The final Countdown . . .

Dear Friends

We are a few hours away from knowing if we will be able to afford to record the Sound of You Songbook 

Thanks for all your support so far! Once we get funded we are planning to record the album in July and you can get an exclusive digital download as soon after that as possible.

There are two ways you can help us do it - 

donate directly using PAYPAL

The minimum to secure a download is $10
and other rewards like cards, songbooks, music sheets etc. can be viewed on the pledge music site

The more you pledge the more you get!

Meanwhile all pledgers get a personal thank you from me - a copy of Shapeshifter - so far 90 people have downloaded it so hope you are enjoying that extra music whilst you wait for the Sound of You.

Today is the last day to be part of the crowd funding campaign for the Sound of You Songbook - a collection of beautiful, melodic songs in the jazz tradition with a sound that stretches from New York to London to Johannesburg and beyond - sung by Estelle Kokot and written by jazz legend Chico Freeman and composer/lyricist Jan Pulsford.

thanks again


Join us on Facebook and see it happen

Touching Down, 82% Funded & Not Long To Go! Read On...

I want to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU
to all you fabulous Pledger's who have come to the party and supported The Sound of You. Without you we would not be on 82%!

We are so very close now.. all we need is another 18% to reach our goal then we can finally get to record this album!

If you haven’t jumped on board yet, please do go and make a pledge, because every little bit helps and every single pledge is appreciated.

South Africa is my home from home, but after being away for more than 3 months it’s good to be waking up in my own bed for a change!

 After a fantastic time in South Africa, I can't wait to get into the studio to get The Sound of You recorded! The new music was very well received and I am excited about getting the CD out there, to YOU!
Our first Sound of You gig was at The Crypt in St Georges Cathedral followed by two nights at intimate listening venue Straight No Chaser. A highlight of the Cape Town run, was being invited by Martin Myers to speak at the Music Exchange Conference 2014.

Three lovely starter gigs kicking off in Cape Town, next stop Johannesburg. Herbie and I flew the following day and Kevin joined us on the 19th of March.

Photo taken at The Orbit Jazz Club on the 19th of March 2014 by Siphiwe Mhlambi

We performed the first ever Wednesday night on the 19th of March at brand new state of the art jazz club, The Orbit. The Sound of You was up and running and in Gauteng! Back over the Easter weekend on the 19th of April with Herbie Tsoaeli on bass, Prince Lengoasa on trumpet and flugelhorn and Tumi Mogorosi on drums, we had a ball!
Photo of me and Herbie Tsoaeli by Jan Van Heerden

Prince Lengoasa photo by Jan Van Heerden
Photo of Tumi Mogorosi by Jan Van Heerden


The Afrikan Freedom Station... one solo performance and one duo gig with Herbie next.I love Steve Mokwena's place. This artist, historian, film-maker and cultural activist has captured something that can't really be put down in words. One thing is for sure though, it's all about being yourself and enjoying the love!

Afrikan Freedom Station  - the room at the back

Photo by Bobby Marie taken at Afrikan Freedom Station
After a performance for Jazz & African Music Nights at The State Theatre we did a special evening at The Lucky Bean in Melville. Every gig was a highlight for me, but our trip to Durban to celebrate 20 years of democracy in South Africa at The Rainbow Restaurant in Pinetown tops the list.

Photo of Herbie Tsoaeli at The Rainbow by Mzi van der Mtola
Photo of Kevin Gibson at The Rainbow by Mzi van der Mtola
Photo at The Rainbow by Mzi van der Mtola

We raised enough at the door for at least two cleft palate operations for Operation Smile and it was a joy to do something for this very worthy cause. Owners Neil and Nicola Comfort run a tight ship, but the vibe here on a Sunday afternoon is unmatched.
Thanks goes to Concerts SA and SA Breweries for taking care of the costs.

With Mamsie at The Rainbow
Taking a bow at UKZN. Photo by Mamsie Ntshangase
The Sound of You South African Tour Part 1 ended with a vocal workshop and a concert at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal (UKZN).

Here are some memorable moments in the Dinokeng Game Reserve taken by my friend Marie Vlok.
Dinokeng Sunset

I think that fence gives you a false sense of security.
I found out after I had been sitting there for an hour having my morning coffee and enjoying these beauties who had come to drink, that they think nothing of backing into an electric fence and charging.

This young fellow had me backing away...

Dinokeng Sunrise in the bush. Photo by Marie Vlok

 Quality time with Einstein the parrot in Muizenberg Cape Town

Plans are in the pipeline for a follow up tour in October in South Africa and two concerts are
already confirmed. In the meantime, there's still time to make a pledge
so please click  HERE! Thank you for reading!
Hugs and love xx Estelle

The Shapeshifter and The Sound of You

Estelle is in the bush - a well deserved few days away from her hectic South African schedule!
Chico is in the studio

and Jan is trying to find new ways to get more promotion and pledges for 'The Sound of You'.
She just finished her latest ambient music world album and decided to donate it as a thank you to pledgers and an incentive to others who still haven't taken the plunge. . . . 

Jan writes … 

'Did everyone who pledged for the Sound of You get the gift of a download code for my album 'SHaPeSHiFTeR'?
I do hope so - any problems let me know - hope you're all enjoying it!

'The Sound of You' has  two weeks left to get the remaining money to record the album ..  you've read the story here - now, if you haven't already, why not donate a minimum of $10 ( the price of a coffee and cake) and you will help pay for the recording PLUS get the gift of my album 'SHaPeSHiFTeR' as an exclusive extra download. 

You could always make the two albums a gift to someone - just let me know in the checkout . . Living in the digital age means I could send it anywhere as soon as I get your donation! In fact I'll throw in a digital greeting card if you like . . . Yes, you guessed, I REALLY want Estelle to record the Sound of You songbook!

If you don't want to bother with registering on pledge music just PAYPAL $10 or more <<< HERE >>>  and I'll send you the download codes and all the updates plus a digital download of the Sound of You as soon as it is recorded … It's a bit like paying for one album in advance and getting another to listen to while the other gets made .... 
Sounds like a deal to me!

We're so close …
Thanks for all your support"


PS. Want the CD , Songbook or more? visit

Chapter 14: Estelle sings a Rainbow

It's Wednesday and all the news and pics for the Sound of You Tour are on Estelle's web pages so here are links to her wonderful South African updates.

'Congratulations Estelle! It seems you are having a fantastic time as the audience and reviews attest 
We look forward to joining you very soon to record the Sound of You album'

By the way dear reader, have you pledged yet?

Chapter 13 : The Sound of You keeps humming ...

Estelle is still touring South Africa - it has been a fantastic couple of months!

She updates daily on her Facebook page

Chico and Jan are preparing for recording the songbook
and working extremely hard to make this happen

Read the story of The Sound of You - updated every Wednesday

We have a few weeks left on plegemusic. So if you haven't already now's your chance to get involved.

Thanks for your support!
Estelle, Jan and Chico

Chapter 12: The story of The Sound of You continues . . .

Afrikan Freedom Station - Estelle with Kwena, Herbie and Lebo
Hi everyone . . The story of The Sound of You continues  . . .

Estelle is still wowing audiences in South Africa with her fantastic shows. The reaction has been wonderful and Herbie Tsoaeli and Kevin Gibson have been backing her for most of the tour. 

She has also been doing solo voice and piano gigs and now a special one this week at the Orbit in Johannesburg.

Chico has been in the studio recording with his trio in Germany and sends a video postcard from there on YouTube.

Jan took her multimedia show to the National Portrait Gallery in London and continues preparing music and film for her next show at the weekend.

What busy springtime bees we are!

But of course our main thing is plotting and planning with PledgeMusic to get this songbook recorded!

And we shall … watch this space! Thanks for all your support - we couldn't do it without you!

Chapter 11: Back and forward to 'The Sound of You'

Jan writes . . .
and now back and forward to 'The Sound of You'
This is a songbook written with jazz great Chico Freeman and we are lucky enough to have Estelle Kokot singing and interperating the collection.
Estelle is currently touring South Africa with Herbie Tsoaeli and Kevin Gibson and we are hoping to join her soon to record the album

Being digital and musical pioneers we partnered with Pledge Music to crowd fund the album. It's been quite an adventure, one documented in the blog 'The Sound of You'

Hope you will follow and join us on our journey - Our first Blogbook was called 'The Gathering' and the 16 chapters tell the story of us meeting and getting the album ready. 
Book two, which is where we are now is 'The Alchemy' - turning our ideas into gold - The hardest part for any creative person . . The story continues

Chapter 10: The next Stage

Deadlines are good to get you to the next stage and The Sound of You has got there.

Our partnership with PledgeMusic has been going really well and we are extending the campaign to the end of May.

We are having a few, well deserved days off and will be back next week with more updates and news of the recording, gigs and pledgers' exclusive downloads etc.

As always thanks for your support - we couldn't have got this far without you - the best is yet to come!

The Sound of You

Chapter 9 The last full moon of summer and Pledge Music updates

Chico talks . . .
about the Sound of You and the Last Full MooN of Summer exclusively for Blog readers
A big thank you for your support - we couldn't do this without you!

The Sound of You

Jan writes ...
Being a pioneer is both exciting and nerve-wracking! 
Crowd funding is a new idea and we creators and artists have lately had to become marketeers too.
Seven weeks ago we partnered with PledgeMusic to raise the money to record the album 'The Sound of You'
Estelle went off to South Africa to tour and promote, Jan's life turned into even more of an online frenzy than before and Chico dived into a new world of social media and online interaction!

Here's the list of products we are selling on PledgeMusic to raise the money to record the songbook (all prices in USD)
Remember you don't have to buy at the time just pledge to buy when we reach our goal.

$10 gets you a digital download and is available for all pledgers!
CD - an old fashioned (and preferred way of listening to music)
Signed CD (one day could be a collector's item?)
Signed Lead Sheet (another collector's item?)
Demos from Estelle (Limited edition) (already a collector's item)
Card series - signed series of 6 from JaN PuLSFoRD
E-songbook (three options including name in liner notes)
Skype Prodshop - talk to Chico and Jan about music and production
Skype SongShop - a lesson from Estelle on singing
Skype Concert - a private concert from Estelle
Serenade - a private concert from Estelle with a signed CD, pack of cards and poster
Executive Producer - Your name on the album, a signed CD, photo, Cards plus a limited print edition of the Sound of You Songbook
Meeting with Estelle - a cup of coffee, slice of cake and a limited print edition of the Sound of You Songbook with signed CD and poster!
A song for you - Chico, Jan and Estelle will write and record a song especially for you!
An instrumental for you - Chico records a special trio version of a Sound of You track
Concerts (two options) including one with Chico Freeman and a host of goodies.

We are posting a lot of updates on the pledge music site plus the blog and youtube channel. 
Special mp3s from Chico and Estelle plus Jan's new SHaPeSHiFTeR album available next weekend for all pledgers.

Phew! Looking forward to recording the music of the Sound of You very soon

Thanks everyone!
Estelle, Jan, Chico xxx

Ch:8 - Closer to the Pledge

The deadline of April 4th approaches. 
We are getting close . . . A big thank you to those who have followed us on this brave adventure  and believed in us by pledging to buy the album and songbook.

Crowdfunding is the new way of paying for the recording of music where the listener becomes part of the making of an album. It's not too late to jump aboard!

Along with a digital download you could become an executive producer, have your name on the album, have a song written for you, host a concert in your house or venue, dinner date with Estelle! Just about anything your heart desires - from $10 (USD) to $15k


Estelle is in South Africa touring 'The Sound of You' with Kevin Gibson and Herbie Tsoaeli
Jan is busy posting videos, blogs, updates etc. and preparing for the last two weeks of the pledge music campaign
Chico is strategising and preparing for the recording which, thanks to your support, will be happening in the studio 14th April

We have special downloads available for those who pledge
Chico is offering some mp3s of his recordings
JaN is offering a complete aMBieNT MuSiC WoRLD album download at the end of the pledge campaign!
Estelle is sending exclusive rehearsal iPhone recordings, pictures and messages from South Africa

The Sound of You
Read the story here
Listen and see
then Pledge

Thanks for your support
Estelle, Jan and Chico

Ch:7 - Three weeks left on the PledgeMusic Campaign - we are 23% of the way there!

Jan writes …
Can hardly believe we only have another three weeks left on the PledgeMusic Campaign and we are 23% of the way there!

A BIG thank you to our friends who have supported us so far. We can't do this recording without you!

Estelle starts her 'The Sound of You' performances this evening in Capetown with Herbie Tsoaeli and Kevin Gibson.

Next Tuesday JaN and Chico will be talking about the project live on the Sound of You - You Tube Channel so do join them at 8PM UK time and on

Also have a look at some of the videos from our journey on the NEW YouTube Channel
We'll FB and tweet as others get archived.

This week on PledgeMusic we have a special offer from Chico - if you pledge you get one of his recordings - 'Ballad for Hakima' is a beautiful lyrical piece from his album 'Tangents' and is the basis for the song "Times in my life" as performed by Estelle Kokot on the Sound of You album which, with your help. we will be recording next month.

A digital download of The Sound of You, ordered in advance costs $10 - so not a bad deal! Of course if you want more it's there on our PledgeMusic page - the more you pledge the more we can record! From $10 - $15K - songbooks, greeting cards, private concerts, Skype chats, executive producer, and even a song written and recorded especially for you or a loved one . . . Check it out ...

The next three weeks will be full on as we work to make our target so watch this space!

Thanks again

Estelle, Jan and Chico.


Chapter 6 - Close to the Pledge

One Month into our campaign to get the Sound of You recorded! Thanks to all our friends/patrons of the arts who have promised to buy songbooks, cards, demos, signed lead sheets and CDs. 
Everyone who pledges gets a digital download of the Sound of You album too !!

Jan is also offering . . .  A set of exclusive greeting cards and a songbook including the music with her pictures and lyrics . . .
PLUS everyone who pledges gets a copy of her latest aMBieNT MuSIC WoRLD album on March 15th!  More details soon of that and the on line fundraiser on
. . . She also needs to get somewhere warm

Estelle is touring South Africa . . .
and as part of the PledgeMusic rewards has also offered an album of never heard before demos, a Vocal Workshop, a chance to meet, plus a variety of intimate house concerts! What an opportunity!

Chico Freeman wants to play . . .an exclusive concert for pledgers and also the chance to chat to him and Jan via Skype about their musical lives and experiences. He is also giving his fans the opportunity to have a song written for them along with the chance to become an executive producer of the project! 

From $10 to $15k . . . There is something for everyone!
Come on don't be shy - just pledging the price of a couple of coffees will help but of course the more you pledge the more we can afford to record and finish the project!

Any questions don't hesitate to ask . . .

Thanks everyone for being part of The Sound of You

Chapter 5: Towards The Sound of You ...

Estelle is in South Africa singing to the sea …

 Chico reaches out to jazz fans telling the story of the Sound of You . . .

Best known for his groundbreaking jazz, multi reedman Chico Freeman has travelled a lifetime of musical adventures. The son of legendary Chicago tenor sax player Von Freeman, Chico's journey has taken him around the world alongside such musical giants as Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Charles Mingus, Jack DeJohnette, Art Blakey and Wynton Marsalis.

What a lot of people don't know is that behind the scenes for the last 13 years Chico has been writing a new songbook for the 21st Century, a lyrical melodic collection of Timeless Classic Songs, written with lyricist, vintage composer/songwriter/multi-media artist Jan Pulsford. Jan's long musical career encompasses electronica to pop, classical to folk, dance to rock. Cyndi Lauper, Darlene Love, Steps, Anthony Head and Ani di Franco have recorded Jan’s songs along with music consistently used by media producers all over the world.

So how did this unlikely partnership come about? 
Jan's appreciation of jazz lyrics and melodies comes from a childhood listening to Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ella Fitzgerald and Nelson Riddle. After touring with the Thompson Twins she worked closely with Keki Mingus, daughter of the great Charles Mingus, on the "Let my Children hear Music' project. Producing tracks for the album she mixed trip hop and hip-hop with jazz, rap and vocals to create a unique sound.

Meeting Chico Freeman through the Rocket Network opened up a new way of writing. Apple asked them to become beta testers for a new platform for creative collaboration online. Through this groundbreaking new medium they started creating - meeting in person only occasionally. Chico and Jan have recorded music for the Audrey Tautou film “Happy End" plus music and songs for several other independent films and albums.

Always looking for a singer to record their ever expanding songbook they eventually found Estelle Kokot, a London based jazz stylist and singer songwriter in her own right. Out of a catalogue of close to 60 songs they whittled it down to 16 to record and Estelle has spent the last year making them her own.

