Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement


Music used in this episode:

1.) "Hawai'i '78 by Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole
2.) "Paradise Lost" by Sudden Rush
3.) "He Mele Inoa No Kawaipunahele" by Keali'i Reichel

Additional material you may find interesting:

Meet The Native Hawaiians Fighting U.S. Occupation
Hula Kahiko
2008 Kamehameha Song Contest 5 - Sophomore Women
Kū‘u ha‘aheo e ku‘u Hawai‘i -Stand Tall my Hawai‘i - by Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu
Warriors of Hula
Halau Na Mamo O Puuanahulu Men Kahiko 2nd Place - 2009 Merrie Monarch

The Rollercoaster Ride of Life: The Hip-Hop Perspective On Mental Health


The theme of this playlist covers the topic of Mental Health within the realm of hip-hop. Mental Health is a topic that has not really been expressed in mainstream hip-hop and is often used as a tool to attack other artists within the genre. Within the last few years, we have seen an uptick in songs speaking on or referencing moments that artists have experienced or faced surrounding mental health. You can see this is songs being released by artists such as Kid Cudi, Joyner Lucas, Logic and so many more. 

The playlist starts off with four interviews that consisting of artists speaking about mental health, setting up the scene of how mental has been looked at from various viewpoints, and how artists are starting to use their music to speak about these issues. Expanding from these interviews, it is clear that mental health issues can expand beyond race, beyond social status, and beyond financial security. Many of the artists agree that they feel like it is their duty to talk about these issues so that they are able to cope, as well as speak for those who do not have the ability to share their stories.


The first two tracks that follow the interviews do not talk about mental health directly within the lyrics, but rather help paint a picture to allow the listener to experience some of the feelings that are associated with mental health.

The following three tracks by Solange ft. Lil Wayne, Kid Cudi, and Joe Budden ft. Emanny speak about mental health more directly by placing their issues directly into their lyrics. In “Mad” by Solange, Lil Wayne spits a verse on the song that states, “And when I attempted suicide, I didn’t die; I remember how mad I was on that day; Man, you gotta let it go before it get up in the way; Let it go, let it go” in reference to what many believe to be associated with an incident where he shot himself in the chest at the age of twelve. Joe Budden also references suicide when stating, “She told me there's a higher power and a lower power; And that I'll die if I don't find the strength to overpower; Then I replied, ‘well aren't we all’? She said ‘yeah, but that should be on God’s terms, not yours” when speaking about his own struggles in his song “Only Human”


The next three tracks are by DMX, Notorious B.I.G., and Joyner Lucas and talk about suicide very directly and very powerfully. The reason I separate these tracks from the previous three is a mixture of the directness of their lyrics talking and portraying thoughts about suicide and mental health. They are also artists that I have loved in the past, and never realized or noticed that they had songs that spoke about this issue. Joyner Lucas also provides an interesting take on the subject because his music video is portraying the story of a friend that has committed suicide. The song/video is split in two with the first part sharing the story and thoughts that were expressed by his friend while the second half is from his point of view and allows the viewer/listener to experience how suicide effects so many besides the person that committed the act.


The last two tracks are both by Logic, and have been released within the last six months and help spread the idea to seek help when dealing within mental health. At the end of “Anziety” Logic states, “Together we will overcome this feeling. We will remember that despite the attacks and constant feeling of our mind and body being on the edge, that we are alive and any moments that we have free of feeling we will not take for granted. We will rejoice with this gift that is life…” to help paint the picture that there is help, that there is life and happiness while dealing with mental health issues, and that there is a community that is able to provide support in times of need and doubt.


Mental Health is something that has affected my life in so many ways. Dealing with mental health issues directly, as well as having multiple people in my life that unfortunately committed suicide. I hope that this playlist is able to help bring awareness that this is a topic that warrants being discussed and that a genre like hip-hop can be a very successful platform to spread this message to such a wide range of individuals within the United States and even around the world.


Proteus Sound Play


By being exposed to the computer game Proteus, we were shown that interacting with the game influenced the soundscape to which we were exposed. This became the most distinct when the players would come close to various animals.


The soundscape also changed when passing certain plants, as it shifted from day to night, and from season to season to help give each situation its unique sound.

I can see how games like this may help pick interest in experiencing and exploring nature around us, however with the little to no instructions or guidance within this particular game I do not think it did an effective job of raising awareness for environmental issues. The platform is a great starting point, but they could do a lot more to make this game a more educaitonal interface.

