Beat Making Lab is an electronic music studio small enough to fit in a backpack. This innovative curriculum, founded at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaches open source music production and entrepreneurship. The creators of Beat Lab build Labs in collaboration with communities all around the world; donating laptops, microphones and software. Their goal is to create positive social impact by giving youth the tools and training to make beats and songs.
Each lab consists of a two-week residency at a local community organization, where young people acquire skills to professionalize their creative practices and become part of a global DIY digital music community.
This is a great example of partnering the power of music with the creativity of youth. Check out the two videos below and then strongly consider subscribing to Beat Lab to help further their global beat making efforts.
“Young people had songs, but didn’t know where to go for producing them. As most of them are students, they don’t have money for getting into professional studios abroad. With the Beat Making Lab, they can now produce their own songs and educate the community. These days, young people… are recording songs on war and insecurity. It’s their way of fighting for peace, rather than going in bush with armed groups. While producing with the Beat Making Lab, they don’t fear politicians to interfere in their struggle. This program has really helped young people in Goma.” – Gauis Kowene, November 2012
Watch the introductory episode below and then enjoy the finished product in the video below that. Enjoy!
In this first episode of the season, Apple Juice Kid and Pierce Freelon introduce Beat Making Lab and showcase its journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The show features youth musicians in the lab along with performers from the Goma-based non-profit, Yole! Africa. Subscribe now.
Cho Cho Cho is the first song produced and written by the youth of the Congo Beat Making Lab. A hard-hitting posse cut, Cho Cho Cho was inspired by a popular Congolese call-and-response chant, and the video was filmed during Yole!Africa’s SKIFF Festival dance competition. The song features six amazing young MCs and vocalists from Goma, as well as emcee and professor Pierce Freelon of hip hop/jazz band The Beast (in order of appearance: Queen Minaj, Pierce Freelon, Fal J, Melissa, Laureat, DJ Couleur, MC Mussa). With verses in Swahili, French and English the reoccurring lyrical theme “niwakati” means “the time is now” in Swahili. A translation of verses reveal a call for peace, “this is time for building love… it’s time to say no to rape” (DJ Couler) – “the time is now for development, courage and devotion / go ahead, Congolese without anger or hatred” (Fal J).