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Workshops

“In my 12/13 years of promoting events around the world this would easily rate as one of the most positive that I have had the honor of being apart of, and that is saying something.”

Marc Kets, Idyllwild Arts Academy, California

“Democracy in Dakar, and a performance of the African All Stars is a must have for any school! The performance is enthralling, and gets students and staff who may not be into Hip Hop fully involved. It is an incredible package!”

Jamal Reid, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vermont Academy

“Thanks guys for such a wonderful show. It all worked so well: the film, where you let the people
speak for themselves, your very interesting observations during the Q and A, and then finally the
actual music. It was truly wonderful, and they learned more in one period in your assembly than they
would carry away from an equivalent class (or three or four).”

Tina Thuermer, Alumni Coordinator, Washington International School

“Nomadic Wax was hip, professional, polished, on point, and edgy enough to make a difference with our audience. They speak, present, and perform from a grounding of great conscience and confidence; their sense of purpose and justice is infectious.”

Dan Scheibe, Middlesex Boarding School

“You must take a look at this highly motivated, politically conscious project.”

Luke Branston, BBC NEWS

“One of the concert highlights at Wesleyan University in a long time.”

Prof. Eric Charry, Wesleyan University, Author of Mande Music

“Intellectually vibrant and artistically brilliant!”

Prof. Emily Musil, History & International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

“The artists featured in Democracy in Dakar present a model for hip-hop as a force for social change that reverberates across borders”

Cora Currier – The Nation

“In my 12/13 years of promoting events around the world this would easily rate as one of the most positive that I have had the honor of being apart of, and that is saying something.”

Marc Kets, Idyllwild Arts Academy, California

“Democracy in Dakar, and a performance of the African All Stars is a must have for any school! The performance is enthralling, and gets students and staff who may not be into Hip Hop fully involved. It is an incredible package!”

Jamal Reid, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vermont Academy

“Nomadic Wax was hip, professional, polished, on point, and edgy enough to make a difference with our audience. They speak, present, and perform from a grounding of great conscience and confidence; their sense of purpose and justice is infectious.”

Dan Scheibe, Middlesex Boarding School

“You must take a look at this highly motivated, politically conscious project.”

Luke Branston, BBC NEWS

“One of the concert highlights at Wesleyan University in a long time.”

Prof. Eric Charry, Wesleyan University, Author of Mande Music

“Intellectually vibrant and artistically brilliant!”

Prof. Emily Musil, History & International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

“Intellectually vibrant and artistically brilliant!”

Prof. Emily Musil, History & International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

“The artists featured in Democracy in Dakar present a model for hip-hop as a force for social change that reverberates across borders.”

Cora Currier – The Nation

“In my 12/13 years of promoting events around the world this would easily rate as one of the most positive that I have had the honor of being apart of, and that is saying something.”

Marc Kets, Idyllwild Arts Academy, California

“Democracy in Dakar, and a performance of the African All Stars is a must have for any school! The performance is enthralling, and gets students and staff who may not be into Hip Hop fully involved. It is an incredible package!”

Jamal Reid, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vermont Academy

“Nomadic Wax was hip, professional, polished, on point, and edgy enough to make a difference with our audience. They speak, present, and perform from a grounding of great conscience and confidence; their sense of purpose and justice is infectious.”

Dan Scheibe, Middlesex Boarding School

“You must take a look at this highly motivated, politically conscious project.”

Luke Branston, BBC NEWS

“One of the concert highlights at Wesleyan University in a long time.”

Prof. Eric Charry, Wesleyan University, Author of Mande Music

“Intellectually vibrant and artistically brilliant!”

Prof. Emily Musil, History & International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

“The artists featured in Democracy in Dakar present a model for hip-hop as a force for social change that reverberates across borders.”

Cora Currier – The Nation

“In my 12/13 years of promoting events around the world this would easily rate as one of the most positive that I have had the honor of being apart of, and that is saying something.”

Marc Kets, Idyllwild Arts Academy, California

“Democracy in Dakar, and a performance of the African All Stars is a must have for any school! The performance is enthralling, and gets students and staff who may not be into Hip Hop fully involved. It is an incredible package!”

