San Francisco (July, 2014) BAY AREA NONPROFIT TAKES ON MUSICIANS’ RIGHTS IN NAIROBI SLUMS
From February 24-March 21, 2014, “fair trade music” nonprofit, PeaceTones (www.peacetones.org), travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, completing phase one of their current project: Songs For Justice. In this first phase, PeaceTones successfully conducted two musicians’ rights workshops for over 200 musicians drawn from three Nairobi slums. Working with accomplished local and international partners, PeaceTones completed specialized legal, marketing, technology, and social justice education for musicians in the low-income communities of Kibera, Babandogo, and Mathare. The team also auditioned 180 of their workshop attendees to participate in phase two- an online contest for original artists to start in July.
To conclude phase one, PeaceTones, together with local partners, also hosted two capstone peace concerts given in Kibera and Babandogo by participating artists, musical activists and partners. This was a turnkey project by PeaceTones- they plan to continue working with community partners, remotely, to support more future workshops and concerts and eventually have the project run completely by the partners. The partners involved ranged from lawyers to community organizers to musicians and more (see peacetones.org/songsforjustice/partners for full list).
The second and final phase for the project will be an online artist discovery competition. This will showcase 24 contestants, determined by our esteemed panel of Kenyan and American judges. The contest will be decided in three rounds by public, international vote and on PeaceTones’ online voting platform. The audiences are built not only for the winning artist, but also for all participating artists. This will give bring many unknown artists and their amazing works of music to the limelight, and also help publicize their messages of struggle, resilience and hope.
The winner will become a PeaceTones Ambassador and record an album with PeaceTones and acclaimed Kenyan musician, Eric Wainaina. They will also receive 90% of the profits from album sales, of which a portion will go to a local community development project of their choosing that is vetted and meets certain criteria. The expected outcomes of this project are an arts community with a greater sense of legal and social justice empowerment, with an understanding of their responsibilities and power as musicians, who also possess a greater knowledge of practical skills in law, marketing and technology.
PeaceTones’ mission is to foster rule of law from the ground up and create sustainable incomes for musicians living in communities torn apart by war, protracted conflict and natural disaster. We believe that by giving musicians with positive social messages the tools to protect their music and earn an income from it, we’re empowering communities to create and sustain their own economies, based on arts that are powerful, inspiring and valuable.
We see ourselves as a “fair trade music” movement, empowering unknown musicians in developing nations and at-risk communities with marketing and legal knowledge and access to online platforms to share their music globally. Using innovative learning and incentive models, we have conducted expert-led workshops to educate artists on their rights and tools to grow their careers in Sierra Leone, Haiti, Brazil, and Kenya over the last 5 years.
US Contact: Molly Dow
Kenyan Contact: Esther Kanyua