Tag Archives: Africa

TEES 4 TOGO – Cool Tees For a Great Cause

Kathleen Hanna has launched TEES 4 TOGO, a brand new, star-studded line of T-shirts designed by — and portraying designs of — Hanna and her friends. 100% of the profits go to Peace Sisters, a Pasadena-based non-profit that financially assists to fund local girls’ school tuition costs in Dapaong, Togo West Africa, the hometown of current Pasadena resident and Peace Sisters founder, Tina Kampor. Each shirt is cozy, colorful, sweatshop-free, and costs$40 each—the amount it costs for a girl to attend school in Togo for an entire year, including books.

In Togo, Hanna points out, people usually don’t have enough money to send their children to school, especially if they have boys and girls at home. “People often decide to spend their money on the boys. When Tina was an educator in Togo she saw so many girls’ dreams fall by the wayside. She came to California determined to change that.”

For her birthday last November, Hanna organized a Peace Sisters gofundme, which raised almost $9,000. Hanna also began throwing fundraisers at her home, was named a Peace Sisters ambassador and regularly attends board meetings with Kampor, learning how each dollar the group earns is spent. Feeling bolstered by the team’s professionalism and attention to detail, she decided to do more. That’s when Hanna got the idea for TEES 4 TOGO.

TEES 4 TOGO emulates Kampor’s own donations to her home country. “Tina came to Pasadena from Togo, got her nursing certificate, and started sending girls through school. First, she sent two girls through school. The next year she sent five. Before she started Peace Sisters as a non-profit in 2016, she had already sent 130 girls to school with her own money.”

Photo Credit: Jason Frank Rothenberg

Through it all, Hanna has worked to address and facilitate conversations around inclusivity, equal opportunity, sexism, and breaking societal expectations. “We’re not gonna have equality in the world if we don’t hear African women’s voices,” Hanna says. “And we’re not gonna hear women’s voices if they have no education. Another part of this is Trump saying Africa is a shithole. How can I respond to that as a citizen? How can I do something positive in light of that? I found an organization run by somebody who grew up in West Africa, who flies money back to the school every year, and has already been doing it for 15 years. This is my opportunity to be an ally to her already successful project.”

Kampor brought three things to the girls in Togo on her recent April 2018 trip: money for girls’ tuition, solar lamps, and her own vivacious spirit. With TEES 4 TOGO, Hanna hopes to continue Kampor’s work by giving West African girls an opportunity for education, which, she argues, is more vital than ever today.TEES 4 TOGO is just the beginning. Hanna says: “Eventually the dream is to send all the girls to college, and help with housing needs, which may start happening as early as this November, depending on how many shirts I can sell!”

TEES 4 TOGO is consistent with Hanna’s renowned feminist and DIY philosophies. 15 TEES 4 TOGO designs:
— Sleater-Kinney performer and actress Carrie Brownstein (drawn by Kim Gordon)
— Comedian Patton Oswalt (drawn by writer and performer Sam McPheeters)
— Joan Jett (drawn by artist Sarah Larnach)
— Beastie Boy and Hanna’s husband Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (drawn by musician Seth Bogart)
— Public Enemy rapper, author and producer Chuck D (drawn by political artist Adee Roberson)
— Sociopolitical comedian W.Kamau Bell (drawn by musician by Eric Adams)
— Musician & Hanna’s former Le Tigre bandmate JD Samson (drawn by Kathleen Hanna)
— Body/Head and Sonic Youth musician Kim Gordon (drawn by Ooga Booga artist Steve Dore)
— Actor and comedian Kristen Schaal (drawn by Coleman Fitzgerald)
— Grimes (drawn by artist Maddy Mathews)
— Author, artist, performer and actor Justin Vivian Bond (drawn by illustrator Greg Kozatek)
— Author and musician Brontez Purnell (drawn by illustrator Janelle Hessig)
— Actor and comedian Hari Kondabolu (drawn by Bill Thelan)
— Writer and director Jill Soloway (drawn by artist Hannah Lucy)
— Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin musician, activist & actor Kathleen Hanna(drawn by Charlotte Farmer, Jhonny Russell, Katie Edmunds & Jess Marshall)

 

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Music From Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis

Celebrating a decade of continuous critical acclaim and international success, Joan As Police Woman returns, this time working alongside fellow Brooklynite, Benjamin Lazar Davis.
They will be releasing their album Let It Be You on Oct 21 via Reveal Records/BFD*/RED Distribution.
A deeply soulful artist, Joan As Police Woman (Joan Wasser) has famously worked with Antony (Anohni), Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and David Sylvian. She recently performed at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Tribute to Lou Reed. Benjamin is a talented multi-instrumentalist who currently performs with Okkervil River, Cuddle Magic and Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive). Joan and Ben met each other after separate trips to Africa; Ethiopia for Joan as part of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express,  and West Africa for Lazar to study traditional music. They initially bonded over Central African Republic Pygmy musical patterns and wrote this album together loosely inspired by this music. The band recently performed at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival.
Previously going by the band name ‘2001’ the duo released a pair of partner videos featuring Fred Armisen (SNL, Portlandia); one for the song “Overloaded” with Ben on lead vocals and “Broke Me In Two” featuring Joan on lead. Both directed by Benjamin Gregory, the video for “Overloaded” features Joan and Ben as mechanics fixing Armisen’s car, while “Broke Me In Two” flips Armisen to the mechanic role with Joan and Ben cruising around town.

