SXSW is always always a hotbed of activity for alumni and student bands from Berklee and this year is no exception. Scouring the Official SXSW showcases and parties, and Unofficial shows happening all over Austin, I spotted at least 60 bands/artists that include alumni or students. That means the real number is probably way higher. Of course, among these were the bands that played Berklee’s Seventh Annual Official SXSW Party on the Friday of SXSW Music. Check out videos from the show!
While putting on Berklee’s party is fun, it means we had to miss many alumni bands that were playing at the same exact time, including Dirty Dishes, Lost in the Trees, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Zambri, Sydney Wayser, Zorch, Sarah Blacker, Gentlemen Hall, Kishi Bashi, and more. Fortunately, before and after Berklee’s party, I did get a chance to check out some other alumni bands around the festival.
OldJack: Dan Nicklin (center) and alumni Jason Meeker (left) and Ryan Peters (right)
Back from SXSW in Austin, where Berklee hosted three events again this year. The thirteen alumni and student bands who played at Berklee’s parties made their mark among the dozens of alumni bands performing at shows and parties around Austin last week (who were in turn among 2,000 plus (!) bands playing at the 25th Anniversary of SXSW.
We had a good turnout at Off the Record at the Lucky Lounge (St. Patrick’s Day no less) and possibly our biggest crowd yet at Friends on 6th St. the following day for Berklee’s 6th Annual Official SXSW Party. The club counted nearly 750 people during the course of the day.
Now that got your attention! It’s not entirely irrelevant, I swear…
Arriving at SXSW on Wednesday, the day before the start of Berklee’s events – read more and watch videos here – I hit the convention center to catch a few panels before the craziness started. Looking through the SXSW Directory – which was about as thick as a mid-sized-city’s yellow pages (but who uses one of those anymore…) – I saw that two Berklee alumni were on an upcoming panel, so I headed over.
The Intersection of Jazz and Hip Hop was moderated by Berklee alumnus Brian “Raydar” Ellis ‘05, now an instructor of turntablism, and included alumna Meghan Stabile ‘06, founder of the Revive Music Group and online music journal the Revivalist. The other panelists were producer Erin Davis, son of Miles Davis; Vincent Wilburn Jr., CEO of Nefdrum Productions (and nephew of Miles Davis); Andre Torres, editor of influential music magazine Wax Poetics; and noted turntablist DJ Logic.
Torres, Ellis, Stabile, Davis, Wilburn, Logic. Best I could do without a flash...
I didn’t see the whole panel, but much of it focused on Miles Davis’s enduring influence on jazz, hip-hop, and pop music in general. Ellis opened up with
The music education outreach wrapped on Monday, the team’s last day in Kenya, with a visit to Starehe Boys Centre, where the Berklee professors gave a workshop and clinic for students in the music class.
On Saturday, the Berklee team visited a community music program in Nairobi’s Eastleigh slum called Haba na Haba. The project is an after school and Saturday music program that also offers opportunities for youth to participate in dance, drama, puppetry, and acrobatics. Eastleigh is one of the poorest areas of Nairobi. We knew we were getting close when the road went from paved to entirely dirt, and the ride got extremely bumpy.
At this point, we were surrounded by tin shacks and buildings in disrepair, large piles of burning trash, and goats and turkeys roaming free by the side of the road. Despite the poverty, the young people here have a positive attitude and their passion for playing music is clear. Although they have very limited resources, they benefit greatly from attending the program.