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Music keeps California teens off the streets

Richmond, a small city in Northern California just outside of San Francisco, is known for two things: rap music and gang violence, which often leads to drive-by shootings and homicides.

But on Richmond’s southern edge, there’s a building called the RYSE Youth Center. The center was opened to give youth a safe haven from the realities of the streets.

Twenty-year-old Xavier Polk has taken full advantage of the opportunity and introduced a free music production class where he helps teenagers develop their musical talents – and stay off the streets and out of trouble.

Listen to the report by Anne Hofmann and Aaron Mendelson in Richmond, California:

Xavier Polk teaches a free beatmaking class at the RYSE Youth Center to inspire teenagers musically and help them to stay out of trouble (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Xavier Polk teaches a free beatmaking class at the RYSE Youth Center (Photo: A. Mendelson)

15-year-old Janelle Thomas is working on her own track in Xavier's class

Fiften-year-old Janelle Thomas is working on her own track in Xavier’s class (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Student Emandre Winston uses the keyboard connected to the music production software at RYSE to work on his own track (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Student Emandre Winston uses the keyboard connected to the music production software to work on his own track in Xavier’s class (Photo: A. Mendelson)

The mural on the outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California (Photo: A. Mendelson)

The mural on the outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California, where Xavier teaches his beatmaking class to give teenagers a safe haven (Photo: A. Mendelson)

 

Date

Wednesday 06.08.2014 | 08:59

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Techno for the children

As the crisis in Syria continues, NGOs are calling an end to the conflict that has killed over a hundred thousand people and displaced millions.

Dan Cole co-founded a Berlin-based collective called It’s Bigger Than, which is doing its bit to raise awareness about the crisis and to raise money to help those in need. Their method? Putting on a party with some of the finest DJs and electronic producers around.

All the DJs play for free. The club donates the space and the party is being put on by a group of volunteers. Party number 2 raised money for Save the Children and featured the likes of Marcel Fengler, Nick Höppner, Iron Curtis, Deep Child and Barbara Preisinger.

The next It’s Bigger Than party will take place in Berlin on September 1, 2013 and this time the money is going to the Mercy Corps.

Listen to the report by Cinnamon Nippard in Berlin:

Techno for the children

Dan Cole

Dan Cole says raising awareness can make a difference – a little bit at a time (Photo. Katrina James)

Crowd at It's Bigger Than techno event

Berlin is a hotspot for techno (Photo: Michelle O’Brien)

DJ at It's Bigger Than Techno event

Some come for the DJs, others for the cause (Photo: Michelle O’Brien)

Zaatari Camp in Syria

Children are most affected by war, says Dan Cole. The last It’s Bigger Than event supported children in Syria through the Save the Children NGO (Photo: Save the Children)

It's Bigger Than even poster

The next It’s Bigger Than event takes place on September 1, 2013

Date

Tuesday 27.08.2013 | 12:11

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Cape Town violinist blasts stereotypes

In the townships of Cape Town, playing the violin or the cello has been something for the few people who could afford the expensive instruments and regular lessons. But now one young man, 23-year-old Siyathemba Nteta, is challenging the stereotype that classical music is for rich white people. He teaches children in his township how to play the violin – and even holds lessons in the local language, Xhosa.

Listen to the report by Kim Chakanetsa in Cape Town:

Cape Town violinist blasts stereotypes

Siyathemba Nteta

Siyathemba Nteta says people were surprised when he started playing the violin – but that didn’t bother him (Photo: K. Chakanetsa)

Siyathemba Nteta with violin student

Siyathemba teaches in Xhosa, the local language (Photo: K. Chakanetsa)

Siyathemba Nteta with violin students
Siyathemba’s students are discovering the joy he found at age 13 (Photo: K. Chakanetsa)

Siyathemba plays in the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Here’s their Facebook page.

Date

Tuesday 02.07.2013 | 11:04

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Wheelchair-bound teen singer steals Vietnam’s heart

Brittle bone disease means Phuong Anh is restricted to a wheelchair. “Moving is ordinary; I can do more,” says the 16-year-old singer. A finalist in Vietnam’s Got Talent, she is inspiring other handicapped youth.

