Words by Jesse Serwer—
You might take our friend Walshy Fire for a party-all-the-time kinda guy but the Major Lazer frontman, sound killer and occasional LargeUp contributor likes nothing more than to unwind and challenge his mind with some PBS. We know FOR A FACT his favorite TV show is Que Pasa, USA. (Hola, Miami.) So we know he was gassed when PBS’ online series Beat Making Lab tapped him to play judge and jury for its latest contest, encouraging folks to make a dancehall riddim from a sample of a kora, a traditional, 21-string harp from West Africa commonly used in Senegalese music.
Why dancehall made with a kora? Senegal is the latest Beat Making Lab (which brings mini, portable studios to urban centers around the world to train youth in the art of beatmaking) site, and some ladies there already made a pretty cool riddim using a sample of a kora. Now, Beat Making Lab, Soundcloud and Mad Decent want beatmakers from around the world to try their hand at the same thing, with the best tracks to be featured on an upcoming EP from the Mal Dicen, Latino Resiste and ARTVSM labels. (Previous contests/releases include a set of trap beats all made from a Panamanian accordion sample.) And that’s where A&R in-charge Walshy comes in.
Go here for more details, and specific instructions on how to enter the Beat Making Lab #SenegalChallenge. Once you’ve made your track and followed instructions, your track will be featured here on the #SenegalChallenge Soundcloud group.
One top-ranking track will also be featured MadDecent.com and Major Lazer’s website—and perhaps even LargeUp. But you better get going: entries for the contest are due July 12. Quick: find a kora sample!