Eco Faeries (interview)

Growing up in Iceland I am well aware of the existence of hidden people and giants but I am less familiar with faeries. In Australia there is a colorful group of faeries who use music to share their love of nature and how to take better care of mother earth. So I interviewed Faerie Cara of the Eco Faeries to learn more about these faeries and their music, nature preservation and how one can get married at their concerts.

First of all, who are the Eco Faeries?

Eco Faeries use entertainment to promote a love of nature and taking care of the environment. We specialize in performing for families with children who are in early childhood years of 2-7 years of age. One stage there are two main performers, myself Faerie Cara, and Faerie Kirstee. I’ve been working as a faerie for over 23 years, Kirsten came into the company two years ago now, but really she’s always been a faerie. We also have a team of faeries who work in schools doing educational incursions, faeries who run nature craft workshops, street artists and volunteers.

What is your background in music? Has it always been educational?

All our performers have different backgrounds. Kirstee is a classically trained flautist, multi instrumentals and vocalist trained at WAAPA. I’ve worked as a faerie my whole life, creating songs as I travel the world. We also love to collaborate with local musicians to create a certain sound. The way we work is first coming up with a message we want to deliver, then we create a song and record it in the studio. For our live children’s shows we use a karaoke track that we created in the studio so we can focus on singing live while dancing and acting. It’s important to be high energy and engaging for the age group we are performing for.

Yes it’s always been educational. We believe faeries are the guardians of nature and we represent them in a way they we’re talked about in faerie tales years before Disney cartoons we’re created. For us to represent faeries we don’t want to fluff about. We want to empower children to make a difference, to use their voices and be the change the world is waiting for.

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It seems at a first glance that you are more than just a band. Can you elaborate on the scope of the project?

We like to be seen as an entertainment company and make everything as catchy, high energy and memorable as possible. Within that framework we are educators. We have a message to deliver and through creating magical moments within the community, the families we meet continue to speak about what they learned from the faeries.

Can anyone learn to become an Eco Faerie?

We have a live performance show for events, shopping centers and schools, plus we run workshops, create art installations and just generally create a faerie buzz of activity wherever we can. We also organize our own events and create education videos in partnership with local organizations.

Are you part of any other musical projects?

Yes we are! Here in Perth, Western Australia we love to collaborate with like minded performers to create crowd stopping shows. Our main partners in crime are Junkadelic, an explosive live performance brass band with percussion instruments made from junk. Together we work with other local groups to put on themed shows at street festivals.

Is it true that one could attend a Eco Faeries concert and get married at the same time?

It’s true, it’s a sneaky twist to our faerie tale. I’m an authorized civil Marriage Celebrant in Australia. I was hoping that same sex marriage would be legalized so I studied and registered to become a celebrant. Unfortunately we are still waiting for marriage laws to change, in the mean time I’ve been able to officiate many amazing weddings from barefoot ceremonies in the forest to cabaret shows in a ballroom. It’s definitely not the focus of the main Eco Faerie company but it’s been amazing to be part of so many outstanding weddings. (Input: shortly after interviewing Faerie Cara, Australian people voted in favor of same-sex marriage!)

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What do you hope to achieve with your music?

We hope our songs are enjoyed and are continued to be sung by families. We deliberately make them catchy and fun, then the messages written into them are remembered. We’re always aiming to reach more people so we find new events to visit.

Next year we’ll be touring Australia some more, who knows, maybe once day we can do another international tour. In the mean time we just made three short educational videos that can be viewed through our website. These we’re produced through a grant from Keep Australia Beautiful WA so they all have a waste theme. They feature a short educational segment followed up by a song. That way we can share what we do with families around the world and not have to fly about too far.

How has the response been from peers within the music industry?

The response has been great so far. Eco Faeries has been running for 13 years now and is a full time gig for us. We keep our work polished and original so bands and organizers see the hard work that goes into everything we do. Every event that we do leads to more gigs so we must do something right.

Are you connected with faeries around the world?

