Drop the Beat
317 Main Community Center and PPL Teen are joining forces to bring you Drop the Beat, a digital-music creation series for teens at Portland Public Library. Teens are invited to sign-up or drop-in for weekly sessions in November and December. All sessions will be facilitated by local musician and teaching artist Kafari. Whether you’re a first-time composer, budding beatmaker, established producer, or someone who just wants to experiment, we know anyone who drops in on our sessions will feel welcome to explore their creative expression.
About 317 Main:
317 Main Community Music Center brings the power of music to people of all ages and abilities from across southern and mid-coast Maine. 317 Main was founded in 2004 on the idea that music can engage, vitalize, and strengthen human connections in our communities. At our studios and at partner locations in southern Maine, we provide music education for more than 500 people per week through one-on-one music lessons, group classes, jam sessions, ensembles, workshops, and summer camps. Our Community Partnership Program brings music to an even larger population of all ages who otherwise would not have access. We rely on the generosity of our donors to fill the gap between our tuition and the real cost of the 317 Main experience.
About Our Teaching Artist:
‘Kafari’ is the alias of Portland, Maine based classical pianist, old-time percussionist, ambient beatmaker, sound healer, and teaching artist Ahmad Muhammad. Kafari performs with an electric piano, sp404 beat sampler, and two pairs of rhythm bones – an archaic percussion instrument popularized in America through blackface minstrelsy which he frequently distributes to and teaches his audiences. His work as a community artist in Portland extends from Preble Street Teen Center where he has been a weekly piano teacher for over three years, to the Center for Grieving Children, where he and banjoist Jake Hoffman recently finished a series of workshops in which elementary students learned the bones, the banjo, investigated these instruments’ histories and talked about culture, cultural exchange and cultural appropriation. Kafari’s most recent release ‘Beholding’ consists of 14 serene piano meditations which the pianist described as a “self-care tool for coping with the bitter Maine winter.” His 2016 release ‘Knockturnes’ is a dream-like, hypnotic tribute to the Bill Evans trio, each song an experimental re-sampling of a different loop taken from the legendary jazz group. In Spring 2019, Kafari made his film scoring debut in ‘Mack Wrestles,’ which follows Mack Beggs, a young transgender athlete and activist from Texas. The documentary, which premiered at SXSW, features an original electronic score from Kafari.