Layer 2
Chondo View Additional Info

From a Mississippi Juke Joint to Global Internet Radio:
Chondo Unites Black Urban & World Music Fans with the Global Diaspora

       {{ :: Listen to samples here. :: }}

Mike Eastman believes the “world music” field is largely untapped. “I started collecting international music fifteen years ago when I was living and working abroad in London,” says the African-American Harvard Law School graduate (’83). Since then, the Internet entrepreneur has worked in Dayton (OH), Miami, San Diego and Seattle, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. “Everywhere I went, I asked people what they listened to and I’d go out and buy their top picks. Over here in the US, much of this music is unavailable. I want to help more people have the same experience of discovery and excitement that I’ve had.”

On August 26, 2004, this former sales executive at RealNetworks is launching Chondo (—an Internet radio broadcaster that will focus on the music of Africa and the African Diaspora. The launch begins with a party at Seattle's Senegalese restaurant Afrikando and will include a performance by Ethiopian musician Wasse Kassa, accompanied by dancer Serkalem Akalu, and demonstrations by Eastman of the new service.

“There is no premiere African or world music Internet broadcaster right now,” he points out. “And there aren’t really any labels who are making the musical connections between African American and other sophisticated urban listeners and the broader forms of African music. That’s where Chondo comes in.”

Chondo’s founder intends to help people of African descent feel connected to the modern face of Africa and African people around the world. “We’re not going to completely ignore rural and acoustic music. But we’re going to be emphasizing urban modern music.” Chondo will spotlight great modern artists in the Diaspora like Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Carlinhos Brown (Brazil), Cheb Mami (Algeria), Chichi Peralta (Dominican), Alicia Keys, and Bongo Maffin (South Africa).

Chondo plans to have seventeen channels for paid subscribers ($6.95 per month) with a 14-day free trial available to newcomers. Core channels will all emphasize the popular music of Africa and the global African diaspora, but will be distinguished by genre/theme (such as reggae or divas) or by tempo: Jammin (up-tempo), Groovin (mid-tempo), and Chillin (low-tempo/chill-out). Listeners can choose channels to suit their mood and activities. All channels will bounce between the exotic and the familiar, weaving together Diaspora musicians in unprecedented ways. Fifteen to 20 percent of Chondo’s programming will be African American music.

“We’ll be placing songs on the same channel that have never been played together before,” explains Eastman. “For example, Sandra Da Sa, a great Brazilian pop singer, did a CD dedicated to Motown. We'll put her version of the hits on the same R&B channel as the original African-American versions. On the Hip Hop Channel, we'll program Outkast (US) with Positive Black Soul (Senegal) and Daude (Brazil). It's the same with reggae, jazz, divas, and on and on. (See the attached artist highlights page for more.)

Presenting music to audiences is nothing new for the Eastman family. Eastman’s father—a jazz musician and former school teacher named Jimmy King—runs a juke joint in Jackson, Mississippi called the Subway Lounge, which specializes in Delta blues. The venue—which serves beer by the can in buckets full of ice—was featured in a film called Last of the Mississippi Jukes.

Eastman has been working up to his venture for years. He had been making mix CDs for dinner parties and friends and always wondered how he could reach a larger audience with his curatorial vision. The seed was planted as an early adopter of Real Audio Internet radio broadcasts in the mid-1990s. “One day I was listening to a friend—an American DJ in Beijing—broadcasting across the Internet, and I thought ‘I could do this!’” So much so that he spent nine months and writing over twenty letters to RealNetworks’ executives until he landed a job running their North America reseller program. RealNetworks is the global leader in the delivery of Internet media content with over 1.3 million subscribers. Chondo combines all of Eastman’s interests and experiences: science and technology, international music and travel, African American culture, and journalism (he did stints at Newsweek and the Washington Post).

“Companies like Putumayo have done a tremendous job promoting world music to new audiences,” says Eastman. “But there is other great music not getting exposure. Discovery is a challenge. Chondo is designed to go after those opportunities. And also to search for commonalities that are not always obvious. We intend to be the first Internet radio service of the African diaspora.”

Chondo will also go further than most music subscription services in terms of supplying information about musicians. While most services merely provide the artist name, track, and album title, Eastman will add content about the artist and their country. Whenever possible, he will provide translated lyrics and information about traveling to the artists’ home countries. All of this has been built into Chondo’s unique audio player.

Furthermore, Chondo will contribute ten percent of profits to the Trickle Up Program. Trickle Up enables the world's poorest people take their first steps out of poverty by providing seed capital, business training, and support needed to start a viable microenterprise.  It has launched 125,000 businesses in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and in the most deeply disadvantaged U.S. communities since its 1979 founding, enabling half-a-million people to better their lives. Chondo will present Trickle Up with a $1000 check during the August 26 launch party.

“The music on Chondo is aimed at people who are curious about the wider world,” says Eastman. “People who like to dance and chill to exotic tunes, are looking to make a Diaspora connection, and also want to contribute to making countries in the Diaspora stronger.” Subscriptions
$5.95 monthly(for those who sign up on or before October 30, 2004)
$6.95 monthly(starting November 1, 2004)
$35.70 for six-month subscription
$66.00 for  1-year subscription

Additional Info
From a Mississippi Juke Joint to Global Internet Radio:Chondo ... Artist Highlights

Top of Press Release