From November 29th to December 14th, 2015, hip hop artists Charles Burchell (Beatmaker), Daniel Zarazua (DJ), Moné “Medusa” Smith (MC), and Danny J. “Dan Tres Omi” Rodriguez (Dancer) traveled to San Salvador and Soyapong, El Salvador as part of the Next Level program.
The Next Level Academy in San Salvador took place in San Salvador at La Casa Tomada, a cultural center affiliated with the Embassy of Spain. Beyond focusing on hip-hop artistry and technique, the San Salvador Academy used hip-hop as a means to discuss the ongoing violence in El Salvador and its impact on the daily lives of the participants. Workshops also explored entrepreneurial topics, such as how to develop one’s online presence, registering copyrights and protecting one’s intellectual property, and how to expand musical opportunities to advance one’s musical career.
The FUSALMO Center hosted the workshops in Soyapongo, which were conducted by the U.S. artist-educators, as well as two alumni from the San Salvador Academy. Throughout the workshops, artist-educators and their student-collaborators emphasized themes of empowerment and positive self-expression through music. Next Level’s El Salvador residency received coverage from a variety of prominent media outlets, including a segment on the Teledos news show that had over 1.1 million viewers. Team El Salvador 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.