We keep an eye on social media to see what other faeries are up to. We also love to connect with mermaids or just groups that are working hard to change the world. Everyone represents ‘faerie’ differently. We work on keeping our work original and pull from our own ideas but it’s always fun to meet faeries when we travel. Years ago I travelled through Canada and USA and met some inspiring magical creatures on the way. I love to see the evolution of their performances over the years.

What is on the horizon for the Eco Faeries?

We’re in the midst of our peak performance season but we are looking ahead to 2018 where we’ve booked some interstate events, a few Fringe shows and hopefully we can make more videos.

Thank you very much for participating and for the work you do! Anything else you would like to shout from the rooftops?

Thank you so much for connecting with us. Please check out our website, watch Eco Faerie TV where you can see us in action anywhere around the world and don’t forget that the magic of nature is in you.

 

Keyz (interview)

Keyz is only 20 years old and he just released his first album. ‘The Seed’ has, in his own words, now been planted. The lyrics indicate empathy and compassion one would expect to see in an older individual. This is a young individual, who realizes that his voice, no matter how small or unsigned, can have an impact. Especially if the rest of us listen and follow his plea to make an impact in a unified way.

From ‘You and Me’ (prod. Yondo)

“to anybody hearing this track
understand that it’s more than a lyric in a rap
i’m tryna uplift your spirits in fact
together we’ll make a bigger impact”

Halldór contacted Keyz and learned about the process of his debut album, his message and upcoming projects for this brilliant young artist.

 

For those not familiar with your work, who is Keyz?

I’m a 20-year old from Sudan that would like to become the voice for all ‘third culture kids’, as well as all marginalized and underrepresented social classes. Through music and media I want to unify like-minded people and build a global community dedicated to bring about systematic changes in society, economy, and politics.

 

According to your Bandcamp page you turned 20 years old this year. How long have you been making music?

I’ve been making music since I was 11 or 12 years old – but back then, my stuff was trash. Even my stage-name was corny – I called myself ‘Dizeaze’ because I thought I was ‘sick with the flow’ (God, I hope people don’t find that stuff lol). I still have a long way to go but it’s been great learning the basics of how to write and record my own songs… and how to come up with a better stage name..

 

‘The Seed’ is your first album. How was the process behind the album?

I loved making my first album. I learned a lot about the recording process and zoned in on it to make sure my sound quality was decent. The masterminds behind the beats blessed me with the opportunity to use their sounds and it was awesome reaching out to the lovely ladies who let me use their artwork for the album cover, as well as cover art for each song.

I was also happy with the roll out – I figured out how to get my music on Spotify/iTunes & most major streaming services – and I have great friends & family who helped with marketing & planning.

And the response was great! I’m humbled by & super grateful for the support I’m receiving for the album and flattered when I have opportunities like these – interviews, performances, etc.

 

How important is it for you to have a political or activist message in your songs and what is your inspiration for making conscious music?

Not to sound cliche, but, I believe my purpose in life is to be an activist for the benefit of my community, for the third culture. and for the world. And I know that music shaped my character, so, when I make music, I try my best to help other listeners better themselves. My inspiration comes from a lot of places, but when I watch my favorite artists perform live, with thousands of like-minded people chanting their lyrics – I want to be on that stage. With thousands of people united for social change.

 

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Do you feel there is a like-minded scene around you or do you feel lonely making your music?

I feel like there are artists, even mainstream artists like Kendrick, Cole, & Joey Bada$$, who make conscious music & have even paved the lane for conscious music to resurface for our generation – but there still isn’t a voice for the GLOBALLY underrepresented people of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and all indigenous people who have had their cultures and histories rewritten by imperials… so I’m going to have to fill that void.

 

What are some of your favorite political or conscious musicians/bands out there?

I have loads of favorites to be honest – everyone from Lauryn Hill and Tupac to Joey Bada$$ and Ab-Soul to Mick Jenkins and Joyner Lucas and of course Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.

 

What’s on the horizon for you?

Well, since I released ‘The Seed’, I’ve been working on new music, some collaborations, and will start performing more and networking – hopefully within the next 6 months I’ll be able to throw my own concert. Pray for me!

 

Thank you so much for participating and for making the music you make! Anything you want to add to wrap this up?