“Overloaded is one of the first songs we wrote together,” Joan explains. “From conception to final song, took only a couple of hours. In rehearsals we had been jamming on this riff together called “Hindewho” by Mbuti Peoples of Central African Republic (which is a duet using just a single note flute and voice). You can maybe hear that melody, it was certainly an influence for our song. Elsewhere on the “Let It Be You” record you might hear the influence of Ba Benzele Pygmies, especially on our loops and the complex rhythmic guitars. We tweak natural acoustic sounds and chop them up digitally and bit crush the electrics to make this new palette of sounds. As with “Broke Me In Two” we asked our comedian/musician friend Fred Armisen to appear in the music video, pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth is smart and funny but he plays it straighter here. We are looking forward to getting out and playing shows and for people to hear the record.”
 
The band will be touring Europe in November and December. Performing with a full band, Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis will showcase songs from the new album and re-imagine landmark recordings from her four previous Joan As Police Woman albums (Real Life, To Survive, The Deep Field, The Classic). Click HERE for a full list of dates.

 

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Must Listen: Klue – Daybreak EP

Klue

This week Sydney singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Klue is excited to share his debut Daybreak EP, featuring two recent singles, “Hiding” and “So Good”, alongside two previously unheard tracks, “Uh Oh” and “My Friend”.

Drawing on a love of Afrobeat, blazing horns, electronic beats and soul, Daybreak is a cultural feast for the ears and mind. Honoring a vast range of influences from Jamie xx, Fela Kuti, Hermitude, D’Angelo, Bonobo, and Fat Freddy’s Drop, Klue delivers on recent editorial predictions dubbing him as an ‘Artist to Watch’ in 2016.

The Soul and Southern African tunes were on living room rotation as a kid and that definitely shaped me musically and how I create.  Having developed my production skills in the hip hop and electronic world, I feel like this is record is the first time I’ve managed to bring all of these influences together in a cohesive way, and in a way that really feels right.”  – Klue

 

Written in part, while touring Africa with his band True Vibenation, Daybreak encompasses some of the spirit of the trip. Specifically working with a variety of musicians, be it professionals backstage at a gig, amateurs, even a barber shop group he jammed with on the street. All those moments helped to influence the overall sound of the EP.

“When I got back from Africa I got to work turning some ideas and drafts into what could possibly be a solid record. During this time I was surrounded by great people and was having a really good time. I had some pretty incredible nights out, and I was catching my fair share of sunrises too” – Klue

The Daybreak EP turned out to be quite a huge process for Klue as he set out to do almost everything himself; he wrote, played, recorded and mixed everything on the EP, aside from the trumpet in “Hiding” which was done by his True Vibenation band-mate Moody, and the mastering which was handled by Sameer Sengupta. In the end, Klue had a four-track collection of tunes that he was really proud of, and couldn’t wait to share with the rest us.

“Daybreak is a pretty remarkable part of the day (whether it’s the beginning or the end of your day), and the process of making my first solo record definitely felt like a beginning, and so that’s pretty much where the ep’s title came from” – Klue

Daybreak EP is available now through etcetc music, and Australian fans can catch Klue as he tours around the country throughout May/June, which also includes a few co-headlining shows with Ribongia in Wollongong, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle.

Klue will then be heading to Europe in late-June to perform at Glastonbury Festival with his band True Vibenation, and you can rest-assured that there will be a few impromptu Klue shows and after-parties happening throughout Europe during that time.

Personal Favorite: “Hiding”

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The Voice Project

This video is related to the terror caused by the menace that is Joseph Kony.  Appropriately timed while interest is very high because of the Kony 2012 project, this video is about the mothers of the children stolen and forced to kill in Kony’s army. They are hoping to reach their children via radio broadcasts by calling and singing to them to let them know they are forgiven and to please come home.  There is NO other way for these mothers to get messages to these kids in the jungle.

The Voice Project raises money to build the radio towers throughout and around the jungle.  Please watch this video (actually made by Invisible Children co-founder Bobby Bailey, who shot a lot of Kony 2012).  It encourages people to buy a scarf with the money going to build the towers.

Please share the video. This project coupled with any efforts to actually stop Kony could yield real results for the first time in over a decade.

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