what’s difrent:?

Featured, News Sep 22, 2010 1 Comment

Hi social change activists! Welcome to difrent.org. Inspired by musician Stephan Said, the goal of difrent: is to provide a platform through which musicians, organizations, and social change believers alike no matter where they are can spread the idea of using music as an agent for change.

Like most of you I was searching for a change from the music we’ve been subjected to, the last ten years. We’ve seen a steady decline in music that focused on changing the world and an increase in the music telling us to just have a good time. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to dance, I happen to be a big fan of Reggae, Dancehall, house, and a bit of hip hop. On my ipod you will find everything from Chaka Khan to 2Pac with a little Bob Dylan and Elton John circa 1970, mixed in.

However, I find that the music today is just too simple. Most artists, if you can call them that, send the same message and basically sing the same songs, music has become all about the catchy hook.  Now, I don’t want to take away from what some artists have done in raising the bar for their genre. If you are a Hip Hop fan you cannot deny the talent or skill of a Jay-Z or Talib Kweli. Although very different, both artists have successfully created their own style in an industry filled with copycats.

At difrent.org you will find artists who share Stephan’s vision of making music matter. Music is universal, and it can move us to action and serve as the soundtrack to our lives. In the sixties and seventies music defined a generation. When we look back on these last ten years, how will our generation be defined musically? Will the music accurately described a generation that witnessed school shootings, 9/11/01, overcrowded schools, and the first Black President, or will it simply be a reflection of a generation desperate for escape?

For those of you who are interested in learning more about difrent: we are having a launch party on September 20th the evening before the International Day of Peace at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. The party will have representatives from a variety of international organizations; along with musicians who believe in the our message. Find out more details at our Events page or buy tickets directly at  http://lepoissonrouge.com/events/view/1556. I hope to see many of you there! Tyisha

music or social change, or both?

Featured, News Sep 22, 2010 20 Comments

I’ve been asking friends lately, what their first thoughts are when I mention music and social change? For me the first thought is artists from my parents generation: The Beatles, Peete Seeger, James Brown, Joni Mitchell and the slew of other artists from that era that clearly identified themselves as agents of social change through music. One friend of mine said that she thinks of hip hop as the genre that represents social change and immediately started ranting to me about some documentary film she had seen where hip hop had started an underground revolution in Brazil. Another friend told me she thought of how certain pop artists negatively affect the social climate by emphasizing materialism or body image or violence. A third friend half sarcastically told me that he simply thought of Green Day.  Interesting and varied reactions, I mused, while at the same time maintaining an awareness of the fact that I was asking the opinion of people from very similar backgrounds; All white, all in their twenties, all liberal arts school educated and all products of small town New England living.  I began to wonder what if I offered this same question to people of different cultures, race and age? What would be their immediate reaction?  Is a music festival dedicated to a social message an outdated hippy dippy concept, or an effective way to reach people? Have social issues been lost on today’s music culture, or is it simply presented in a different package? Is the globalization of music and musical genres creating international understanding, or international misunderstanding through a lack of context and tradition?  What do you associate with music and social change? I present these questions in hopes of receiving a varied and global response that will help difrent: in our mission to modernize the face of music as an agent of social change. Allegra