Fulbright and mtvU sent students around the world to study and promote "the power of music." Check out their blogs here.

So Close, Yet So Far: J-pop, Consumerism, and Alienation?

I glanced at my clock. Ten o’clock on the nose. Perfect. I’ll wait a few minutes just in case the website is slow. I smiled. After missing other shows and waiting too late to buy tickets, I’ve finally and totally got this one.

At 10:35, after countless website crashes and error messages, I finally made it to the Tokyo Dome ticket center web page for Haru Fest 2015 headlined by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – one of Japan’s most famous pop stars domestically and, recently, overseas – and was informed that the show had already been sold out, not even an hour after ticket sales were opened.

Keep in mind that Tokyo Dome has 55,000 seats.

I arrived in Akihabara, home to the eponymous and extraordinarily famous idol group AKB48, at 4:30, just as the crowds of white collar workers and twenty-something men were gathering outside of the AKB48 Cafe and Shop in hopes to catch the daily screening of special music videos recorded for the occasion that are played inside. Strolling confidently up to the ticket window and ready to join these somewhat dejected-looking souls, I was confronted with a sign informing me that the numbers that are drawn to determine who is lucky enough to buy a ticket and actually enter the theater are only distributed from 4:00 to 4:15. Sure enough, two schoolgirl-clad staff members emerged from the cafe and started calling the lucky numbers. Disappointed, I asked a staff member about possibly buying a ticket to see the daily live performance over in the AKB48 Theater, to which he flatly said that tickets are only sold online – and are quite difficult to get, even though the main members of the group don’t perform there.

With my purpose for heading out to Akihabara shot down in flames, I sheepishly headed back toward the station.
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Thursday, March 26th, 2015 Uncategorized 1 Comment

The launch of Saga Summit

Saga Summit

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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 Thoughts 1 Comment

Dwenesie Music Institute


As I take a historical approach to understand the ways that music has impacted Ghana’s history and culture: socially, politically, and economically, a major aspect of my contemporary focus will be the infrastructure in place for today’s youth to learn music. My focus on music education will hopefully culminate with enabling youth who lack access to music instruction opportunities to begin to learn music. One of my first stops in Accra’s scholastic landscape was the Dwenesie Music Institute (DWI), home of Dinah Reindorf.

When Dinah attended Achimota Secondary School , music education was compulsory for three years before the musicians could move on to higher levels, and those who weren’t inclined could drop it. However that is no longer the case. Dinah explained that the music theory and composition classes begin at very high levels which have two negative effects on the education of their students. It can discourage students who may be naturally talented in music but not at the academic level required of their grade level. On the other hand, it can lower the standards of schools in order to accommodate these same students and in turn potentially devalue the certificates they receive, especially on the international scale.
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Monday, March 16th, 2015 Thoughts, Video No Comments

Sabolai Music Festival


The music of Ghana fills the air, and I experienced it live at the Sabolai Music Festival. In the words of the concert producer, Accra[dot]Alt, is about “good music, art, food, fashion and fun,” promotes public space, and provides “a wicked day + night concert with live performances that will keep you in high spirits.” I was not disappointed.
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Thursday, March 12th, 2015 Slideshow, Thoughts, Video No Comments

After-race Arabic night

Crowd Concert

Abu Dhabi was full of high profile concerts during the Formula One race weekend, November 20-23. The concerts were part of an entertainment festival called Yasalam, organized by the Abu Dhabi-based live events company, Flash Entertainment. The festival culminated during the race weekend with huge, simultaneous concerts in different parts of Abu Dhabi. I went to the opening Arabic night of the after-race concert series at du Arena on Yas Island (where the race circuit is also located), a half hour drive from downtown Abu Dhabi. The Arabic night featured four singers—Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, Lebanese artist Carole Samaha, Emirati Fayez AlSaeed, and Egyptian Tamer Hosny.
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Friday, February 27th, 2015 Thoughts, Video 1 Comment


In partnership with Fulbright