Three Minnesota hip-hop artists journey home to Ghana, Puerto Rico, and Thailand to create unexpected collaborations across generations and geography.
This November, two very different musicians in Ghana will unite for a groundbreaking musical collaboration. We need your help to make sure it’s documented in the best way possible.
To many, J.H. Kwabena Nketia is known as “Professor” for his musical compositions and pioneering scholarship in African ethnomusicology and linguistics. To Hip-Hop artist M.anifest, though, he was always better known as “Grandpa.”
On the surface, grandfather and grandson are very different. Nketia speaks softly with a voice that bears the wisdom of 90 years of life, while the charismatic M.anifest can capture a room in a matter of moments when he grabs a mic. Nketia writes scholarly treatises and classical compositions, while M.anifest voices his ideas through Hip-Hop’s beats and rhymes—the music of his generation. Yet of all of Nketia’s grandchildren, only M.anifest has chosen a path as close to that of his grandfather’s, though without any formal musical training. This is just the first of numerous similarities, expressed both in what they say and how they say it.
In June of 2010, M.anifest discovered "Akwansosem Bi" ("Stories from the Journey"), a collection of poems written by Nketia almost 60 years ago while attending college in London. These poems contain a form of language, storytelling, rhyme, and rhythmic energy that sounds unexpectedly—but unmistakably—like M.anifest’s own Hip-Hop.
Inspired by the discovery, M.anifest will leave Minnesota and return to his home in Ghana to create music with his grandfather for the first time. M.anifest will learn more about his world-famous grandfather and push his Hip-Hop in new directions. Nketia sees the project as a chance to try something new at the age of 89, or as he says wryly, “when I’m still in the waiting room and not in the departure lounge.” Neither knows what the collaboration will sound like, but everyone’s eager to find out.
We are traveling to Ghana next month to document this incredible collaboration, as well as capture M.anifest’s first nation-wide tour in Ghana, and we need your help to make it happen.
We’ve been pouring our hearts and our wallets into making this film, we’re working overtime at our ‘day jobs’ and calling in favors from friends and colleagues in order to get our tiny crew to Ghana with the equipment, funds, food, and lodging we need to join M.anifest and his grandfather on this journey. The truth is that we can’t make it there without your help, and we have to be there. M.anifest and Nketia’s collaboration together is the first of its kind, and it might be the only chance they’ll have.
We are deeply honored to be a part of telling this story. Please reach out, back this project, and help all of us share it with the world.
Thank you for supporting our project. We can’t do it without you!
- Justin Schell and Lauren DeSteno, Filmmakers
This project is part of our larger documentary called We Rock Long Distance, which weaves together the stories of three Minnesota artists (M.anifest, Maria Isa, and Tou SaiKo Lee) who use Hip-Hop as a way to create connections between different generations. You can learn more about the film at: http://www.WeRockLongDistance.com
For updates, photos, videos and special announcements, check out:
Our website: http://www.werocklongdistance.com
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $8,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on October 23, 2010.
Sep 24, 2010 - Oct 23, 2010
Pledge $5 or more
Our heartfelt thanks and your name listed in the ‘Kickstarter Supporters’ area of our website. Thank you!
Pledge $10 or more
Our heartfelt thanks and your name listed on our website AND in the We Rock Long Distance film credits, plus we’ll send you a postcard from Ghana during the trip!
Pledge $25 or more
All of the above, including a postcard sent to you from Ghana, plus a DVD of the finished film signed by the cast and filmmakers of We Rock Long Distance.
Pledge $50 or more
All of the above, plus Lauren will create a unique set of three photographic prints from the trip to Ghana, especially for you. Prints will be 5x7, archival, signed, and include a hand-written note of thanks for your support! (And we're told she has nice handwriting, too!)
Pledge $100 or more
Join us at the premiere! You’ll receive a personal invitation for two to the Minneapolis premiere of the film, plus your name in the “Special Thanks” area of the film credits, plus all of the above. (Transportation and lodging for out-of-towners not included, but Lauren says she'll buy you a tasty beverage of your choice.)
Pledge $250 or more
A personalized video postcard just for you, from us, from Ghana! We’ll send you an update along with a sneak peek at some of the best sights, sounds, and moments from the trip. (Plus all of the above.)
Pledge $500 or more
Cutting Edge: Get special access to the editing process! View our rough cuts on a private Vimeo channel, chat with the filmmakers, and become an integral part of shaping the film. (Plus all of the above.)
Pledge $1,000 or more
Your Name in Lights! Associate Producer Credit on the film (this will also appear on our IMDB listing), plus a VIP invitation for four to the premiere of the film, plus all of the above. And BOTH Lauren and Justin will buy you a beverage of your choice. A fancy one, even!
Pledge $2,500 or more
Your Name in BIGGER LIGHTS! You’ll receive a Co-Executive Producer Credit on the film (this will also appear on our IMDB listing), plus everything above, plus Justin will shoot and edit a video portrait of an elder member of your family. (Transportation and lodging not included outside of the Twin Cities metro area.)