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Route to Root — The Birth of Modern Music

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We sat down with Adekunle Olorundare (Kunle), a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter and Centennial Arts Management student to discuss cultural collaboration and his thoughts on Arts Ahead 2024! 

At this year’s symposium, Kunle will be working alongside Kobèna Acquaah-Harrison for our Interactive Music Workshop: Route to Root — The Birth of Modern Music.

Learn more about Kunle, Kobèna, and the workshop.

Tell us about your workshop with Kobèna Acquaah-Harrison, Route to Root — The Birth of Modern Music’. 

Route to Root’ has to do with the movement of music from Africa, all the way through slavery, traveling, commerce. Slavery was not the only medium at which music or arts traveled back in the day. It traveled with commerce, it traveled with religion, it traveled with everything. So we are tracing it back to where we felt it started, and bringing it to North Americans to show how it evolved over time.

What impact has cultural collaboration had on your work as an artist?

Cultural collaboration has definitely influenced my personality, my character and identity. I believe in the saying “step out of your father’s house, and you shall notice that your father’s house is just like a kitchen in someone else’s mansion.” Meaning there’s a world beyond what you know, what you grew up to understand, and your background. The more you absorb other people’s perspective, it shapes our art. For me personally, it’s done so much for me in that regard. I believe in an embodiment of multiple influences of different art and different cultures. That’s what I would love to keep pushing. I call it “music with no boundaries”.

What are you most looking forward to with this workshop? 

What I’m looking forward to with this workshop is that it’s a medium to showcase a different type of storytelling, an interactive storytelling showing where things started and originated from. How it traveled over time. It’s an opportunity to showcase this to emerging leaders and existing ones who’ve been running and championing this industry for a while. I’m looking forward to meeting them. I’m looking forward to discussing this workshop and also getting them involved. We have some interesting things packed for this particular one. 

What can attendees expect from your interactive workshop with Kobèna

It’s storytelling, you expect to be part of the storytelling. It’s interactive storytelling. It’s not a case of us telling the story while they are just listening, they are actually part of the story as well. We’re going to be carrying them along. 

As an Arts Management student who is on our Web Team, what has been your favourite aspect of organizing Arts Ahead 2024? 

Working with my team head Danilo, we laugh through everything. It’s just so easy to work with him. The wealth of knowledge that he has has been really interesting. It’s been very rewarding and fulfilling on the organizational side as it puts me on a path of discipline. Things need to get done by a certain time, which as artists you could fall into your left brain sometimes and don’t want to be organized for whatever reason. This has been a very rewarding task. I’m happy with the knowledge that I’ve been able to get from it. 

‘Interweaving Threads: Cultural Collaboration in the Arts’ takes place on February 21, 2024.

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