If You Get Invited to Someone’s House, Always Go – Part 3

Palabra del día: Tapón
Translation: Traffic jam

Explanation: Though the DR’s capital Santo Domingo has a lot going for it, traffic control is not one of those things. On a recent trip there, I was stuck in a traffic jam for two hours, on what should have been a 20 minute drive. On the plus side, I now know the word “tapón!”

Foto del día:

This photo is from a recent gig at a super fancy resort in the nearby town of Puerto Plata. Scroll down for a video of our performance and to read about all of the juicy details.

recent gig

Photo from Juan Guivin

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Thursday, October 8th, 2015 Audio, Thoughts, Video 2 Comments

Getting Started

Palabra del dia: Un chin
Translation: A little
Explanation: In Spain, people say “un poco” or “un poquito”, but Dominicans are always asking for “un chin de café” (just a little bit of coffee). If you want less than un chin, say “chin chin,” and if you want less than that, say “chil-i-lin.”

Comida del día: I recently took a cooking lesson with my neighbor, who has also quickly become my Dominican grandmother. Check out her recipe for arroz con pollo here.

Foto del día: Here are some students learning percussion in the backyard of the Bachata School:

students learn percussion

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Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 Thoughts, Video 4 Comments

Da Hip Life Episode 3- Interview with Jean Feier

Jean Feier is a Ghanaian artist who spent a good portion of her childhood in Europe; she’s a German national who also lived in England and Ghana. All three countries have left their mark on her personality and artistry, and she speaks many different languages! She draws influence from the music of her many cultures – grabbing bits and pieces as she sees fit. She just released her first EP – a six track offering called 93M Child – as part of Ghana’s up-and-coming Royal KCMG collective. Intensely in touch with her own emotions, her life equally shines through the lyrics and musical backdrop. Yes, she’s a rapper, but in line with today’s musical trends, her music continues to blend genres and bend definitions.
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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 Thoughts, Video 1 Comment

Da Hip Life Episode 2- Interview with Klu

Klu is one of the most prolific artists I’ve ever met. As he began his career, he set the ambitious goal to release 12 mixtapes in only four years. Yes, you read that correctly, in order to “find himself” as an artist, he put out TWELVE free full projects for the masses, honing his skills and experimenting with different sounds. He is an emcee and a producer, and he keeps his circle tight. While he has songs with some of the biggest names in Ghana (Edem, Sarkodie, Joey B etc…) he will not work with just anyone. His artistic integrity won’t allow it. Before making a beat for someone or rapping over another producer’s work, he must be able really to understand his fellow artist. He needs to comprehend what they are doing with their music and where they are coming from. Most of his production, under the slightly varied KluMonsta or King Klu monikers, features members of his collective The Royal KCMG, his girlfriend and fellow artist Jean Feier, or it winds up hosting his own vocals.
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Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 Thoughts, Video 2 Comments

Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs)

The stage and hosts

Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to attend a major, national awards ceremony. I won’t say “never,” but my career aspirations will probably keep me away from the accolades and/or money required to grab a ticket for, say, The Grammys. But in early April, I was able to secure a seat at the Vodaphone (sponsored) Ghana Music Awards (VGMAs). It was quite an experience and one that I will never forget! There WAS a red carpet filled with press cameras, TV personalities as well as screaming fans. There were pre-show interviews about which designers the celebrities were sporting, their pending nominations and other aspects of their personal lives. There were rows of seats in front reserved for all of the biggest names in Ghanaian music from High Life legend Daddy Lumba to up-and-comer Mz. Vee, hip life mainstays Edem and E.L, and international stars like Yemi Alade. I was pleased to see many artists take the opportunity to shine light on social issues from the recent tragedy in Kenya to the struggles with Boko Haram.
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Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 Thoughts, Video 1 Comment

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