Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts presents
Planet Hip Hop Festival with Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh, Meryem Saci, and Poetic Pilgrimage
Curated by Nomadic Wax
What: Afternoon workshops and evening performances by international Muslim women in hip hop, including London’s spoken-word duo Poetic Pilgrimage, the U.S. debut of Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci as a solo artist, and the New England debut of Washington, D.C.-based and Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh as a solo artist. Using hip hop as a platform to explore issues of social importance—faith, peace, unity, social justice—educate individuals, and inspire change, the evening concert will also feature the Nomadic Wax Collective, a live backing band that will include bass, drums, keys, guitar, and a DJ. This event is part of Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan.
When: Saturday, September 20, 2014
- Three workshops (between 11am and 5pm): World Music Hall, located at 40 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown, Connecticut.
- Concert(9pm): Fayerweather Beckham Hall, located at 55 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan University campus in Middletown, Connecticut.
About: As a teenager, singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci moved with her family from her native war-torn Algeria to Canada. She joined the multi-cultural Montreal hip hop group Nomadic Massive in 2005, opening for Mos Def, Wyclef Jean, Public Enemy, and Busta Rhymes, and appearing with the group at Trinity College’s International Hip Hop Festival in 2010. This performance at Wesleyan will be Ms. Saci’s United States debut as a solo artist. Meryem Saci’s workshop, “Music Is Medicine: Hip Hop Therapy for the Bifurcated Soul,” will take place at 11am. In the workshop, Ms. Saci will explore her experiences as a refugee, an artist, and a Muslim woman. She will unpack the therapeutic and spiritual benefits that music can provide, pulling examples and lessons from her own history and life story.
Singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh was featured on the track “Don’t Feel Right” on the album “Game Theory” (2006) by The Roots, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album.” She also appeared with the group in Dave Chappelle’s hip hop documentary “Block Party” (2005). Ms. Youssef ‘s first full-length solo album “The Blooming” (2011) was included The Washington Post’s list of best D.C. music of that year, saying “This R&B/soul/hip-hop dynamo delivers a vibrant collection of songs…every track is an impressive showcase of the up-and-coming performer.” Her single “I Got A Man,” produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff, has been featured on VH1 and BET. Ms. Youssef has toured as a supporting vocalist for The Roots as well as Lalah Hathaway, Zap Mama, and Common, and has performed with Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Nas, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, among others. This performance at Wesleyan will be Ms. Youssef’s New England debut as a solo artist. Maimouna Youssef’s workshop, “Freestyling through the History of American Music – Improvisation 101,” will take place at 1:45pm. The workshop will take participants on a vocal journey chronologically through various genres of American music using the pillars of Islam from a female perspective. Participants will learn to use improvisation techniques to share their personal experiences while having loads of musical fun.
Born in Bristol, England to Jamaican migrant parents, Muneera Rashida and Sukina Abdul Noor formed the spoken word duo Poetic Pilgrimage in 2002, and converted to Islam in 2005. Fusing the spiritual mysticism of Alice Coltrane with the sounds of Gil Scott-Heron and A Tribe Called Quest, their music is a portrait of resistance, challenging a hostile environment with unparalleled lyricism and thought-provoking content. Poetic Pilgrimage opened for Talib Kweli’s 2008 tour of Norway. In 2009, the duo were featured at the South by Southwest Festival supporting Mr. Lif, and were the first British group to perform at Trinity College’s International Hip Hop Festival, sharing the bill with Blitz the Ambassador. Poetic Pilgrimage’s workshop, “The Art of Rhyme: Exploring Islam and Hip Hop through Verse Writing,” will take place at 3:30pm. In this workshop, the group will explore the topic of Islam and hip hop using poetry and verse writing, supported by a live DJ. After a short lecture, participants will have an opportunity to write a four-bar verse on a topic relating to the subject of Islam and hip hop. Poetic Pilgrimage will coach participants through the writing and performing process, and participants will have the opportunity to present their verses at the Planet Hip Hop Festival Concert at 9pm.
Nomadic Wax is a U.S.-based social enterprise that produces music, film, and educational events aimed at creating cross-cultural exchange and increasing awareness of global issues. Nomadic Wax links diverse communities and encourages social and cultural dialogues through art. Founded in 2001 as a fair trade record label and production company of African hip hop and urban music, Nomadic Wax has grown into an internationally recognized brand firmly rooted at the intersection of urban media and social change.
- Three workshops (Meryem Saci – 11am; Maimouna Youssef – 1:45pm; Poetic Pilgrimage – 3:30pm): $12 per workshop, or $30 for all three workshops. Workshops are free for Wesleyan students. Lunch provided for participants.
- Concert (9pm): $18 general public; $15 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students.
Special Offers: Purchase a Passport to Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan by Saturday, September 20, 2014 and see the evening concert for only $12.50! Click here for more details about this special offer: http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa/events/passportevents2014-2015.html
Ticketing Information: To purchase tickets online, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/boxoffice. Tickets may be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performances, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University,” and all major credit cards. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.
For More Information: For more information and to watch preview videos of all the artists, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa/mwv.