Bluegrass: A More Complicated And Diverse Past


I assume I am not the only one that an image like this comes to mind when Bluegrass is mentioned. An all white, majority male, "hillbilly" influenced music genre. However, in a speech given by Rhiannon Giddens, 2016 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo recipient, as the keynote address at the 2017 International Bluegrass Music Association business conference a different picture is painted. In her speech, Rhiannon helps portray Bluegrass as "a beautiful syncretization of the cultures that call this country home" by giving examples of how African-Americans had a great deal of influence in the creation of the genre.

Do you think that Rhiannon Giddens' speech will have a lasting effect on the Bluegrass genre?

A New National Anthem!


"Home of the brave and free
Free just to murder me
Land of the beautiful
Cursed by the hate we throw
Is this the new national anthem"

“New National Anthem” by T.I. ft. Skylar Grey is a lyrical portrayal “addressing police brutality, systemic racism, gun culture and a laundry list of other social problems currently plaguing the U.S.” (Times) and brought into the spotlight due to the turmoil that was taking place in Ferguson, Missouri in late 2014. The discord mentioned was about a week-long period of protests, riots, and looting in the response to the shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson.

Jeff Benjamin wrote a review of the song stating, "And while Tip never specifically mentions Michael Brown or Ferguson, he shares his thoughts on timely racism and injustice issues, mentioning everyone from Trayvon Martin ("He didn't have to die, did he?") to Martin Luther King Jr. throughout his verses" (Fuse), to help tie in the lyrics to what was currently happening in society. T.I. himself also explained, "['New National Anthem'] spoke to me in a way where I said, man, I should probably put this out," T.I. said about the Skylar Grey-assisted track, which he said he wrote over a year ago around the time the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin verdict was announced. "People need to hear this now" (XXL), to help wrap up the reasons the song was released and released an open letter expressing his thoughts on current events.

"Look at us….America has created a monster. The result of ignoring & mishandling an already fragile spirited, recently enslaved, presently oppressed race/generation of people. Look at us. We’re the monster that now refuses to be dismissed, overlooked,& ignored. We were brought to this place,unaware of our own cultures,religion,&traditions therefore,we created our own. Now look at us. For years we’ve been crying out for the nation to address the substandard education systems & disparaging treatment of our citizens in communities across America. Our people have had an increasing lack of opportunities for generations. There have been homes broken,lives shattered,and futures lost on your watch….unanswered. Look at us. How long can u expect a nation/race/generation of people to be blatantly disrespected? Spoken to and treated with arrogant tones of insignificance. Our fathers,uncles,brothers& role models were killed& Imprisoned more often than educated. Now look at us. Our friends,& relatives Murdered and cast aside without thought,as though your human life is more valuable than ours. How long can that go on without consequence? Now Look at us. How long can u continue to pass the buck & make excuses of why u can’t do today what should have been done yeste-year? Although I DO NOT support the negative responses & actions of my people in light of dis tragedy….I WILL NOT condone your lack of effort to show any urgency to improve the treatment of our people, nor the living conditions in our communities. Your refusal to address these life altering issues makes events such as these seem inevitable. Although I too am at fault to a degree & I admit that I may not have all da answers… I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is…Going about things the same way,expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!”

Unlike many music videos, T.I. decided to only make this a lyrics video with the visuals heavily consisting of the song’s lyrics with some background imagery that compliments the lyrics including images of Ferguson, a pistol, and a policeman’s hat. This style of production allows the viewer to associate images they already have about the event rather than having to rely on the imagery to be supplied by the artist.


“If the kids are the future
Tell me why you can get more for being C.O.
Than you can for being a teacher”

T.I. created this song to help express his thoughts about the actions that took place during the Ferguson riots. Yet, the lyrics go beyond this single event and can be used to describe the current state of our country regarding politics, racial issues, social issues, and the existence of a state of oppression. This can be seen in the lyrics of the song, “If the kids are the future / Tell me why you can get more for being C.O. / Than you can for being a teacher” to help talk about the disparity between the amount of money that gets allocated to the prison system and that of the educational system and how in turn this is reflected with the high percentage rates of individuals that we have locked up behind bars within this country. He goes on to talk about the justice system when he says, “Tell me why 9 ounces of crack will get you more time than a rape right now” which reflects the current state in which our government goes after drug use harsher than they do rape. These topics feed into the overall discussion of oppression and how the results of these tactics hit the minority populations of our country the hardest, especially the African-American community.


