55 Moroccans, One Guitar, One Drum, Some Rock, Some Magic

The US Embassy’s Office of Public Affairs invited me to do a workshop with some 55 children from several Moroccan villages. Most of the kids had never left their village before, or heard rock and roll, or met an American. I did not have any supplies, just my guitar, my two Moroccan friends Hicham and Najib, and one Jimbai drum.

I was terrified being that I did not have any trusted relationships with any of these kids as I have with  the kids at Dar Lekbira childrens center. I barley speak Arabic, I barley play guitar, I had to work with 55 village kids, and I just gotten off a 5 hour bus ride from Tangier.  I brought my talented friends who are MOroccan to join me in my workshop, which made it more open, real, and special. Hicham adn Najib were instrumental in the success of today’s event. I gave a short speech in Arabic then I played 3 songs accompanied by Hicham on Kazoo and Harmonica and Najib on a hand drum. We did the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs: Soft Shock; Oasis; and our own Zerobridge tune written by brother Mubashir Mohi Ud Din, called ‘How Long’. After playing the songs for the kids, we split the kids into groups and had one group drum a rhythm to the song ‘How Long’, another group sang the chorus which is “how long”. Such was the first time many of the kids spoke English.

The Kids were magic and were so awesome and talented. It sounded great and it was such a trip to play music and have a chorus of Moroccan village kids singing along in a Zerobridge tune. The children were so open to try somehting new and were so happy to experiment with music. Some were shy, but then later they could not stop singing! The kids had a blast and wanted my autograph (even tho it aint worth nothing) and kept hounding me to take pics with them afterwards and were so grateful to just shake hands with me. I felt so honored. It was wierd but so humbling bc in fact I learned more from them. They could not stop singing the song!! They were super amped and they lifted my spirit and they show to all of us that no matter Arab or American, music is universal and we are all one. Our music arts initiative, Lollipops Crown, is really having an impact, thanks to these talented and brave kids.

Fulbright Scholar

How Long w. Kazoo

Oasis in Morocco:

What is Lollipops Crown Music and Arts Initiative-Morocco?
Lollipops Crown is a multi-dimensional pilot youth arts/music education initiative founded by Radouane Arraoui and Mohsin Mohi Ud Din. Our program aims to empower children, (specifically those children identified as street children and orphans), and encourage them to pursue creative outlets to express and record their unique experiences and learn new skills. Music and art can be the avenue of not only inspiring the youth, but art can further be a bridge of understanding between America and the Arab world. Our workshops will combine education in film animation, music, photography, painting, and dance workshops. The outcome of our workshops will be a number of short-animation films produced and scored by the children. At the conclusion of the workshops, the art and music produced by the children (photos, paintings, and the short animation film) will be on display and sold at a series of events for the associations of DARNA and Dar Lekbira and the Rabat Children’s Hospital.

At the end of the workshop I said in Arabic, ” I am from America and you are from Morocco, but the language of music is the language of the world. We are one and in this together.” Cheesy but true. Sounds cooler in Arabic. See below:

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