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Project:Constellation plays more local shows after trip to Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi.jpg
Christina Rosebrough and Santiago Silva stand at Tabor Monastery of the Transfiguration, in Tbilisi, Georgia. (Submitted photo)
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Fresh off a trip to Georgia -- the nation, not the state -- Grand Forks folk/punk duo Project:Constellation look forward to getting back to work playing shows in the city and across the region, while working on their next album.

The duo is made up fiancees Christina Rosebrough on violin and Santiago Silva, who plays guitar. Neither of the pair are native to Grand Forks. Rosebrough hails from California, and Silva was born in Romania before moving to Sweden, then Canada, before finally coming to the United States.

What brought them to Grand Forks?

“Our exes,” both laugh nearly in unison.

Project:Constellation got started as a quartet in March 2018, with a banjo, ukulele, guitar and violin, before dwindling down to three, then two, as members decided to drop out of the music business. That left Rosebrough and Silva, the most dedicated members who are now engaged. Together, the pair have recorded a CD titled “Our Oasis,” ordered and sell merchandise, and play shows throughout the Dakotas, a four state region, Winnipeg in Canada, and most recently, Tbilisi and Batumi, Georgia.

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“Half Brothers (Brewing Company), we played last night actually,” said Rosebrough, referring to their show on Oct. 22 at the downtown Grand Forks brew pub.

“That’s our main local watering hole,” said Silva. “But other than that we seem to go in spurts where we play Omaha a lot, Madison, Wis.., a lot, Minot, a lot and then it rotates. It just becomes that we have two or three in a row in some town.”

The pair formed Project:Constellation into an actual business, a partnership registered with North Dakota. Rosebrough handles the booking and Silva takes care of the books.

“We are running a profit, as a business,” said Silva. “Not something that one could maybe retire on just yet, but yes, the books are definitely in the black.”

They play covers or original songs depending on the type of venue and length of the engagement.

“Because it’s just us two, and because we’re so easy to toss into a corner for places, it makes it to where we can get into more (places) than you’d realize,” said Rosebrough. “A lot of coffee shops are more than happy to have us, restaurants are more than happy to have us, private functions, because we’re not super loud.”

Project:Constellation was invited to Georgia, after Silva’s Georgian friend, through a Facebook conversation, turned them on to Georgian band, Asea Sool.

“I reached out to them through their Facebook page,” Silva said. “Then they replied, and we started talking back and forth. I always wanted to go to Georgia anyways … We became friends with one of the members.”

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That online friendship with the band resulted in an invitation to visit the country, play a few shows, and even appear on a Georgian morning TV show -- “Bili Talga,” meaning “morning wave.”

“His wife works, she’s a TV presenter on one of those morning shows, and so through her, we got booked on that morning TV show," Silva said.

Though it wasn’t a money-making trip, the two enjoyed their time in Georgia, playing shows in Tbilisi and Batumi. Despite the language barrier (with sometimes comical implications), they intend to go back.

“It was funny because the translator slept in and didn’t show up,” laughed Rosebrough. “That made it funny for the interview … She got some of her facts wrong when she interviewed us, she said we were married, and all sorts of other weird things.”

The band has a busy future in store, as they intend to record another album, and film a music video in Winnipeg. An actual recording contract remains to be seen, due to the changing nature of the music business.

“That’s where my pay-grade ends, because I don’t know,” said Silva. “I don’t even know how the business works now. Everything seems to be so online and self promotion, DIY, and I’m not going to lie, I don’t know how that works anymore.”

Still, the band is pleased to make music and travel to different states, and sometimes different countries, as they continue their journey.

“At this point it’s like how much further can we go,” asked Rosebrough. “Let’s just do it, let’s just go!”

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Silva smiled and said, “Dare we dream bigger than this? Dare we go farther?”

Project:Constellation will play in St. Joseph on Nov. 2, at coffee shop Local Blend.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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