PBS Digital Studios, producers of the popular “Icons: Remixed,” “Off Book,” and “Idea Channel” web series has just launched a brand new series called “Beat Making Lab.” The series follows two music professionals and educators as they travel to international destinations, providing underserved communities with the training and tools to create their own original hip hop and electronic music. See the premiere video here: http://youtu.be/_dTk3iiOZS8 .
The series features music producer Stephen Levitin (also known as Apple Juice Kid), who co-teaches a beat making lab at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Professor Pierce Freelon, who is also frontman for Durham’s jazz/hip-hop quartet The Beast. Together, they explore the connections between music, culture and community, and demonstrate music’s ability to serve as a universal language.
In the premiere episode Stephen and Pierce visit Yole!Africa, a small, vibrant, non-profit community center in Goma, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They establish a recording studio, and work with local music students as well as acclaimed Congolese artist Flamme Kapaya. Together, they engage in digital beat-making, bridging the gap between American, international and regional music styles. The students and musicians produce music that is emotionally powerful and distinctly their own.
New episodes of “Beat Making Lab” will be posted weekly, with Stephen and Pierce showcasing new beats, songs and music videos created by students and participants from around the world. The pair also travels to Panama, Senegal and Fiji this season.