International Hip-Hop Artists Converge on Chapel Hill


April 1, 2015 | Angie Barker

Next LevelDuring the week of April 13–17, professional hip-hop artists from Africa, Asia, and Europe will be in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to participate in workshops, panel discussions, jam sessions, and public performances. The residency is part of the Next Level program, an international musical exchange and diplomacy initiative funded by the U.S. Department of State and run by UNC-Chapel Hill.

“We expect this to be the experience of a lifetime, not only for the visiting artists, but for everyone they meet,” said Mark Katz, Director of Next Level, and a music professor at UNC. “This will be an incredible opportunity for musical and cultural exchange.”

Next Level is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its mission is to use hip-hop music and dance to foster cross-cultural creative exchange in diverse and underserved communities. In doing so, Next Level works to promote understanding and conflict prevention, and to support the professional development of artists in those communities.

Over the past year, the Next Level program has organized a series of multi-week exchange programs that have sent American artists to India, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Senegal, Serbia and Zimbabwe. The Chapel Hill Residency concludes the year by providing an opportunity for artists from those countries to visit the U.S.

“Following our practice in the international residencies, the artists will both teach and learn, but—most of all—share,” Katz explained. “After a week in Washington, DC, the artists will come to Chapel Hill, where they will learn about the culture, music, and history of the American South, perform around town, and attend workshops on entrepreneurship and conflict resolution.”

Participating artists include:

Black Zang, MC (Bangladesh)
DJ Zlijay, DJ (Bosnia)
Malabika Brahma, vocalist (India)
Toussa Senerap, MC (Senegal)
Andjelko Pavolvic, dancer (Serbia)
FTR, beat maker (Zimbabwe)


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