Thank YOU very, very much for appreciating my music and taking the time out to feature me for an interview. I highly respect you using your platform for social change – much love!

Yuca Brava (interview)

Recovery has been slow and tough for Puerto Rico. One month since hurricane Irma and there is still no electricity for the majority of the island’s residents. But things have not really been ok in Puerto Rico for more than a hundred years or ever since a very dubious citizenship was ‘granted’ to the island’s residents. Some of these islanders are bringing their frustration and fight to the microphone and sharing important messages with the world. One of these bands is Yuca Brava and in the midst of devastation its vocalist, Félix Castro, was kind enough to answer a few questions. They use their voices and talents not only to fight recent storms but also a hundred years worth of political turbulence.

Félix also shared with us some local groups that are bringing food, supplies and medicine to their communities in Puerto Rico so if you want to donate or help in any way then please check out the list at the bottom of the page.

 

For those not familiar with Yuca Brava can you tell us a bit about the group?

Yuca Brava (spanish for “angry yucca”) is a political rapcore band from Puerto Rico. We started on November 2016 as a duo formed by drummer/producer Carlos Anglada and myself (Félix Castro) as vocalist. Later on, Edwin Rosa (guitars) and Marcos Serrano (bass) joined the line-up.

 

How important is it for you to send a specific message out into the universe and what are some of those messages?

For us the message is primordial, without neglecting the rigor of the composition. Anglada and I started prematurely as a duet with beats because we understood the relevance of the message in its political context. Puerto Rico has been a US colony for 119 years, suffering from the violence of capitalism, racism, classism; among others. Our message is clear, Puerto Rico has to be a free sovereign country; and from this political condition, another reality is possible and necessary.

 

How is the scene in Puerto Rico for political bands? Is there a lot of like minded bands around you?

Puerto Rico has a wide variety of independent music with political content. Some in the Latin American tradition of nueva trova as: Roy Brown, Mikie Rivera, Mijo de la Palma, Fernandito Ferrer; rap and hip-hop artists like: Welmo Romero, South Flow, MalaCara, Honor y Honra, TMS, SieteNueve, Intifada, Postrap, Negro Gonzalez; bands like: Fiel a la Vega, Tráfico Pesado, Puya, Gomba Jahbari, etc. In addition, there is a movement of arts and very strong poetic expression that has been developing.

 

What do you hope to achieve with your music?

Yuca Brava’s main goal is focus on the urgency of a trench through the arts for these times of collective crisis. Our hope is to make music that does not serve to stun or alienate, but to accentuate shared rage against oppression.

 

Can you share some of your favorite political bands?

Rage Against The Machine, System of a Down, Puya, Mercedes Sosa, Kendrick Lamar, Portavoz, A.N.I.M.A.L., Anita Tijoux, Lucecita Benitez, Luis El Terror Dias, Victor Jara, Silvio Rodríguez, etc.

 

What’s next for Yuca Brava?

We’re rehearsing to perform at some local shows, and working in the pre-production phase of our next EP titled “Cristales Rotos”. For more information on music and gigs you can visit www.facebook.com/somosyucabrava & yucabrava.bandcamp.com

 

Thank you very much for participating in our project and for the music you make.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our proposal and for the solidarity.

 

Local groups and iniciatives in Puerto Rico:

Proyecto Matria
Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo Mariana
Colectiva Feminista en Construcción
Fundación El Plato Caliente
Brigada del Mellao
El Hormiguero Centro Social Autogestionado
Olla Común
CAUCE
La Junta Comunitaria de RP
El Local en Santurce
#TeamCorazonPR
Campamento Contra la Junta
Brigada Solidaria del Oeste
Bori Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief
Local Guest
Urbe a Pie
Comedores Sociales
El Llamado
Maria Fund (by Taller Salud, the G8 of Caño Martín Peña, and other local, grassroots organizations)
Institute for Socio Ecological Research (ISER) Caribe
ViequesLove
Güakiá Colectivo Agroecológico
Casa Pueblo Adjuntas

Félix also shared a second list of reputable organizations compiled by Vanessa Díaz of Dartmouth College:
Reputable Puerto Rican Orgs & Volunteer Opportunities