In some parts of the world, half of the women lack basic reading and writing skills. The reasons vary, but in many cases, literacy isn’t valued by fathers, husbands, even mothers. Kuwaiti-born photographer and TED Fellow Laura Boushnak traveled to countries including Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia to document some of the women — schoolgirls, political activists, 60-year-old moms — who are fighting cultural odds for the sake of education. Listen to Boushnak’s talk, then see a gallery of her images on the TED Ideas Blog >>>
Here’s a groovy and playful bump for your midweek slump. Above, check out songstress Meklit’s freshly released video for her recent tune “Slow”, and read all about it below. Sadly, it looks like some clocks may have been harmed in the making of this video – but it’s worth it to stop time!
Tell us about “Slow” — the video and song. What’s it all about?
We had a blast shooting this video! It’s directed by my good friend Kevin Gordon and shot by the fabulous videographer Matt Clarke. The story has me visiting a magical clock shop while on a mission to collect clocks, throw them off a roof, and watch them put themselves back together.
The song is from We Are Alive, an album I released just this past March on Six Degrees Records. The tune highlights the strange reality that nothing takes the time you think it will. Somehow it’s easy for us humans to place expectations on life, thinking that it will hurry up for us…. but it won’t. So give me all the clocks in your house, we can throw them!
I love the clock theme, and the location is so evocative. Where was this shot?
Our location was Smith Clock Company in San Francisco, run by clockmaker extraordinaire David Smith, one of the country’s only African-American clockmakers. He was kind enough to let us take over his space one Sunday afternoon. He even agreed to make a cameo in the video. That’s him at his workstation, taking apart a timepiece. The intricacy and precision of what he does is remarkable.
And now you’re putting out a call for submissions for your next video?
Yes! We are currently hard at work on the video for “Kemekem” (I Like Your Afro) an Ethiopian folk song we reimagined for the record. We are crowdsourcing short afro videos from all over the world to be a part of it. If you have an Afro and would like to participate (no wigs, please), you can send in a 15-30ish second video of you and your Afro representing you however you would like. You can be talking on the phone, cooking, dancing, looking in the mirror, picking out, braiding, unbraiding, smiling, frowning, clowning… It can be a group shot, a selfie, a duo, trio, any matter of Afro beauty! Visit this site for more info. We’re looking forward to including you!
To find out more about Hadero and her work, visit the TED Blog >>>
“If this were my last song, would you hum along? If this were my last song, would you try to remember everything?”
Somi, American vocalist & songwriter of Rwandan and Ugandan descent, has just released her hauntingly beautiful new single “Last Song” on iTunes, ready to download here.
This haunting, delicate track is from her about-to-be-released album The Lagos Music Salon, inspired by a 2009 journey to Lagos after the death of her father. Of the music video, above, Somi says, “It was shot at the very end of my time in Lagos, just over a year ago. It takes me back to the sun, people, and inspiration that filled my heart.”
The album will be available internationally on May 24, 2014, on Sony’s historic imprint Okeh Records. Watch this space!
Since he first transfixed audiences at TEDGlobal 2012 with his percussive guitar, Usman Riaz, now a TED2014 Senior Fellow, has been busy making short films, composing, and commencing studies at the Berklee College of Music, a dream come true for the self-taught composer and multiinstrumentalist. Here at TED2014, he shares a lush sample of his most recent work, a composition entitled “Blue Moon Waltz” – Riaz’s first live orchestral experience.
Tell us about this piece.
The piece is called “Blue Moon Waltz,” and it’s part of a larger orchestral work, in progress. This clip is just a small, five-minute section. The idea for the film came from the Berklee media team, who wanted to work with me on something.We threw around a bunch of ideas. When I said had composed this piece, they helped me find musicians. Most of them are Berklee alumni, and alumni from other nearby music schools. We rehearsed for a few weeks, and then it was recorded in one day.
You’ve written for orchestra before, for your album Circus in the Sky. How is this different?
This was the first time I got to conduct an entire orchestra. I’d worked separately with orchestras before, but only in sections – strings, horn, later combined in the studio. But this is an absolutely live take, recorded in one of the Boston theatres. It was a thrill.
Can you tell us what the music is about?
It’s about two people waltzing in the sky. Once you hear it, you’ll be able to picture it.
To learn more about Usman and his work, visit the TED Blog >>>
Usman Riaz performing at the TED2014 Fellows Talks. Photo: Ryan Lash