“Soul Inscribed is New York City. It’s your parents’ record collection remixed for today… Soul Inscribed is vintage and it’s right now. It’s live instruments. It’s years of practice…it’s cutting edge technology, dropping beats, and live looping…it’s improvisational jazz, the freestyle of Hip-Hop, the energy of the audience sharing its collective soul…” – Baba Israel
Baba Israel was living in an artists’ loft in Bushwick, locally known as 245 Live, in the late 90’s. During a late-night jam session, Baba Israel met Yako 440. An invitée of DJ Center, Yako throughout the night played every instrument in the place…piano, drums, bass, guitar. Baba and Yako had an instant musical connection…
2001, Baba Israel had just released his first solo album Mind Music on Velour Records. About to embark on the second half of a nationwide U.S. tour with DJ Logic, they brought in Yako 440. On the road, Baba Israel and Yako honed their musical partnership, which led to them forming the musical group and production company Open Thought .
“NUFF GOOD VIBES!” – Shaheed Muhammad, A Tribe Called Quest
Together they headed the development of the first music production program and open mic at a local community center, The Door . Baba and Yako met Duv, a young vocalist, songwriter and dancer, and produced his first solo album, Urban Artistik (2008) . Featuring the Rhodes playing of Jason Linder (Keyboardist for David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar (2016), Urban Artistik meld’s the R&B aesthetics of NYC and New Zealand. Open Thought also produced and released Force of life (2003) Beatbox Dub Poetics (2006) and Highest Degree (2012).
In between the releases of Beatbox Dub Poetics and Highest Degree , Baba moved to the UK as the Artistic Director of Contact Theater. While in England, Baba Israel connected with Manchester DJ/Producer, Irfan Rainy and they produced the crate classic, Freedom Music.
Soul Inscribed has a deep interconnection to the spoken-word. Baba Israel took to the stage for the first time at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Vocalists Grace Galu and Duv established their connection as poets and performers years before Grace became a member of Soul Inscribed. After meeting at the Bowery Poetry Club, they began performing together regularly as featured acts of the showcase, Symphonics Live . While very distinct individually, Grace Galu and Duv’s voices are known for blending completely and indistinguishably in harmony. Grace Galu lends her harmonies on the first Soul Inscribed album for the track, Let’s Connect.
“Grace is a “powerhouse” vocalist with versatility and an “old soul” with a vocal style reminiscent of Chaka Khan.” – Dawn Orlando, Owner of Funkadelic Studios, NYC
Grace Galu’s collaboration with the EDM duo Tom & Collins, a cover of Tracy Chapman’s Give Me One Reason has reached over 1.5 million plays on Spotify.
“She (Grace) has the unique ability to take the old and make it new while keeping its integrity.” – Tom & Collins
TuneUP also brings the virtuosic friendship of Sean Nowell and MC/Drummer Doron Lev to the soundscape of Soul Inscribed. Sean Nowell and Doron met years before and honed a friendship in the NYC jazz scene. Sean plays sax in Doron’s project Ugly Braine and Doron is featured in Sean’s project The Kung-fu Masters .
“A remarkable recording on virtually every level one can think of.” – Brent Black, Critical Jazz
“Doron Lev is a multi-talented machine of expression.” – Rabbi Darkside