SongVault Artist Profile
The Bruknahm Project
California, United States
Worldfusion / Trip Hop
The term Brüknahm is hip hop slang for the borough of Brooklyn. Popularized by rappers in the early 90’s, it is the fusion of the words Brooklyn and Vietnam. It was meant to depict Brooklyn as a rough place to live; a war zone. In 2000, entrepreneurs Dexter Wimberly and Geuka Evans launched an urban clothing brand called Brüknahm, and elucidated a deeper meaning of the word in creating a concept behind the gear. They envisioned Brooklyn, and it’s ninety different ethnicities, as a society unto itself, struggling to live and prosper in a “concrete jungle”. A place where each individual is forced to use his or her ingenuity, adaptability, and creativity to wage a “gorilla” war against a juggernaut that aims to divide and conquer. Considering the term was born in hip hop vernacular, Wimberly and Evans thought it fitting to seek music that embodied the philosophy of the clothing, and could be cross marketed as such. They turned to their colleague and old high school buddy, composer/producer Saundi Wilson. As fate would have it, Wilson had already been discussing a project of similar scope with former schoolmate (Purchase Conservatory) Sebastian Bardin. The Brüknahm Project was born. It took the newly formed duo a full year to finish the album, and it was mission accomplished for Wimberly and Evans. The eclectic album, recorded in a home studio, captivated the fashion trendies and gave their brand a special cache. A year later, The Brüknahm Project Volume 1 caught the ear of Michael Dorf at Knitting Factory Records. Wilson and Bardin, who would be known simply as Brüknahm, signed a licensing agreement with KFR, and set out on a path that would take them above and beyond the t-shirts that bore their name. The album was critically acclaimed and Europe beckoned. Brüknahm launched it’s first European tour. The ensemble, which features jazz heavyweights Abraham Burton and Nasheet Waits, electrified audiences from the North Sea Jazz Festival to Jazz a Vienne. Upon their return, Wilson and Bardin decided Europe was for them. Later that year, they emigrated from “Brüknahm”, Wilson’s home town, to Paris, Bardin’s home town. Immediately, they began planning for a second tour. They made another successful swing across Europe, highlighted by a night a Paris’s famous Sunset Jazz Club. All told, Brüknahm played in festivals spanning three different genres- jazz, hip-hop, and electronic. Universal Records(France) had begun express interest in their work. They asked the duo if they’d be interested in producing French pop music. Wilson and Bardin agreed, and were commissioned to produce three remixes, one of which was for the platinum-selling Algerian star Khaled. Meanwhile, their album somehow made it’s way over to Japan and had peaked the interest of another band- Air. Brüknahm eventually produced two remixes an album entitled “Air: On My Way”(EMI/Capitol), which featured remixes from notables such as Martin, Medeski, and Wood. There were some Americans who were starting to become fans of the music as well. The people at MTV. They began to license it to one show after another and, today, music from The Brüknahm Project can be heard on TEN different series in syndication. Wilson and Bardin have since returned to the U.S.(Bardin to N.Y. and Wilson to L.A.). Bardin has been busy producing tracks for the twin sensation Nina Sky. While Wilson produces the up and coming Canadian star Jessica Brooks. The Brüknahm Project continues to perform at special request. Most recently they appeared as the closing act of the Shanghai International Jazz Festival(China).
In an alarmingly compartmentalized music industry Saundi Wilson and Sebastian Bardin continue their chameleon-like mastery of myriad styles of music, both hybrid and pure. An approach to music that still reflects the philosophy that is- Brüknahm.