From August 2nd to August 17th, 2015, hip hop artists Teao “Teao Sense” Thomas (DJ), Karla “Karlita Waackafella” Flores (Dancer), Kiriakos “YAKO 440” Prodis (Beatmaker), and Ahmad Ali Lewis (MC) traveled to Tanzania as part of the Next Level program. In addition to conducting workshops throughout the Next Level Academy, the U.S. artist-educators also participated in a number of community events, including a session at Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA). While at DCMA, the artist-educators demonstrated the various elements of hip hop and held an interactive, improvisatory session with participants from DCMA and community. The DCMA teachers discussed the history of taarab music, a style that blends East African and Middle Eastern sounds, and the style’s social focus. Afterwards, both DCMA and Next Level artists performed together, modeling creative cross-cultural collaboration in real time in front of an audience.
Team Tanzania is part of a larger Next Level cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, and hip hop dancers seeking to create global community through hip hop culture.