Jamal Reid, Assistant Dean of Admissions, Vermont Academy

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#3399CCfadetrue

DC2DK - Hip Hop Arts Exchange.

tumblr n8swqshwsP1rchvkfo1 400 DC2DK   Hip Hop Arts Exchange.

 

July 2, 2014. Washington, DC.

 

“It took me a while to write this. Due partially to life, the circumstances  surrounding the exchange, and the impact received; it all left me in a very specific place in my personal development, and I needed a bit of time to process it all. I left DC for Senegal in June 2013, a full year ago. The project was part of the DCCAH Sister Cities grant that I won with full support from my friends at Nomadic Wax and their connections within the continent and especially in Senegal. I looked forward to meeting with all of the musicians we were set to collaborate with but logistical delays cut the exchange much shorter then anticipated. As an emcee that adheres to the foundation of hip hop culture – innovation- I did just that. I innovated and improvised, leaving the stress behind me in DC and opening myself up completely to the project and experiences that awaited me. Our team was made up of myself, NYC-based cinematographer Alfonso Bui, Italian emcee/producer/Dj Nio of the legendary Italian underground hip hop crew Zero Plastica, and our local fixer Daouda Fall.  Upon landing in Dakar, the capitol city of Senegal, we settled in and met up with our hosts and local Senegalese team and partners. We went straight to work, post jet lag of course.

DC2DK Team 747x1024 DC2DK   Hip Hop Arts Exchange.

My primary mission was to bring and share the culture of DC, my home, with my Senegalese collaborators, and to learn from the Senegalese arts scene in turn.  Having been exposed to the proliferation of Americanized hip hop in France in the late 90′s, I was particularly interested in the social affects that Hip hop culture, in all of its forms, was having on the Senegalese youth. With help from Nomadic Wax, I had already developed a long term friendship and collaborative relationship with revolutionary Senegalese hip hop crew Keur Gui, who had spent time in Washington DC the previous year. In meeting with Thiat and Kilifeu from Keur Gui in DC, I had already been exposed to the political power that positive messaging had in current Senegalese scene. Now in Dakar on their turf, I re-linked with Keur Gui via my sponsoring organization Africulturban which was formed by Amadou Fall Ba. Africulturban is an amazing hip hop community center that also produces Senegal’s largest hip hop festival, Festa2HH.  Amadou works in coalition with the US State Department as well as the French Cultural Center, bringing international acts to expose them to the Senegalese scene. We were gonna be rocking Festa2HH, and it was exciting to see such a stellar lineup of international talent. But back to Keur Gui – they were scheduled to perform in Burkina Faso that week, so I only had a day to link with them.  The hang was an eye opener to say the least.  President Obama was scheduled to be in Senegal during my stay and you could feel and experience the increase in security in the streets throughout Dakar. As we toured the city, Keur Gui gave me the insider’s guide to what was going on. They showed me how the streets never had as many police as there were at the time of night, we spoke of the infrastructure or rather the lack thereof in regard to municipal services, paved roads, etc that were being ignored from both the former and current governments.  Selective service improvements were the name of the game and often times those services were provided to “friends” and family of those in power.  I understood completely especially being from DC. Everywhere we went, I sought out the similarities between DC and Dakar, from the music scene, clubs, the frustrated youth, etc.  It is all the same in some respects, c’est comme tous le monde.
I also linked with PPS, an up and coming turned famous emcee from Rufisque, at the bed and breakfast that was our team’s homebase. I first encountered PPS in DC as part of a State Department sponsored program that Magee, my Nomadic Wax partner, linked me with. As part of that program, PPS was excited to experience American hip hop culture in person and came away from that experienced inspired to continue to create his own voice and audience. He truly succeeded in doing so. We stayed in touch, and it was amazing to reconnect in Dakar. Since I had last seen him in DC, he had already been featured on one of the most famous TV shows in Senegal, earned two music awards, and started his own hip hop based cultural center in his neigborhood of Rufisque.  Back at the B&B, we chopped it up, discussing the current musical landscape for someone like himself who though aware of the political climate, tends to concentrate on writing prolific verse to educate and stimulate the audience with life lessons.  We set up the ill B&B studio, and created a track from scratch. The song is quite cinematic, lyrically exploring our experiences growing up in both Senegal and DC and how, in fact, both cities have similar backgrounds, from the social ills to the political landscape.

