Beat Diaspora: Beats, Buses, Bricks

an omnivorous take on music of the beat-based variety and the urban spaces that nurture it

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Harvardia Africana

I'm approaching the 36-hour-till-deadline mark and don't think I'll be out in full force for the conference, but it's been the culmination of the African Hip-Hop Research Project's hard work, especially Lidet Tilahun, a one-woman rallying cry for the importance of African hip-hop. I'm nominally the research and collections coordinator, although the funding for that never did come through. We did get one of the guys from X-Plastaz on campus last year, and in fact MC Gsan's buddy Mohammed Yunus from the Aang Serian Peace Village, who was also there, will be back for this weekend's conference.

Other highlights include Emmanuel Jal (Sudanese ex-child soldier turned rapper, with some serious marketing muscle behind him these days) and Youssou N'Dour (Senegalese mbalax extraordinaire). The latter makes me scratch my head: If you're going to bring someone over from Dakar, undisputed capital of West African hip-hop (where even the election can get a hip-hop tinge!), why not Awadi or Alif or Pee Froiss?

He's a very world music choice too, and the conference seems short on the nu whirld music: no mention of kwaito or kuduro.

But maybe he'll perform at the as yet unannounced concert, which I believe is free. N'Dour and Jal on the same bill would be a steal -- I'm sure they're quite expensive elsewhere!

Back to work, clock is ticking and Rio isn't getting any easier to figure out . . .

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