
We are working hard to have a release ready for you!Music by: Sugar Candy Mountain • Ryley Walker + Bill MacKay • Cabildo • Dos Santos • Bong Wish • Last Gasp Collective • Wooden Rings • Yolonda Lavender • Turtledoves • Meadow Maker • Hoom • Van Rios • Madelyn Grant • Dave Kevin Adam (DKA) • Wisp • Los Gold Fires • Saltbreaker • Seth Beck • Sofie Jane• Maddie Jackson • Breathe Owl Breathe • And more!
If you have ever had dinner at Uncommon Ground, you know you’re in for a treat. This is a farm to table restaurant in Edgewater with the only certified organic rooftop farm in the country. One of my favorite parts about this spot is the listening room. Uncommon Ground has a reputation for providing a quality platform for singer-songwriters, jazz musicians, and all sorts of genre bending projects leaning on the softer side.
We want to invite you, your family, and your friends to come have dinner with us at Uncommon Ground on Devon later this month, June 22nd from 8:00pm-10pm. We have some new music for you and some newer takes our favorite tunes. For those that haven’t seen Wooden Rings since before our year long hiatus, we have a couple new members and are stripping back down to our essence – just with some happier songs.
As an appetizer, Danny Kulasik will be opening the show with some wild, mind-opening guitar ideas. Mán Cub, will then take the stage and sing his heart-out. We will also have some “cool” Wooden Rings TShirts.
Note You have to Reserve Your Table at Uncommon Ground in advance. If you love us, just do it now. If you don’t yet know us, don’t wait, because they do fill up.
- Wooden Rings 9:00pm
- Crashdive 10:00PM
- Spocket 11:00pm
Logan Square 3425 W. Fullerton Ave.60647
Chicago, IL, US(773) 384-3243
Beat Kitchen2100 West Belmont Ave 60618 Chicago, IL www.beatkitchen.com
By Britt Julious Chicago Tribune
The eerie, methodical construction of Wooden Rings’ music sounds characteristically Chicago. This lush, multilayered brand of chamber pop might not be the most popular sound in town, but its roots can be found in acts who’ve grabbed national and international acclaim.
The first that comes to mind is the quiet and composed Andrew Bird but comparisons tend to reduce the vision of the artist. And in Wooden Rings, the brainchild of Ramah Jihan Malebranche, the vision is precise and haunting in its beauty and strength.
Born in Haiti but raised on and off here and his homeland, Malebranche’s music sounds pulled from a variety of different sources and ideas, all flowing together to create off-kilter pop that bends and weaves rather than pushing straight from verse to chorus. Malebranche’s clear vision can be heard throughout his songs.
On the 2013 “Twisted & Tangled” EP, the lonesome, contemplative lyrics of Malebranche couple lovingly with eerie, piercing wind instruments and flourishes of steady guitar. The songs are as classic as any other — about the trajectory of an old relationship — but the construction and unique instrumentation elevates the music to something much more interesting, even profound in its beauty. More than anything, Malebranche writes with heart — a heavy one — making his music the kind that sticks with you long after you hear it. That he hasn’t found more acclaim feels like a fluke, yet something that can be rectified with just the right push.
Malebranche’s new project is “Heliocentric,” a reflection of his current personal and professional state of mind. “I just realized I can’t keep singing about this music and my struggles getting over this relationship,” he said. For one, he is married to someone new.
Heliocentric means sun-centered, so this new material touches on this dark and desolate season and how Malebranche’s need for the sun trickles down to his personal friendships and relationships.
“I was originally born on an island in the Caribbean, and so every winter I go through this cycle of really missing that and needing to see color and needing physical contact and reassurance. Just this whole cycle of emotions,” Malebranche said about his new material. “There is a seasonal tilt to the way I feel and how rigid I am. Our winters in Chicago have become very severe and almost knee-jerk winters. They’re not as smooth as they used to be. I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.”
From a professional standpoint, Malebranche defines the new material as a better reflection of the band’s lineup: Peter Burger V, Jon Ozaksut and Nathan Staley, with occasional assistance from Joshua Torrey, Andrew Zelm and Keith Bjorklund.
The songwriting process is more collaborative, pulling not just from the psyche of Malebranche but from band members as well. But more than that, the work reflects a new outlook for Malebranche. No longer is he creating the sort of affectingly somber chamber pop that reflects on his past love. He’s moved on and so the music must as well. What that means remains to be heard as the project is still evolving. Hopefully it won’t strip Wooden Rings of what makes its sound so compelling: a strong vision and endless amounts of heart.
Britt Julious is a freelancer. email@example.com Twitter @chitribent
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday Where: Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave.
Tickets: $8 (21+); 773-227-4433 or www.hideoutchicago.com Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune