making music, writing culture

Songwriting Articles
Blues People, Mississippi Hip-Hop : A Book Excerpt

Blues People, Mississippi Hip-Hop : A Bo...

Today, from the corners of the New World district, a new Mississippi Delta blues is rising, one created by and for young people. On Saturday night, old Chevys with big rims bump beats from their trunks as young people gather on street corners, in clubs, and behind the barbeque stand to socialize. Here, members of the current generation of Delta music makers meet and rap. The most accomplished rappers perform longer pieces that deal with their history, neighborhoods, current company, and the possibilities of the night at hand. They are experts at keeping the rhythm.
Dakar to Barcelona: Sista Njaaya’s Cosmopolitan Senegal

Dakar to Barcelona: Sista Njaaya’s...

Live concert footage/field recording/photos: Part of the fun of my fieldwork with emerging musicians is witnessing their breakthrough moments onstage, in the studio and in their personal lives. In late September 2010, I traveled to Barcelona, Spain with Senegalese neo-soul/reggae/Afro-Cosmopolitan musical artist Njaaya,who performed her first major international concert to major accolades.
Meet Toussa, Senegal’s New Woman Rapper

Meet Toussa, Senegal’s New Woman R...

(Musical Clips, Photos, Lyrics) I first saw 18-year-old rapper Toussa perform in May 2009 at her high school end-of-the-year party in the dusty struggling Dakar suburb of Guediawaye, Senegal. I asked her how she would like to be introduced in this entry, her first public piece, and she gave me these words:
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