Listen to the report by Marianne Brown in Hanoi:

Wheelchair-bound teen singer steals Vietnam’s heart

Phuong Anh

Phuong Anh doesn’t let her bone disease keep her from sharing her talent (Photo: Unicef)

Phuong Anh

Phuong Anh performed recently at the launch of the United Nations Children’s Fund report on the state of the world’s children (Photo: Unicef)

Phuong Anh

“Moving is ordinary, and I can do more than that,” says Phuong Anh (Photo: Unicef)

Date

Tuesday 11.06.2013 | 12:44

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Syrian Arab promotes Kurdish culture

Kurds, an ethnic minority in Syria, suffered oppression under the “Arabization” policy of the Assad regime. But the Syrian revolution has brought along change. With a strong political and military presence in northeast Syria, Kurds are putting their past behind and working towards a better future. They have transformed from being underdogs to the ones in power. This newfound influence is not just political or military, but also cultural, and Kurdish culture is experiencing a sort of revival. Young Syrians, like Sameer Shaiyer, 28, are doing their bit to spread the word about Kurdish art forms. And what makes Samir’s job challenging is that he’s Arab.

Listen to the report by Gayatri Parameswaran and Felix Gaedtke report from Qamishlo, Syria:

Syrian Arab promotes Kurdish culture

Sameer Shaiyer

Sameer Shaiyer has been singing Kurdish songs since he was a child (Photo: Felix Gaedtke)

Date

Tuesday 28.05.2013 | 13:13

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Reggae tunes against bribes

Cameroon’s up-and-coming reggae star, Silver, is dedicated to fighting corruption in his country. The 29-year-old uses his music to publicly criticize corrupt politicians and raise awareness for the problem.

Silver started his musical career in 2001 and his debut album, entitled “Reggae Business,” became an instant hit because he addressed issues that affected people: not just corruption, but also HIV/AIDS, war, and Cameroon’s brain drain.

Listen to the report by Ngala Killian Chimtom in Yaoundé, Cameroon:

Reggae tunes against bribes

Silver

Date

Tuesday 23.04.2013 | 13:18

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Somali refugee combats extremism with hiphop

Islamist militants fighting in Somalia are trying hard to recruit young Somalis. But a young refugee, Shiine Ali, is determined to turn his peers away from Islamic extremism – with his hiphop music.

Listen to the report by Zoe Flood in Eastleigh, Kenya:

Somali refugee combats extremism with hiphop

CDs

Sometimes a song can do more than entertain

Date

Tuesday 26.03.2013 | 13:57

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Delhi musician tells untold stories of suffering

Indian musician Delhi Sultanate travels to rural regions to record the music tied to struggles that rarely make the news. He integrates the untold stories and unheard sounds into his Jamaican dancehall sound for a new audience.

Listen to the report from Delhi by Henry Peck and Meara Sharma:

Delhi musician tells untold stories of suffering

Check out more from Delhi Sultanate on YouTube.

Here’s Delhi Sultanate’s website.

Date

Tuesday 05.03.2013 | 13:51

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Singer raises his voice in Myanmar

Darko and his indie rock band Side Effect are singing for change in Myanmar. Despite looser censorship laws, he doesn’t feel totally free. But the band’s first-ever tour abroad has given them courage to continue.

Listen to the report by Nadine Wojcik in Berlin:

Singer raises his voice in Myanmar

 

Darko

Many of Darko’s songs are full of harsh realism

Darko and Side Effect in Berlin

Side Effect was overwhelmed with the response they got in Berlin

Darko and Tse with tattoo

Darko und drummer Tser Htoo have matching tattoos of the band’s logo

 

Read more about Side Effect in the DW article.

Date

Tuesday 15.01.2013 | 13:36

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Brazilian hiphop artist promotes respect for women

Six out of 10 Brazilians know a woman who’s experienced domestic violence, according to a recent survey. Hiphop artist André Luis Machados in Rio de Janeiro uses his music to get people to rethink violence against women.

Listen to the report by Naomi Conrad in Rio de Janeiro:

Brazilian hiphop artist promotes respect for women

 

André Luis Machados, aka MC André Zovao

Date

Friday 21.12.2012 | 08:38

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