We've got a lot of love for PBS. They have been educating the youth of America since the 70s. Sesame Street? Reading Rainbow? Thanks PBS! Now PBS have helped create the Beat Making Lab: a series focused on youth creating music in developing nations around the world. They partnered with IntraHealth International, a US-based global health nonprofit, to donate a music studio that's so compact it fits in a backpack. This series has already followed Stephen Levitin, AKA Apple Juice Kid, and professor and musician Pierce Freelon as they utilize this compact studio, collaborating with kids across the Congo, Panama, Senegal, and Fiji. (Watch it all here.)
However in this new series they travel to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, to work with 16 young artists blending traditional Ethiopian rhythms with hip-hop, and electronica. With themes of health and family planning infused into the music created, the goal was to empower and engage youth in discussing sexual and reproductive health and their futures.
In the first taster (above) of this of this six-part, six-week series, we meet 23-year-old Gelila Fedlu. She attends the Beat Making Lab with no previous production experience, but sees music as an essential part of expression. We also follow Levitin and Freelon from the moment they land, to the first day of class, as they begin the process of teaching the young musicians, artists, poets, and MCs how to make beats and music.
You can follow this story every Wednesday, starting from tomorrow on the Beat Making Lab YouTube channel, with the series culminationg in two finished songs, with strong personal themes of family planning and health issues affecting the communities in Ethiopia. There will also be a follow up with this group of students at the International Conference on Family Planning conference in Addis Ababa during the week of November 12, 2013.
For more info go here.