During OneBeat 2012, Senegalese MC Paul Pissety Sagna (aka P.P.S.) was deeply inspired by his experience visiting Words, Beats & Life (WBL), a OneBeat tour partner organization based in Washington DC that is dedicated to transforming individual lives and communities through hip hop. As P.P.S. describes it, his hometown of Rufisque, Senegal has a very strong musician scene, but lacked a recording studio and outlets for training youth in music production. P.P.S. quickly connected with the WBL mission of education through hip hop. He developed his idea for Sunu Kaddu, a Rufisque-based recording studio and youth center, then and there while working with WBL in Washington DC.
P.P.S. describes Sunu Kaddu as an "arts paradise for the community, dedicated to creation and education." Along with his team of dedicated administrators, his vision is for Sunu Kaddu to be a premiere studio for Rufisque-based artists, as well as a youth education center dedicated to transforming lives through hip hop and the arts. In spring 2013, FSN joined P.P.S. in Rufisque for the very first Sunu Kaddu workshop. Today, Sunu Kaddu is a respected recording destination for musicians in Senegal, and a hub for youth arts programming in Rufisque. The first album to come out of the studio, produced by P.P.S. and original Sunu Kaddu workshop participant Father Babs, was awarded Best Album of the Year in Senegal in 2015.
P.P.S. is an extraordinarily beloved artist in Rufisque. He is often stopped in the streets for handshakes or autographs, and he cares passionately about the well-being of his town (he even told us one evening that he thinks about becoming mayor one day). What is most inspiring is how much he is motivated by a sense of community -- a belief that what is truly important, more than any product or artistic ambition, is to create a space, and an opportunity, for people to come together, create together, learn, talk, laugh, share ideas, and build relationships.
"OneBeat inspired me to make something consistent here in Rufisque -- a youth center. To use music for education. To use hip hop -- like graffiti and dancing -- for education,” says PPS. “When we say Sunu Kaddu, it’s a family first. The most important thing, before making music, before improving our music production skills, is to bring everyone together. To build community."
Hip hop for education
Location: Rufisque, Senegal & Dakar, Senegal
Length: 3 week intensive
Partners: Sunu Kaddu, OneBeat, Khemistry