This song best fits with our class discussion on “Music, Cultural Diplomacy, and Politics” and how music has been used to challenge social and political issues while also being used to express social cohesion. This can be seen toward the end of the song when T.I. says, “Message to my people / Stop waiting on folk to help you, help yourself, it starts with you / Get yourself out, reach back, get somebody else out / And that’s the way we’re going to get ahead” as a way to help bring cohesion and motivation to the African-American community. Outside of the boundaries of this song, there was a rise of unity and resulted in the formation of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

T.I. also worked outside of this song and even posted on social media to talk about what was going on. In his posts, he also took the time to criticize those who took destructive actions during the protests. In one, in particular, he states, “One question to MY PEOPLE: What are we changing...Really? Look at us. Destroying our own community, but continuing to spend money in theirs. Refusing education... revolving in the same cycle of ignorance instead of evolving out of it. I must admit that I TOO am disgusted with America's treatment. I TOO demand change. But Goddddaaaaamn man.... Look at us!!!!!” (MTV) to help illustrate his anger and at the same time admitting he himself has not been the best example.


Just as Loren Kajikawa talked about the role “Hamilton” can make an impact on our society by saying, “Despite its limitations — or maybe because of them — ‘Hamilton’ should inspire fans to help America work better for all. I’m not sure that a musical will ever be able to single-handedly combat poverty or institutionalized racism…” (Register-Guard), so too can the lyrics of T.I.’s “New American Anthem”. Miranda’s “Hamilton” and T.I.’s “New American Anthem” both showcase the need to improve areas such as poverty and systemic racial issues, and they are both examples of people using the arts to portray that need.


Under African Skies


In 1985 Paul Simon, an American songwriter, traveled to South Africa to produce a record that included South African musicians. The issue, this took place in the middle of a cultural boycott placed on South Africa by the United Nations in efforts to help fight apartheid, Therefore, a huge controversy arose from this project. Paul Simon and his fellow South African musician counterparts fell under criticism and threats due to the belief that Paul's record was a negative influence on the South African movement at the time. Within this conversation, the topic of cultural appropriation, and even cultural theft, constantly came up within the critics of the project.

Do you think that Graceland was a case of cultural appropriation/theft by Paul Simon?

Best of PaulSimon: https://goo.gl/j3WY2Z Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/XFhtQp "Music video by Paul Simon performing ""Under African Skies"" Trailer. (C) 2012 Sony Music Entertainment"
Paul Simon's official audio for 'Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes'. Click to listen to Paul Simon on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/PaulSimonSpotify?IQid=PaulSDSS As featured on The Essential Paul Simon.
Best of PaulSimon: https://goo.gl/j3WY2Z Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/XFhtQp Music video by Paul Simon performing Paul Simon: The Story of Graceland. (C) 2012 Sony Music Entertainment

Balinese Gamelan and Its Affect On Colin McPhee


The Balinese Gamelan is a traditional orchestra that used to play for the royal courts within Bali. The gamelan has a unique style, and can often be picked out fairly easy from a playlist. Colin McPhee was a composer from a Canadian-American background and was highly influenced by this style of music, during his almost decade stay within Bali. From this influence, McPhee composed several orchestras that helped exposed gamelan to the Western world.

What is the oldest Gamelan emsamble?

Balinese Gamelan performance in Ubud Palace, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, January 2012 The performance lasted about 80 minutes and included an interpretive dance illustrating the Hindu story of Ramayana (not shown in this video).
The Gamelan Music Of Bali (World Music Library) [Full Album] Tracklist / Lista de temas: 00:00:00 -- [1] gamelan gong kebyar: Paksi Ngelayang 00:12:39 -- [2] gamelan semar pegulingan: Gambangan 00:18:40 -- [3] gamelan semar pegulingan: Liar amas 00:26:56 -- [4] gamelan gong gede: Tabuh Telu 00:37:05 -- [5] gender wayang: Sekar Ginotan 00:45:43 -- [6] gamelan selonding: Lente 00:51:18 -- [7] gamelan beganjur: Gilak Recorded November and December, 1990 in Bali (Indonesia)
The work of the Canadian born composer/musicologist Colin McPhee - such as Tabuh-tabuhan (meaning toccata) for 2 pianos & orchestra - has been greatly influenced by the music of Bali, on which island he stayed from 1931 to 1938.
Balinese Ceremonial Music, arranged for two pianos I. Pemoengkah II. Gambangan III. Taboeh teloe This is a work for two pianos based on traditional Balinese gamelan music by Canadian composer Colin McPhee (1900-1964), the first Western composer to conduct serious ethnomusicological studies of the music of Bali in Indonesia.

The Mariachi Experience

In today's reading, we were exposed to the genre of music called Mariachi, which has its origins in 19th century Mexico. Mariachi has been a style of music that I have been exposed to my entire life, mainly from it blaring out of passing cars while growing up in California. It has been interesting reading about the history of Mariachi and how it has expanded over the years. The perfect example of the expansion of Mariachi is the Mariachi Entertainment System. Below I have placed a youtube video of my favorite video of theirs, a video that encapsulates the style of Mariachi Music I have been used to hearing while growing up, as well as an interesting use of Mariachi by DNCE. What is your favorite video put out by the Mariachi Entertainment System?

