It has been an intense 9 months but I am happy to say that the Lollipops Crown Project has grown. Word has spread of the project and not only I am still conducting music and photography and film workshops with the orphans and street children of Darna in Tangier and DarLekbira in Kenitra, but I am now involved in additional projects with two new organizations and I have also partnered with the U.S Embassy in Rabat. The children have been incredible and eager to learn and the hard work and dedication of the staff at these grassroots-community development organizations never ceases to stir the soul.
1)Association de Soutien au CMP-Hassouna
I am doing music workshops with members of ASCMP, which is an association in Tangier that provides care and mentoring for drug addicts. The former users I work with write poetry about their addiction and their lives on the streets. We arrange music and lyrics into a song and we then submit clips to be aired on the local radio. We finished one song far with the help of my brother Din, lead singer and songwriter of our band, Zerobridge. The results were amazing. Music opened up the former addicts to express their stories in an creative and educational way. They are super talented. My work with the members of ASCMP continues. CONTACT THEM @ firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Association 100% Single Mothers-Tangier, Morocco
I had the pleasure of visiting this association and meeting the mothers and babies that the organization supports. It is the only center providing shelter and mentoring and free day care for the single mothers in all of North Morocco. I will be doing music workshops with the mothers, using music as means for mothers to express their grievances and to raise awareness about their status in Moroccan society. CONTACT them: email@example.com
These are great organizations with incredibly dedicated staff and directors. There is a lot of darkness in this world, but community development projects led by such motivated social workers leaves one with hope that there is good in this world too.
***I am still making short films and doing music workshops with the awesome kids of Darna Center in Tangier and Association DarLekbira in Kenitra. Ill post our new vids soon.
Here is vid clip I made from my workshops with some of the most talented youth artists in Morocco. The event was sponsored by the U.S Embassy and the Moroccan Ministry of Youth. I participated as a judge for the National Youth Music Festival in Bensaliman in which led music workshops for the young artists during the day. At night, the artists would perform for a grand prize of new equipment.
Log from the Festival:
I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I was incredibly nervous and stressed, perhaps a little scared. Yet, by the end of the of National Youth Music Festival I was inspired and overwhelmed by the over 60 young Moroccan musicians and artists whom I had the honor of teaching as well as learning from. The young talent of Morocco reminded me of how music has no boundaries, no right or wrong answer. Music is a language unto itself, a language of unity and soul. I would meet scores of Moroccan B-Boy dance crews spinning on their heads like drill into the ground like a crew would in the New York City Subway. I would play guitar and drums while Moroccan MCs free-styled with the snarl of Lil Wayne, and I would witness the resurrection of The Ramones in a punk band called Oxygen. Ironically, just a few days before the world would mourn the loss of the King of Pop, I witnessed a performance by a moon walking, glove wearing, Moroccan MJ impersonator and rising pop star. The artists did not hide their love of western music, the kids unapologetically, yet successfully, fused their western influences with Arab-African music thus making the sounds unique and fresh.
The Moroccan Ministry of Youth, in partnership with the United States Embassy, invited me to participate as a music teacher and judge at the National Youth Music Festival in the farm town of Bensalimaan. I was happy to participate as a founder of my own music and arts initiative here in Morocco called the Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative for street children and orphans in Morocco. Over 60 of Morocco’s leading performers and songwriters were selected from over 14 provinces across Morocco to attend and compete.
Over the course of two days I led music workshops with the artists, and from those groups, certain finalists were given the opportunity to perform at night to 100s of onlookers. The jury and I were tasked with selecting the top three, who would be awarded with new instruments to help them continue pursuing their music careers.
1) Hiyaha( in Arabic) Brilliant Rap crew from Casablanca
2) Oxygen Punk rockers from Kenitra
3) Syphax Awesome fusion rock band whose guitarist wails on a Gibson guitar like Slash
Other great young acts from Morocco:
Red Line—Moroccan MCs
BM City Flow Moroccan MCs
Chakhda CRW—Moroccan B-By Dance Crew
Team Skullz—Pop group combining Jackson moves and vocals.