PPS 682x1024 DC2DK   Hip Hop Arts Exchange.

From there, our team travelled back to the Africulturban HQ in Pikine for an additional concert. Pikine is definitely not Dakar. It further exhibited the lack of infrastructure needed in addition provided a complete understanding as to why a cultural center was needed. Africulturban is a haven for the creative mind. You can learn a number of legal hustles; from management to stage production, just from your affiliation and proximity, as Amadou rarely lets anyone do nothing. The concert was exceptional; given that when we arrived there was a stage only and little to no sound available for sound check as it was being built… literally built as we mingled about. However, in the truest spirit of innovation and ingenuity, the concert started and was dope. Once again I was exposed to emcees from all over  the continent, from France, England, Belgium, all of whom rhymed in their own respective languages.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my team members Zo, Nio, and Daouda. Zo ran the streets unassisted at several points, feeling truly comfortable enough to get the necessary footage for the film we were making. He DP’d and managed his shots and our limited amount of time like a true professional. Nio, or rather DJ Nio, is to me the most gracious human being on the planet. Our language barrier did not limit our communication. He took everything in stride and provided his mic skills as well. I left feeling as if I had made a friend for life in Nio. And needless to say, without Daouda, we would have got nothing done. Many thanks to Ben and Magee of Nomadic Wax, without whom the project as a whole may not have been possible.
All in all, I have a longing for Dakar. It is truly a sister city to DC. I’ve always felt that things are far easier to see clearly when you let go of your preconceived ideas and put your trust and faith in the cathartic process of pure collaboration. Herein lies the magic, and magical it was”.

Kokay

Watch the video HERE.

Listen to the mixtape HERE.

Photography by: Alfonso Bui

Cover by: Dj Nio

Kid Glyde's B-boy Challenge

This workshop, led by Victor “Kid Glyde” Alicea, will teach participants basic breakdancing moves as well as the history of breakdancing. It will explore the four main elements of the dance, which include Top Rock, Footwork, Freezes, and Power Moves. Moreover, this workshop  will give participants a first hand experience of the art of breaking through the movements and philosophies of the acclaimed NYC b-boy crew, the Dynamic Rockers.

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Vinyl Never Dies: History and Lessons in Turntablism

Led by world-renowned DJ Boo, this workshop teaches participants the history of hip-hop turntablism and DJing. Audiences watch video footage of famous moments and famous DJs. DJ Boo delivers background information about the history of turntablism. Then, following a demonstration, workshop participants are invited to learn and demonstrate a variety of turntable techniques themselves. Along with Mikal Lee, the Freestyle Workshop facilitator, DJ Boo will demonstrate the relationship between MC and DJ.”

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Breaking with B-girl Frak

Lucile Graciano, aka B-girl Frak is a leading B- girl from France who’s been representing women in hip-hop since 2007, when she moved to NYC. During this workshop, B-girl Frak will take you through the foundations and history of Breaking. Students also learn the basics of breakdancing, including footwork, freezes, and power-moves. All students participate in the final cypher.

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Drop Beats Not Bombs

Veteran producers, Ben Herson, Dan Cantor, and Lou Piensa, will take workshop participants through the basics of Mac-based digital audio station, Reason – an out-of-the- box virtual midi production studio. Within hours, participants of all levels will learn the fundamentals of beat-making, sampling, midi, and more. The class is designed to teach core production and arranging skills, while giving participants the opportunity to explore with sound-crafting in an interactive and participatory environment.

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Guerrilla Filmmaking

Filmmakers lead a hands-on workshop that focuses on the very basics of filmmaking . Using affordable and accessible equipment like cell phone cameras and flip cams, this workshop focuses on the development of basic skills, both theoretical and technical. In addition, participants build confidence and courage as they learn how accessible this line of work can be, despite any economic or socio-political challenges they might face. Real world examples are used to prove the usefulness and effectiveness of guerilla filmmaking.

