Soon to be heading out to Senegal’s international hip hop festival, Wu-Lu and Knytro are working up some new tracks for FESTA2H in Dakar. The festival draws artists from all over Africa and the world for the five day event that is attended by around 30,000 people. Wu-Lu’s  eclectic beats and style will be well matched to the recently signed Knytro and his unstoppable lyrical flow. Check him out- www.thisisknytro.com. This is the third year that Raw Material has sponsored young UK artists and performers as part of our international co-operation programme, sharing good practice and resources and common ground across the diaspora.

 

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The Raw crew and local guitarist Bernard Margarit performed a three hour set at the ‘Toques et Clochers’ festival in the tiny village of Tourrelles, tucked away deep in the south of France.

Floetic Lara and Tanagna, accompanied by Bernard and Tim Brown on sax, set the tone for the first hour followed by an electric set from DJ Wu-Lu, weaving beats and grooves into old school melodies, all rounded off by another set from the singers, Wu-Lu and French DJ Nicholas. This was all something French audiences had not experienced.

Attended by over 15000 people, the festival is steeped in the old traditions in the wine producing areas of the Languedoc region. Event organiser  Sylvia Feraud said “C’est parfait”- it’s perfect, everyone is dancing!

Looking ahead to the next French shows at the Carcassonne festival. Raw drummer Mike Kathak Strocchi is coming down to Margarit’s studio to work on the new material next week and the whole French crew will be in London in May for rehearsals.

This weekend festival, celebrating and promoting the chardonnay wines of the region, is an important date each year for local wine producers and international wine buyers. For the Raw Materials Crew the festival was simply for some good music and fun!

Here are some pictures below…

 

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Workshops

The groups were a really good size, and allowed me to give time to everyone individually as well as speaking to the group as a whole.
We delivered two workshops and one rehearsal in total. (One workshop on the evening we landed, one rehearsal before the show and a final workshop on the Sunday)

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The participants were really engaged, respectful and I was genuinely really impressed by some of the talent you have there in Sudan. A real pleasure to share and learn there, definitely. There is one point that I really must take the time to raise… Although I feel like we did make good progress with the participants, two/three workshops is simply not enough time to work with a group people in an effective way. You will find that in future, 5+ workshops will produce even better results and I know that everyone involved would welcome that idea.

The Show

Simply one of the most enjoyable shows I have played in my life. The sound was great, turn out was good, the crowds were responsive and we both had a great time. I don’t think I have ever taken so many photographs/ signed so many CD’s in my life! haha We were offered food both before and after the show and I didn’t want for anything.

– Potent Whisper

Kool family! This is Potent Whisper, writing to you from the Raw HQ in Brixton.

I’m not going to beat around the bush with some fancy intro, this story doesn’t need one! This summer… I flew to Senegal to represent Raw Material alongside Nanci & Phoebe and Marc Brown. We took the 7 hour flight to deliver rap workshops and performances at the international Hip Hop festival “Festa2H” and trust me when I say this wasn’t just a trip… it was a journey.

Aside from playing to thousands of young Senegalese Hip Hop heads, the workshops were a real highlight for me. With the aid of our translator (Big ups to Lucille!) we were given a rare opportunity to really connect with our family from afar, sharing art, exchanging truths, and generally having a laugh! Having originally been a Spoken Word artist myself, I was also excited to learn that they had an extra special love for “Slam” poetry and we even had the honour of rapping with a Griot! (Look it up!)

Towards the end of our stay in Senegal we took a short boat ride to Goree Island, which really put a historical and somewhat sinister twist to our trip. Inhabited by just over 1000 people, Goree Island is known simply as “The House Of Slaves” and once saw millions of African citizens imprisoned, tortured and be shipped abroad to Europe and America. As we walked through some of the cells, I put my hands against the very walls which once imprisoned so many tortured human beings; the walls stained by their blood and tears. I stood in the “Door of no Return” (The infamous door where so many millions of slaves had to “Say bye to Africa – forever”) It was a surreal and disturbing feeling to stand there. I decided to pay respect in my own way by rapping a verse about freedom, in front of the iconic stairwells.

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There is so much to tell you about our experience in Senegal and we will be talking in a lot more detail about it at Raw Material’s “LEGACY” event, this Tuesday 22nd October. Aside from discussions, the free event will also feature live performances from Nanci & Phoebe, DJ Snuff (Caxton Press) and yours truly! More details on the  LEGACY event HERE

See you there!