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ZedBeats and Kopala Swag

Hello from Harare, Zimbabwe! In just a few days I will be heading over to Zambia where I will begin my Fulbright-mtvU project. I will be exploring how young people assert individual and collective identities through participation in music culture on the Copperbelt in Zambia.

I have been in Harare, Zimbabwe since early September thanks to funding I received as a recipient of the NYU Gallatin Dean’s Award for Graduating Seniors. This is my third time visiting Zimbabwe and working with Magamba Cultural Activist Network, an organization that creates and promotes alternative media. Most notably, I have assisted with the organization of their annual music and arts festival “Shoko.” While in previous years I was unable to attend the festival because the dates conflicted with my classes at NYU, I was finally able to attend this year as a graduate. It was amazing to be able to attend the vibrant and diverse festival as well as reunite with many close friends and colleagues!

Peace in the Hood Concert in Chitungwiza

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Thursday, November 13th, 2014 Thoughts, Video 18 Comments

Tokyo Soundtracks: Controlling the Noise in Underground Clubs

Tokyo is one of the largest cities the world, with around 30 million people living in the metropolitan area. It’s also the most densely populated city on Earth. Tokyo is crowded, and it took me a few weeks to get used to it. Or, perhaps more accurately, it took me a few weeks to accept that going anywhere means being constantly surrounded by people, especially on the trains. It’s not exactly pleasant, particularly during rush hour or last train when station workers push people into train cars with a slab of cardboard.

Commuters jammed in on a Keihin Tōhoku Line train at rush hour, a shot I snapped on my mp3 player.

A cardboard-wielding station worker, waiting for the right moment to shove people into the cars for last train.

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts, Video No Comments

SO STOKED: Iceland Airwaves

It’s one of the largest festivals in Iceland with more than 800 shows happening over a five-day period all across Reykjavík. Most artists are from Iceland, but there are also folks coming in from as far as New Zealand, and as close as the UK.

This year Airwaves’ 7,000 tickets sold out by mid-October. Since it’s a showcase festival—premiering up-and-coming local and international acts, similar to SXSW in Austin, Texas—there are a large number of industry and media folks coming as well. It’s not just a festival for rising talent, though—The Flaming Lips, Caribou, The War on Drugs, Ásgeir and Jungle are also on the line-up. I got an industry pass along with other festival directors, music producers, label owners, media personalities, and managers. I’ll post a re-cap after the festival with a write-up about shows, pictures from the photo pit and videos of performances and adventures around the festival. Suffice to say, I will not be sleeping for five days.
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Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts, Video No Comments

Preparation and FAQ

As I await my departure for Accra in November, I thought I could answer some of the most common questions I receive, rundown some of my preparation and detail what I hope to do. I am lucky to live in the Bay Area, home to many organizations built for the preservation of the arts and arts education. I have spent the last months meeting with teachers, employees and heads of music programs of all kinds. It has been a fantastic time to learn, gather resources, make contacts and gain insight into the world I hope to join.

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Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 Thoughts, Video 5 Comments

GRASSROOTS: Change

The second Grassroots event in September was a success. My backyard was outfitted with a large tent, artwork, lights, a dual speaker and mixer setup, an “art wall” that people could draw/write on and candles to set the mood.

It was beautiful to see people I’ve never met before working together with people who have become close friends to build the event. I was full of gratitude. I put together a 30-second teaser of the event to help you get a feel for the environment:

The atmosphere of the event was full of openness and authenticity, which is what Saga Fest is all about. It was a beautiful gathering. It got me excited to see what an even larger community can build at Saga Fest in May.
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Thursday, October 16th, 2014 Thoughts, Video 6 Comments

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