Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Africa

Africa

Returning Where I’ve Never Been: MusicXChange Takes Me to Ghana

Ghana collageIn January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXChange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by tamia rashima jordan, one of the trip’s participants. Read posts by fellow participants Apiwe Bubu and Ellie Foster.

By tamia rashima jordan

There are no words to convey how excited I was to finally visit THE continent. Prior to departing the U.S. I’d ask two of my friends, one from Tanzania and one from Mozambique, for any thoughts or advice with respect to my impending travels. My friend from Tanzania said a few things and while I remember them all, I deeply internalized two. The first: let go of all expectations of what it will be. He shared that having expectations, good, bad, or even neutral, can be incredibly difficult to reconcile when those expectations are not met. He said this is the case especially for African-Americans traveling to the continent for the first time.

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Music Meets Medicine in Ghana

Apiwe image 1In January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXChange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by Apiwe Bubu, one of the trip’s participants. Read a post by fellow participant Ellie Foster.

By Apiwe Bubu

Suffice to say, January 8 in Kumasi, Ghana, was an incredible day. We awoke to chase yet more productive meetings and encounters with Ghanaian kin and professionals, and our first stop was our meeting with Dr. Thomas Poku. He is the personal doctor of the Ashanti king, and someone well versed in the medical and health world. Given that the king himself entrusts Dr. Poku with his health shows that this is a man with good credibility and ability. It was good to hear him vocalize his support for the MusicXChange initiative and introducing music therapy in Ghana. What I did find interesting was his job at the hospital where he explained how he at times used music to calm his patients and sometimes break some devastating news to them, such as diagnoses of HIV or AIDS.

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A Vision for Music Therapy in Ghana

Ellie Foster HeadshotIn January 2016, the nonprofit MusicXchange, founded by Berklee student Federico Masetti, organized a two-week service trip to Ghana to build strategic partnerships and raise awareness about the organization. The following post was written by Ellie Foster, one of the trip’s participants. Read a post by fellow participant Apiwe Bubu.

By Ellie Foster

Among the many meetings we had in Kumasi, Ghana, on January 7, none was quite so preliminarily daunting–and ultimately fruitful–as our appointment with Dr. Baffour Awuah. Dr. Awuah, medical director of Komfo Anyoke Teaching Hospital, sits on the board of HopeXChange Medical Center and agreed to meet with us at the request of fellow board member Riccardo Masetti—noted oncologist and father of our trip’s leader, Federico. As we sat in his waiting room, I couldn’t help but feel nervous about pitching the concept of music therapy to him.

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Snarky Puppy volta em setembro com apresentação no BPC!

Snarky Puppy

Hoje venho falar sobre este evento que irá acontecer no dia 28 de setembro no Berklee Performance Center. Snarky Puppy sempre encontrou muito apoio, incentivo e um público caloroso para se apresentar na Berklee, lotando praticamente todos os shows que fizeram aqui até agora.

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Berklee in South Africa 2013

Berklee’s third annual visit to Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) wraps up in a bundle of opportunities, discovery, new possibilities, new associations, and proof that good collaborations can lead to great success – again and again, and again. Berklee’s involvement with CTIJF is made possible by the collaborative programming and design by Berklee’s Office of International Programs, and EspAfrika – the producers of CTIJF. Leading up to the festival weekend is EspAfrika’s Training and Development program (T&D), the educational component of the jazz festival, spanning 4 weeks of masterclasses and workshops in arts journalism, photography, entertainment and music business, culminating in the final week with Berklee auditions and masterclasses alongside artists from the festival. 

Our program dates for Cape Town this year (2013) were April 1 – 5. As a result of our annual visits and accessibility to our prospective students in this region, we conducted over 80 auditions and interviews for candidates seeking enrollment at Berklee College of Music in Boston.


Andrea Pejrolo and Rick Peckham conduct Berklee auditions at Groote Schuur HS, Newlands, CT

EspAfrika has been a fantastic partner in helping us connect with, and reach audiences critical to Berklee, during this highly popular event, that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible in such a coordinated and concise, singular, program each year.

As a result of EspAfrika’s outreach in the communities across Western Cape, during this final week of T&D, the team from Berklee also typically attends, as we did this year, a youth music festival from which we identify two outstanding musicians to receive full-tuition scholarships for Berklee Summer programs. These young musicians are from the Arts and Culture Focus Schools group, a network of schools drawing young students from communities including the outlying townships, supported by the South African Ministry of Arts and Culture, and EspAfrika. Additionally, alongside festival headliners, Berklee faculty also conducted masterclasses in select educational and community centers in the region that attract and train these deeply passionate, committed, and driven, young musicians. At these centers, we also offered two scholarships to Berkleeonline courses. The musicianship we encounter in South Africa is often deep, immense, raw, innate talent that have been recognized and nurtured by some of the most dedicated educators and mentors we have seen anywhere. My constant thought throughout our week in Cape Town was – “this is more than music.”


Rick Peckham wrapping up his masterclass @ Intyholo Jazz development Project in Gugulethu, CT

The Berklee team at CTIJF 2013 was made up of Rick Peckham – assistant chair of the Guitar Department, Andrea Pejrolo – assistant chair of Contemporary Writing and Production, Michael Borgida – marketing manager for Off Campus Projects (representing the Office of Admissions at the program), and Sam Skau – assistant director of International Programs.

Deep thanks and kudos to Berklee International Programs director – Jason Camelio, and co directors of Cape Town International Jazz Festival, EspAfrika CEO Rashid Lombard, and EspAfrika COO Billy Domingo, for their vision, heart, and commitment to this very special program.

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