Yes it is that old standard, or at least my interpretation of the 1936 composition by Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington named Caravan. It is also a tribute to the Rushing Roulotte band, which I was a member of for several years. We played this tune many times, which interestingly happens to be somewhat related to the name of the band itself. Thank you guys, it was a lot of fun!

Since then I've pursued my growing interest in ethnomusicology, in particular around the idea that travel can create new original combinations of musical elements from different cultures. So this version of Caravan takes its inspiration from listening to and playing a range of musical styles, both with and without the band: Gypsy, Flamenco, Blues... all that jazz. In the end, it was an attempt to get a deeper understanding of the original piece with all its intricacies and retell that story using some kind of personal musical dialect.

The process of researching and then recording each part lasted for about two years. I had some rather limited spare time to spend on this but kept it "rolling" at its own pace. It was also the first time I kept videos of all the recordings, and finally managed to piece it all up together.

For the geeks

All the audio recordings were made with a Zoom H2n field recorder, in stereo XY mode and at a reasonable distance. The result sounds more real and less studio-engineered than regular techniques using single microphones placed closer to each instrument. I also used the orientation of the microphones to create the panoramic landscape directly at the source. In a similar spirit, I used only natural light for the videos. The sound track was produced using Audacity with no edits other than removing noise and adjusting levels, on my good old rk3288 32-bit ARM Chromebook running Debian Linux. This was particularly convenient because it amounted to very little equipment, entirely battery-powered and silent. The video was recorded with a separate camera, and then edited and rendered using Blender - also with Debian but not on my Chromebook!