The Rap & Rhythm workshops were a CNYC initiative, spearheaded by a group of professional and emerging artists in Saskatoon. Over the course of two weekends, these workshops brought together youth from the inner-city neighbourhoods to learn the lyrical and technical aspects of music production but also the overarching values of community, creativity, self-expression, teamwork and empowerment through music.
The workshops took place at CNYC, where Lindsay “Eekwol” Knight, a Muskoday First Nation hiphop artist, along with Cree-Dene Metis spoken word poet and emcee Zoey “Pricelys” Roy, from PBCN, taught the youth lyricism and facilitated their creative expression. Beyond learning how to express themselves through lyrics, the youth also were shown how to write to sixteen-bar and eight-bar traditional rap songs, how to use an MPC to construct instrumental beats, received training in sound engineering and eventually recorded their music at PAVED Arts.
Eight participants recorded five songs and one collaborative track called “Loop Theory,” for which a music video was shot and shown at a release party at PAVED Arts, on May 5th, with performances by the Rap and Rhythm Collective and a poetry slam facilitated by the Saskatoon Indigenous Poets Society. Zoey “Pricelys” Roy was the Executive Producer of the music video, Bryn Becker was the Director of Photography, all of the songs were produced by Muskwa Lerat and Eli Temple with the mixing done by Muskwa Lerat.
These workshops have both provided youth with experience in the music industry and exposed them to two organizations that are working to serve youth in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods: CNYC and PAVED Arts, who have supplied the youth with year-long memberships to access their studios. The Rap and Rhythm workshops were sponsored by the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute through the Healthy Minds Grant, and will hopefully be an ongoing program offered out of CNYC on the weekends. Congratulations to all of the participants on their performances, and many thanks to all of the artists who took the time to organize and facilitate these workshops and the release party event.