News / Africa

    Free Music Lessons for Houston's Young ... and maybe Africa

    Part 3 of a weekly series on Africa's Rising Stars

    Garrin Chillis (above) and a friend from Ghana, Martin Kabutey Adjovu, give Houston children a love of music and school. (Courtesy Garrin Chillis)
    Garrin Chillis (above) and a friend from Ghana, Martin Kabutey Adjovu, give Houston children a love of music and school. (Courtesy Garrin Chillis)
    Kwame Ofori
    Two friends in Texas have come together to build the music scene in Houston, Texas. Garrin Chillis and Martin Kabutey Adjovu want to strengthen the musical skills of their young students. They believe building the music skills of neighborhood young people will guarantee their educational and social growth through the community music program the two young men have developed.
     
    The program they have started for the youth of the Harris County acts as an after-school program where young people in the community can attend and keep themselves occupied while developing their talent. These lessons sometimes take place in local churches or at the youths’ own homes.
     
    Chillis is their teacher and a local rhythm and blues recording artist. He is known professionally as “G chillz.”
     
    Music is a way to keep kids in school

    “To put your kids through music programs like this in an after-school program like this is a lot of money,” said Martin, a friend of G chillz, the performer’s manager and his partner in the project that offers free music lessons to youth in the community. “G chillz having the love for kids and having the love for music decided to do something to help the young ones coming up.”
     
    Kwame Ofori talks to the partners in Houston music education
    Kwame Ofori talks to the partners in Houston music educationi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    G-chillz also speaks of how the program ultimately keeps the young participants out of trouble and focused in school. He does this through a strategy he employs which incorporates the steady growth and maintenance of good grades. This determines the young participant’s continued enrollment in the program.
     
    On the issue of receiving support from the community and actually showing up for some of the shows that exhibit the young talent, G chillz emphasizes that indeed there is support for the program from the community. The community attends his stage appearances to promote his music as a sign of apprectaion for teaching their children. He believes that as he grows as an artist, the community music program will grow with him.
     
    One of the challenges faced with such programs, they agreed, is the fact that many parents would prefer their kids get “real jobs” and become doctors or lawyers. Parents often see the arts or specifically music as a dead-end career.  
     
    G chillz said, “That is why it’s very difficult for some kids to truly shine. Because you are not going to get a parent who is as dependable and so driven for that child to make it.
     
    “So I feel, like we should have more agencies out there - or community-based agencies - to help the community out”, said G Chillz. He recounted that his mother was supportive enough to put him through San Jacinto College to study music.
     
    Martin said he wants to take the program to Ghana where he is originally from - and all over Africa - to help develop the music terrain among the youth in Africa. He vowed to make that a reality.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora