The music education outreach wrapped on Monday, the team’s last day in Kenya, with a visit to Starehe Boys Centre, where the Berklee professors gave a workshop and clinic for students in the music class.
On Saturday, the Berklee team visited a community music program in Nairobi’s Eastleigh slum called Haba na Haba. The project is an after school and Saturday music program that also offers opportunities for youth to participate in dance, drama, puppetry, and acrobatics. Eastleigh is one of the poorest areas of Nairobi. We knew we were getting close when the road went from paved to entirely dirt, and the ride got extremely bumpy.
At this point, we were surrounded by tin shacks and buildings in disrepair, large piles of burning trash, and goats and turkeys roaming free by the side of the road. Despite the poverty, the young people here have a positive attitude and their passion for playing music is clear. Although they have very limited resources, they benefit greatly from attending the program.
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.