Many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But one day you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.
-Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Hear Be Dragons is a community-based education and creative arts initiative that brings people together to map the sonic landscape of their lives. This unique experiential education project investigates the ways in which sound and the urban environment influence our quality of life, our perception of history and memory, and our notions of identity, place and time.
The title Hear Be Dragons plays on the medieval saying “here be dragons,” which denoted unchartered territories – often believed to be the home of dragons or other mysterious phenomena – on maps. Hear Be Dragons aims to awaken its participants auditory senses and give them the tools and language to capture and document the unexplored territory of sound, while equipping them with a basic understanding of sound recording and editing technology.
The project facilitation team, made up of representatives from South Africa and the United States, assists participants in exploring various methods of sound production, as well as beat and music making using ‘found sounds,’ and working with these to create sound compositions and audio documentaries. Participants also explore various methodologies to understand the relationship between sound and the city, covering a range of theoretical and practical exercises to foster a broader sense of sonic and urban awareness.
Hear Be Dragons reconnects individuals with their immediate urban environments through the medium of sound, using familiar technology in the form of smart phones. Through the workshop series and an exchange program in the form of 'sonic pen-pals,' Hear Be Dragons created a platform for expression and the investigation of issues affecting urban environments and their inhabitants. A facilitated exchange and web platform allows participants of the project to share their common experience of urban life and gain a greater understanding of one another.
Kyla-Rose Smith is best know as the violinist and backing singer with Freshlyground, South Africa's premier Afropop band. She has toured extensively inside and beyond South Africa with Freshlyground, who have garnered many awards including seven South African Music Awards (SAMA) awards, most recently the 2013 award for Group of the Year, an MTV Europe Award, and four METRO awards. Kyla was also a recipient of the Glamour Woman of the Year Award 2011.
As a member of South Africa's top touring band Kyla has developed a keen interest in the art of performance and how musicians interact with their audience through the medium of sound and music, while bridging cultural divides.
In addition to her career as a violinist, Kyla is also an emerging multi-media artist. Her current projects engage with aural and visual dimensions of contemporary society. Kyla has also curated and produced a variety of contemporary artistic pieces from South Africa and beyond. She co-produced a multi-media performance for Cape Town’s recent TEDx conference and has curated performances across a range of genres for artistic events around South Africa.
In 2014, Kyla was selected as a OneBeat Fellow to collaborate for one month with artists from around the world. OneBeat is an incubator for music-based social entrepreneurship, supported by the US State Department, where innovative musicians from around the world launch collaborative projects designed to make a positive impact on local and global communities.
Hannah Loewenthal grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and originally studied design and worked as an architectural glass artist in the UK. In 2002 whilst in London, Hannah discovered dance and on returning to Cape Town in 2004, she went on to train and work with Remix Dance Company for two years, performing as well as developing many of the schools' programmes, including design aspects of Remix performance works, contributing to the development of integrated movement work in Africa.
In 2008 Hannah completed her 5Rhythms™ Teacher training with Gabrielle Roth. Hannah then went on to run the education programme at Cape Africa Platform as well as working closely with the acclaimed South African dancer and choreographer Mamela Nyanza as assistant director and design assistant, focusing on the deconstruction of female identity.
Subesquently Hannah has co-founded an ongoing collaborative exchange South Africa/Norway platform,The Body Draws Circles with Hege Gabrielsen. She continues to work on a number of projects in South Africa with women & youth, through her organisation Culture Now, including Young Womens' Group Khayelitsha with Xoli Fuyani, mentored by Melissa Michaels; Shifting the Narrative (Scalabrini Womens' Platform) with Anne- Marie Hanna and GardenProject’ with Jonathan Freemantle. Hannah considers her core interest, research and work as an investigation into bringing unlooked at and unnoticed moments of human interaction into focus, exploring meeting places between pedagogy and performance, dance, design & embodied practice as vital for social innovation.
She is based in Cape Town where she continues to teach ongoing 5Rhythms™ classes & workshops.
Found Sound Nation (FSN) is a collective of musicians and artists who leverage the unique power of creative sound-making to help build strong, just, healthy communities. FSN partners with local youth, social organizations, music festivals, and artists across all disciplines to engage people from all walks of life in our interactive process of collaborative music, audio, and video production, in order to give voice to underrepresented communities, unlock the creative potential of youth, and bridge cultural and political divides. Found Sound Nation is part of the new music organization Bang on a Can, founded in 1987 by composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe.
We believe that the art of listening extends far beyond the practice of making music — it is one of the major ways we can become aware of the beauty, tragedy, and hidden potential present in our neighborhoods, institutions and families. Our work emphasizes a mobile, accessible, collaborative way of recording and producing professional quality music, a technique developed by combining the innovative art music traditions of musique concréte, hip hop, audio-journalism, and contemporary composition. Our method is highly adaptable to different environments, based on finding the unique sounds and resonances of each space, drawing upon the talents of musicians in the local scene, and examining issues most relevant to each community.
We envision Found Sound Nation as an international round table of musicians, educators, organizers and artists. In order to better share the stories and media that emerge from this diversity of work, we are launching an FSN-curated ‘blogozine’ to share the projects that FSN does around the world, and to highlight the work of our partners, mentors, and team members. We hope this forum will enliven a global conversation about how creative collaboration in music can address issues we face locally and collectively, while making the world an ever funkier and more harmonious place.
Founded by Christopher Marianetti and Jeremy Thal in 2007, FSN began with one classroom-based studio in a failing school in the Bronx, and we have expanded our scope include a wide range of projects including: Producing the OneBeat international exchange with the Department of State, Partnering with music festivals in Zimbabwe, Switzerland, NYC and Maine; Remixing a mediation lesson in India; Developing film scoring curriculum in Haiti; Documenting youth music movements in Indonesia; Amplifying the work of youth activists in New Orleans, and re-mixing the unique magic of the Play Me I’m Yours piano project New York, facilitating music composition/production workshops with incarcerated youth in the Bronx and Brooklyn, and more.