The Royal Hawaiian Theater


The Royal Hawaiian Theater is a perfect example of music and dance being used in entertainment yet political fashion. The stage was used by Hawaiian Royalty to express concerns they were facing from outside influences, mainly from the United States, as well as to express who they mostly aligned themselves with, mainly the United Kingdom. The theater was also used to preserve, highlight, and enhance the use and performance of Hula, which had been banned by the Christian church in Hawai'i, as well as spread the knowledge of it to the mainland of the United States.

Have you ever been exposed to Hawaiian music/culture before? If so, do you have a favorite Hawaiian band or artist?

My Connecticut Soundscape Experience

The wood creaks as I sit on an old bench tucked away on the side of a courtyard. As I close my eyes, I can hear the wind gently playing amongst the trees, whistling a soft constant tune. I can hear it dance across the ground, continuously kicking up dried leaves just to hear them scrape across the pavement. All the while the humming of passing cars plays in the distance, the often loudening purr as their engines accelerate to keep them to their desired destination, and the repetitive thud as their tires make contact with rough asphalt. Several birds sing their songs, softly and sparingly as if not wanting to disturb my experience. Then, out of nowhere, the screaming sound of an ambulance's siren pierces through relative silence. Its screams getting louder and louder, and then suddenly fading as it races down the street to the nearby hospital. The moments after the noise of the siren ceased, were awkwardly quiet. The birds had fled, the breeze had died, and there was a pause in the passing of traffic. The silence was broken by the laughter of children, as they rounded the corner of the nearby apartment complex. Laughing as they recapped the experiences they made at school that day. Yet they too began to fade, slowly the chatter and laughter died down as they each trailed off one by one saying their goodbyes as they reached the respective homes. The screen doors crashed behind them as they each rushed inside... Who knew, the High Rise Courtyard could be such a relatively peaceful place.


I pulled up near a dock that fell along the Connecticut River about 5 to 10 minutes North of campus. I had been here before, using it as a place to clear my head. From my memory, the area consisted of the sounds of nature: the ripples of the river gently crashing against the shore, the sound of seagulls spread out over the docks, and the quacking of ducks as the floated by.

However, that was not the case today. Instead, the air was polluted with the sound of cars racing home in anticipation of the weekend, the clanging of metal and plastic as canopies were being set up, and the thud of crates being dropped to the ground. This was a blessing and a cruse. The spot I initially planned on using as my quiet soundscape, turned into quite a show. Unbeknownst to me, the area is used as a local farmers market every Friday afternoon, and instead of tuning into nature I was afforded to the sounds of what mankind had reaped from nature.

The Despacito Controversy: Cultural Theft and Artistic Inspiration


Since its initial release in April of 2017, the remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's song Despacito to include Justin Beiber has erupted in controversy. Many have labeled Justin Beiber as a cultural theft, for "hijacking" the up incoming original single released by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee in January of 2017. Before we go any further I just wanted to provide a video of both versions, just in case you haven't heard either version.

Personally, my only issue with this topic is the misrepresentation by the media and certain people within the U.S. In the official video above the correct is given by stating that the song is Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's while featuring Justin Beiber. Unfortunately, the credit is too often miscredited with the song belonging to Justin Beiber and featuring Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.

According to Petra Rivera-Rideau, "One of the frustrating things about the media coverage of the remix is that there’s a lot of emphasis on Bieber. This is Fonsi’s ninth studio album—Bieber definitely did not discover him, but a lot of the English-language media I’ve seen presents it that way" (Atlantic) while discussing some of the negative impacts Justin Beiber has had on the song. However, you can't place this blame on Justin himself. He doesn't have complete control on how the media represents the situation.

The Institute Podcast Review

I think this reading/podcast relates to our course because it provides practical examples of how vocabulary and topics we have discussed in class are used. "Next Level" in itself is considered a Cultural Diplomacy and sponsored by the State Department to send teams around the world to promote social issues through music, yet at the same time promoting American politics and culture. It was interesting when Professor Katz said, "we are not exporting culture," because they are interacting with those who already like and are influenced by hip-hop. To me, it seems that even though it may be his intent, it is hard to exclude the fact that Americans are interacting with people around the world to help improve relations or ideas they have about America through the work that is done.

Who is your favorite underground hip-hop artist, and what attracts you to that individual?

If you happen to not be apart of the course and would like to listen to the podcast I am referring to, please use the link below: