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IOWA STRONG: Local artists come together to create “Derecho Mixtape”

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - People from around the country have been looking for ways to help the victims of last month's derecho. Some helped pick up debris while others gave food or money.

Dozens of musicians are using their talents to help victims of last month's derecho. They are collaborating and donating songs to put together a special mixtape to raise money for relief efforts.

Many of the musicians who are contributing are from the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area.

Like Aaron Jackson, they saw the effects of the storm and the need for help first hand.

"We were the only house on the street that had power for a week," Jackson said. "You see trees through people's houses and limbs all over people's yards. It's one of those things where you know there will be a lot of cleaning-up to do."

Jackson did not get a lot of damage to his house but has spent a lot of time helping friends, neighbors, and others clean up the damage.

When he heard several artists donated songs for storm relief, he knew he wanted to get in.

"There are a lot of dreams and hope that hang in the balance in a time like this," he said. "It's why you need the people of your community to use the gifts and talents they have and rally together to support each other."

Ed Bornstein and Andrew Cahak are putting the tape together. The two will put it out through Bornstein's record label, Money Tapes. The label donates all profits to mutual aid organizations.

This will be the third tape the label has put out. Proceeds from downloads will go to two non-profits. Trees Forever, a group working to repair the tree canopy, and the Intercultural Center of Iowa, a group helping some of the refugees whose apartment buildings were destroyed by the storm.

"We are both from Cedar Rapids and we figured we wanted to help from afar because we don't live there anymore," Bornstein said. "And this is what we want to do to help."

Any artist can submit music for the album. Cahak and Bornstein want to get as many artists to contribute as possible.

"Hopefully it will remind people that they are going through a tough time right now but there is a reason to celebrate because we have had tough times in the past and good things have come out of them," Cahak said.

Bornstein said the tape will be a mix of different cuts.

In addition to raising money for victims of the derecho, the hope is that it will introduce people to local artists or bands they might not have heard of before.

"That is part of the fun about this for me," Cahak said. "Getting to expose folks in Cedar Rapids to artists that live in their neighborhood, that are part of their community, that came and went and they never even knew about them in the first place."

Jackson said he hopes people find the song he put on the mixtape uplifting and inspiring.

"I hope it reaches out to people, and it picks them up," he said. "It gets them going and makes them want to do something."

It's a chance for people to get a taste of a new tune. And the music industry to get a much-needed boost amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There are a lot of people who know what I do, but they don't know how good I am at it," he said. "They're about to find out."

Cahak and Bornstein are releasing the mixtape on Bandcamp on October 2. It will only be available for download for a month.

Cahak encouraged those who want to download it to do so on either the first day or the last day it is for sale. On those days, Bandcamp is forgoing its share of revenue so that all downloads will go directly to derecho victims.

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Daniel Perreault


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