Pierce Freelon

Pierce Freelon is a member of the Beat Making Lab. He's blogging about the lab's project in Ethiopia for PRI.org.

Dancers in Goma, DRC

He traveled to Congo to teach hip hop and ended up giving a beat-making class on US race relations


It’s Swahili. It’s French. It’s English. It’s hip hop created by American professor Pierce Freelon on his latest trip to Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Except this time, news broke back home in the US about black churches set ablaze. Freelon soon turned his beats making lab into a masterclass on race relations.

A return to Ethiopia rekindles the spirit of the Beat Making Lab

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Presentation outside Beat Making Lab studio.

How do you say hello when no one speaks the same language?

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Adamasu our drummer on the poem.

Rap? Meh. Poetry is the rage at the Ethiopian Beat Making Lab

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Stephen Levitin aka Apple Juice Kid on a site visit with IntraHealth.

Can you mix a masinko and a soccer game chant into a beat?

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What happens when you mix culture, talent, health and passion? Music

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The Beat Making Lab’s trip to Ethiopia was about more than helping people make music. It was about using music to help understand the health issues on the minds of people in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in Ethiopia.

And the Beat Making Lab goes on, to Ethiopia

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If you’ve ever wondered what the world sounds like, the Beat Making Lab wants to help you find out. Armed with a few laptops and a lifetime of music-making experience, the two men behind the project are bringing community music labs to communities all over the world.