This came to us about a week ago, and I finally have the time to give this post justice. I present to you Raw Music International.
Meet 24 year-old Cyrus from Chicago. He recently started work on a new project called Raw Music International, about underground music scenes around the world. On each episode, he’ll travel to a new country, get deep into the music, and tell the story of that place through the music and the people who make it. Meet people, tell deeply human stories, and record and collect amazing jams that can provide an alternative to the hegemony of the America Top 10.
When I asked Cyrus more about the project, here’s what he said:
“I came up with the idea while working for the UN in Kenya a few years ago. The music and scenes I saw were so much more interesting than the jaded world I was used to in NYC (where I went to school). I raised the funds from private investors and just got my ass out there and did it. Some hairy situations at times, but overall amazing. The goal was to see if I could connect on a real level with people about my age through a shared love of music (and booze), regardless of background. It worked on many levels. I was supposed to go to Mali for the incredible Festival in the Desert next month but security issues made that impossible. So future episodes are focused on Quito, Ecuador; Hong Kong; Ulanbattar, Mongolia; and Los Angeles (an episode called Cleaning Ladies of LA, about the Guatemalan immigrants who clean the homes of the wealthy and then, in the evening, let loose in musical revivals in storefront churches. A crazy scene).”
The pilot was filmed in Kisumu, Kenya, a town with a massive musical history on Lake Victoria. Cyrus has put together a mixtape of 17 tracks either recorded exclusively by RMI or given to RMI by artists there. It ranges from the guitar music of long lost Luo legend Olima Anditi to the blunted ass jams of the Rasta contingent to some extremely innovative and exciting hip hop from the youngest generation of Kisumu artists. It’s music you won’t hear anywhere else and some of it is extremely beautiful, especially with a little bit of context.
The mixtape is currently available on Bandcamp. RMI asks for $3 for the mixtape to help cover costs, and give back a little bit to the incredible artists from Kisumu. It is an incredible project, and an amazing idea, so please show some support for RMI. This is how you help change the world through music, Cyrus you truly are #NotSomeKid.
Check out two of the tracks from the tape, below, or listen to all of them on RMI’s BandCamp page
Preview: Eli Sketch – Reach For Tha Top
Preview: Olima Anditi – Apoli