Is the next Mos Def or Azealia Banks languishing in a region where there’s no way to get his or her talent across? The producer who’s laid down beats for those stars, ‘Apple Juice Kid’ (aka Stephen Levitin) along with fellow UNC prof Pierce Freelon aim to find out with a new PBS series called Beat Making Lab. In it, the pair take their talent, teaching skills and crates of audio gear to underserved communities in nations like Panama, Senegal and Fiji. The first episode (below the break) takes place in the Congo, where they’re shown setting up a permanent recording studio at the Yole!Africa non-profit community center, then giving a crash course in beat-making tech to six highly motivated students. The Congalese artists use that know-how to lay down tracks that reflect their unique personalities and culture, which are showcased at the culmination of the episode. The series covets more than just a nice performance, though, as one student put it: “When the instructors return to the US, it won’t be the end, but a beginning for us — because we’ll be able to teach others how to create their own beats.” – See on www.engadget.com
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YES! YES! YES! Musical talent is global, but popular music these days has become a homogenous four on the floor. Economics maintain its rule over culture where popular music is made and distributed by those who simply can. But great music is born under the radar with not a critic or contextual baron in site. Great music, I believe, and history often states, is made out of a human capacity to communicate in the moment for the moment. Talent is abound everywhere, yes, but talent is cultivated where most commercial and aspiring eyes may not think to look.
I hope there are more Beat Making Labs or similar by another name that highlight and support new voices,lyrics, moans and tones from the global majority. People who have little access to technology possibly have greater access to creative freedom. Hopefully technology will also provide new means to distribute and share the music they music with the rest of us.