After the Independence Day party at the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya’s residence, we headed back to the Brookhouse School where professors Ron Reid and Dan Moretti gave clinics for Brookhouse students, musicians who had auditioned earlier in the week, and local musicians.
Here, Reid works with an ensemble – and gets the entire class to participate – on the first part of a song he just taught them. The song, “Ogu Aye,” is a traditional Yoruba chant.
In Moretti’s workshop, “Understanding and Communicating Styles for all Musicians,” he demonstrated some basic scat techniques he developed that are used to sing drum and bass grooves. The techniques help players better communicate their groove ideas in rehearsal and performance situations.
On Friday, the Berklee team in Nairobi was invited to the residence of Michael E. Rannenberger, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, for his annual Independence Day celebration (two days early). It was a swanky affair held in the Ambassador’s spacious back yard. Getting in was akin to going through airport security, complete with metal detectors and pat downs (and a strict no photos policy at the gate), but once inside we were treated to drinks and tasty food – including four large American flag cakes – and mingled with local and foreign dignitaries.
Actually, these are the first of many videos from the events last week. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 82 musicians from several different African countries auditioned at the Brookhouse School in Nairobi, Kenya, for scholarship opportunities to attend Berklee through the Africa Scholars Program. Many others had to be turned away because there just wasn’t enough time.
One day I was doing work in a second floor office in the school. From my tower (literally, see earlier post), I heard a song break out in the distance, so I went down to check it out. The singers told me they had just met at the auditions. Many of them heard about the events in the newspaper, from friends, or on Facebook, which is very popular here. Most people access it – and the web in general – on their phones since they don’t always have access to computers.
Here they perform the song “Malaika,” in the zilizopendwa genre, by Kenyan artist Fadhili Williams. Several of the candidates sang it in their auditions.
Music education, not only for students, but also for music educators is key to Berklee’s program in Kenya, with the goal of leaving behind tangible instruction to benefit the local community and Berklee alike. Continue reading →
Jambo from Kenya! I’m Margot Edwards, Publicist at Berklee. I’ll be writing in from Nairobi about Berklee’s visit this week to the Brookhouse International Schools. The events include three days of auditions and interviews for the Africa Scholars Program, clinics and workshops for students and music educators. The team – including Contemporary Writing and Production professors Dan Moretti and Ron Reid, Michael Shaver from Admissions, Sam Skau from International Programs, and student Joey Guglielmo – will also be conducting music education outreach at local community centers and schools. A 4th of July soiree at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence is also on tap for later in the week. Continue reading →