The Freeman/Pulsford musical partnership has spawned some of their most inspired songs, lyrics and music. Jan has written words to some of Chico's previously recorded compositions like Mystery, Ballad for Hakima and Evolution. They also continue to collaborate musically and lyrically on new songs. 

The album, entitled "The Sound of You' is now ready to record and, ever the online pioneers, Chico and Jan are crowdsourcing the making of the album on Pledge Music.

You can hear Estelle Kokot talk in the video about singing and interpreting the song book, along with how you can get involved with this new way of funding the recording of music.

Read the blog here every Wednesday - documenting the story and journey of the Sound of You songbook - a lyrical album rooted in jazz with a sound stretching from Chicago to Johannesburg, New York to London.

Jan is pleased to see ...
the Sound of You made the  London Jazz news!

Thanks everyone for your continued support - we are on the way - only another 30 days left to reach our target!

Jan, Chico and Estelle xx

Ch:4 - Today the South African leg of the journey of The Sound of You starts!

Today the South African leg of the journey of The Sound of You starts!
Estelle Kokot leaves for South Africa to start touring and preparing for the Sound of You Recording.
This is a complete vow of faith as we are still getting people to pre-order the album on Pledge Music along with ordering more goodies like Songbooks and Skype lessons, Private Concerts and Greeting Cards, Exclusive Recordings and Signed CDs.
What an adventure! Come and join us ...

Bon voyage Estelle! We will be there soon and will be eagerly following your African music adventures

Jan +  Chico xx

"Within a few notes you know you’ve hit a jackpot with Estelle indefinably mature combination of meticulously well-chosen notes and a voice to strip you down bare and trembling. With enviable grace and confidence she balances her voice and her piano work and displays her musical wares with such panache you could hear a crotchet fall". Gisele Turner - JazzEye.

Ch:3 - PledgeMusic Campaign launched after Estelle's sold out Vortex Jazz Club Gigs


Jan writes . . .

So here we are a week into the pledge music campaign to get the Sound of You recorded. Estelle leaves for South Africa in a weeks time to tour and prepare for the recording scheduled for April.

Meanwhile the pledges keep coming in to turn this dream into a reality!
Thanks so much for being part of the journey and  lending your support to this brave new adventure.
We really do appreciate it - more than you can imagine!

"Within a few notes you know you’ve hit a jackpot with Estelle indefinably mat
ure combination of meticulously well-chosen notes and a voice to strip you down bare and trembling. With enviable grace and confidence she balances her voice and her piano work and displays her musical wares with such panache you could hear a crotchet fall". Gisele Turner - JazzEye.


640x360 estelleA

After her recent sold out performance at the Vortex Jazz Club, Estelle Kokot returns for one last exclusive show before heading to South Africa for the "Sound of You" tour and recording. Join her for a Pledge Music launch party mixed with an intimate evening of old and new songs.
                       VORTEX JAZZ CLUB SUNDAY 9th FEBRUARY 2014
8:15pm (doors 7:30pm)
ENDS 10:15pm

11 Gillett Square
N16 8AZ
Tickets: £10.00

020 7254 4097
ESTELLE KOKOT - Mimi Picture
Estelle Kokot has been called, "an original story-teller" by the Sunday Times in South Africa. An extraordinary South African singer, songwriter, arranger and pianist, she has played the jazz clubs and concert halls of South Africa, as well as the jazz circuit in London and European festivals like the Düsseldorfer Jazz Rally and Rother BlueStage. One of the first women to sing at seminal South African Jazz venue, KIPPIES in the 1980s, Estelle debuted with South African Jazz super group Phambili. She went on to guest regularly with South African World Music stars Bayete at clubs in and around Johannesburg and Soweto, before joining jazz fusion band, Rush Hour in 1988. Their album, "The Perfect Way", flew up the charts and kept music lovers of all genres mesmerised. Chico Freeman says… "Finding the singer to sing the story that captures the spirit and the heart of the song is the objective and the desire. This is Estelle."
ESTELLE KOKOT - EK by Jan black and white copy

ESTELLE KOKOT - Black and White at the piano
“An excellent arranger of her own and other people’s material. If you want to hear a genuine innovator with a creative twist on Jazz vocals, include Estelle Kokot.” – The Guardian