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My Favorite Rapper Wears a Skirt

Eternia is an award-winning hip-hop emcee, and uses her art to be an advocate for girls and women worldwide. She has performed and facilitated rap workshops all around the globe, in partnership with organizations including OXFAM, Amnesty International, Keep A Child Alive, Save The Children, and more.

In her workshop “My Favorite Rapper Wears a Skirt,” Eternia speaks from her experience as a rapper who advocates for women. She also helps workshop participants write and perform their own raps that engages with social issues they may be passionate about.

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The Diaspora Project

The Diaspora Media Project is an ongoing recording project between hip-hop artist- activists from around the world. Created by Nomadic Wax in 2009, this project brings together over fifty local and international artists, who collaborate on two full-length mixtapes and one 20-minute video. Using cutting- edge technology to engage diverse voices on a range of current topics affecting youth today, Diaspora is a unique addition to the global discourse on Diaspora, identity, migration, and global movements. The project has garnered praise from journalists, academics, music fans, and hip-hop artists around the world.

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It's a Rap: Lyric Writing & Performance

Montreal’s own Nomadic Massive has firmly established itself as a group of premier performers and skilled musicians in a genre that has evolved from its early days of two turntables and a microphone. These musical nomads represent an open-minded hip-hop, which finds its inspiration in the traditions of the past; combining live instrumentation, samples, and a wide array of vocal styles.

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The Human Beatbox

Butta Beats is a beat boxer, bi-lingual rapper, multi instrumentalist, producer, composer, and all around performer. This participatory workshop will take the class through a brief history summarizing the political and socio- economic history that led to the development of beat boxing, its role in Hip-Hop culture, whilst placing an emphasis on its connection to other genres of the African-American musical experience. The participants will be guided through basic technique, counting, and listening exercises, and then perform a series of collaborative exercises in order to help create a final choral piece with the instructor.

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The Shokanti Workshop Series: Hip-Hop, Immigration & Activism

Blending the rhythms and soul of Cape Verde, Africa, with the American African creation of hip- hop, Shokanti is an artist who uses the language of kriolu and his music to paint stories of the past, present and future.

The Hip Hop and Immigration Workshop is designed to explore the impact of immigration to youth who deal with the separation of family and integration into a different cultural environment. The workshop also addresses the negative and positive impact that the current state of the culture of Hip Hop can affect the future of a young immigrant.

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Art of the MC

The Cornel West theory is a Washington D.C. based ensemble, proudly born from the hip- hop aesthetic, but not bound by limitations of any genre. It’s an eclectic amalgam of spoken word, lyricism, instruments, electronics and vocals, which draw from genres ranging from home-grown go-go to jazz to rock to hip-hop. This “musical theory” is best understood as an artistic wavelength that hits you aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually.

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Hip-Hop No Pop

Hip-hop No Pop (HHNP) is an interactive educational workshop series for adults, focused on hip-hop’s roots in non-violence and conflict resolution. HHNP gives participants a basic understanding of the hip- hop context, hip-hop’s potential as an educational tool, and helps to break down negative stereotypes about hip-hop culture through participation in positive hip-hop activities.

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Power of the People: Youth, Media & Social Change Around the World

With over 10 years of experience in researching and creating media for social change, Ben and Magee have developed a lecture that focuses on youth movements and the real and potential impacts that informal and formal youth-initiated movements can have around the world, but particularly in sub- Saharan Africa. This presentation can be presented together as a team or individually.

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Inside the Cipher - The Art of Freestyle

Mikal’s workshop allows participants to gain a thorough understanding of hip-hop’s history and the spirituality of freestyle. The workshop is open to participants who may have zero experience with hip-hop or who may be artists already themselves. Participants learn the basic skills with which to practice and demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge. In a fun and spontaneous setting, where participants are made to feel at home, people of all ages and backgrounds can cultivate a skill, learn about poetry and African oral history, and utilize these tools to gain a sense of empowerment.

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