Karol Tomoki Yamazaki's profile

Ondinata: Songs for Ondine

Ondinata: Songs for Ondine

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CD Album + Booklet Design
Website Design
Ondinata is a charity music project aiming to raise awareness on CCHS, a rare genetic disorder also known as Ondine's curse, and raise funds for research on the cure.

CCHS (congenital central hypoventilation syndrome) is a life-threatening disease affecting the central and autonomic nervous system, controlling many of the automatic bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and others.

People with CCHS take shallow breaths (hypoventilate), especially during sleep, resulting in a shortage of oxygen in the blood.

Living with this condition requires being supported by a machine stimulating breathing. Some require it at night, some 24 hours a day.

It's a very rare disorder with only about 1200 cases recorded worldwide.

photo: Magda Hueckel
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CCHS is currently incurable, however, recent advances in research have identified the underlying cause. Still, there is a long way ahead before a cure can be manufactured.

Polish CCHS Foundation Zdejmij Klątwę (Lift the Curse) is supporting the Polish CCHS community and organising fundraising projects.
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Ondine is an immortal water spirit. Her myth, popularised in a 1811 novella Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, tells a story of a nymph abandoning her immortality in order to gain a human soul and marry Huldbrand, mortal man. He returns to his first love though, for which Ondine puts a curse on him, making him breathe only when he remembers to. Soon afterwards Huldbrand dies.

The novella being very popular at the time, the first physicians that discovered this rare condition in infants have dubbed it Ondine's curse.
The Album
Ondinata is a two-disc compilation of songs for both children and adults. The majority being written specifically for the occasion, the songs are performed by artists from all over the world and sung in 5 different languages.

The idea behind the album is to musically describe the night of a parent of a CCHS child – from the moment the child goes to bed, through the sleepless and sometimes terrifying nights, until the early morning, when the child wakes up and new hope arrives. Hence, the musical style of the songs varies greatly, ranging from traditional soothing lullabies, to folk and classical music, to alternative and experimental rock.

Patients with Ondine’s curse fall asleep to loud and unpleasant sounds of medical equipment, but Ondinata aims to change that. This is both a gift and a plea to Ondine to hopefully, one day, lift her curse.

All proceeds from the sales of Ondinata will go to support medical research on CCHS.

I have been contacted by the Foundation to design the album and the project's website.
Originally, the project's name was "Lullabies for Ondine". We quickly found out, however, that most songs on the album are not going to be typical lullabies, often veering towards darker territories.

Moreover, the album was going to be sold and promoted worldwide. I have suggested using a name that would be language-independent and wouldn't suggest a straightforward musical landscape.

I have proposed Ondinata, combining the nymph's name with "nata", an ending that sounds similar to the word "night" in many European languages. Furthermore, the name rhymes with "sonata", giving it a somewhat musical undertone.
Cover art
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The direct inspiration for the cover were the mystical iconography of European mythologies, combined with the aesthetics of hand-drawn illustrations found in XIX-century novels.

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Night is often seen as a moment of peace, but it can also be a place of mystery and danger. The hardest part for me was to find the balance between these two opposing forces: that of darkness and hope, of the incredible challenge CCHS poses for patients and their loved ones, and of a soothing calmness that a peaceful sleep provides.
Final cover art.
Cover design process.
(At first the project was called Ondinaté, hence the changing title.)
The crescent moon is also an indirect reference to the Polish CCHS Foundation's logo.
Songs on Ondinata are sung in Arabic, English, French, Polish and Yiddish, so I was aiming for an intentionally culturally ambiguous look, mixing different script styles.

Moreover, the logo had to be able to encompass all the different genres present on the album, ranging from etno to pop, jazz, alternative and folk music.

The initial shapes were inspired by the runic alphabet and uncial script, then I started introducing atypical calligraphy to give the logotype a more modern look.

The box is assembled without using any glue thanks to a special dieline, making production easier and more eco-friendly while giving a unique, handcrafted look.

The paper used inside the booklets is 100% recycled.
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Album contains 2 CDs and 2 booklets in Polish and English, with an essay by Joanna Bator, a renowned Polish author, and an accompanying text by the Foundation's founders, tying music on the album to the context of everyday experience of a caretaker of an CCHS child.
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The website contains information on participating artists, available editions and their song lists, biograms of children supported by the Foundation, updates on state of the research, and all other relevant information.
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A minimalistic opening animation serves as a short, symbolic introduction to the nature of Ondine's curse.
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The audio player is a key component of the website, allowing uninterrupted listening to all song samples while browsing through the site.
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Design System
Hopefully, this album is only the first of the series. I prepared a flexible design system to plan for the project's future growth.
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Icons were inspired by runic symbols. In addition to runes representing the album and its two parts, I drew a set of pictograms with broad, metaphoric meanings so that they can be reused across print and digital applications in different contexts.
Upcoming releases
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"Friends for Ondine", an EP with B-sides not included in the album is due to be released in June 2022.
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The vinyl edition of Ondinata is planned to be released in mid-2022.
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Because it's such a rare condition, some physicians still aren't aware that CCHS exists. However, an early diagnose is obviously crucial. Please consider contributing to the cause and sharing the word by talking to your friends and relatives about this. The more people know about CCHS, the better the chances we'll one day find the cure.
Thank you!
Learn more, listen to the music and see how you can help at:
Ondinata: Songs for Ondine

Ondinata: Songs for Ondine

Branding, naming, music packaging, booklet typesetting and website design for Ondinata: Songs for Ondine, a charity music project aiming to raise Read More