This month, Dutty Artz kicked off a series of monthly livestream/podcast events called the Duttycast.
The Duttycast will alternate between conversations/interactive experiences where we dig deeper into some of the issues all of us, as artists crossing borders and boundaries, have to deal with; and live musical experiences representing the wide range of Dutty Artz talents.
Our first Duttycast featured a conversation about the experience of making music when you are collaborating crossing national boundaries, focusing especially on how different funding sources, especially government funding sources, affect that experience. We invited Sam Hillmer, of the band ZS, who recently organized SCORE, an amazing remix project and has many other amazing projects in the works, due to his work with an organization called OneBeat, which uses US State Department money to bring international artists together in the US and elsewhere. We also invited Kendra Salois, a research of hip-hop in Morocco, who lived in Morocco for a year funded by the Fullbright foundation (as US Governent project), and also is a scholar of the US State Department’s interest in funding cultural events as a branch of US foreign policy often called “cultural diplomacy. I was interested especially in talking about what it means to be an artist who is funded to be a diplomat – to represent the US abroad, especially when many of us here (and abroad) are critical of US foreign policy? These projects date back to the 1950s, although their foreign policy goal has been updated to keep with the US State Department’s current interests. Chief Boima was also kind enough to participate (as well as managing most of the technical aspects of the Duttycast), sharing his experiences hustling for other kinds of support, and making connections and collaborations in Sierra Leone and beyond.
We wanted to center the voices of the musicians themselves, providing a space for artists, who have these rich experiences, but who often don’t get a chance to reflect on their experience in conversation with others where they can think about the larger context of their work
Held in one of Dutty Artz’ HQs, facilitated by Geko Jones and Brooklyn Shanti, the conversation was wide-ranging and fascinating, and we already have a lot of interest in continuing it further with more participants. You can check the recording out here:
Further readings on the US State Department’s involvement in musical projects are Chapter 4 in Ingrid Monson’s Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa, and Von Eschen’s Satchmo Blows Up The World: Jazz Ambassadors play the Cold War.