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By ll_aam | 04/12/2022
AMERI’KANA is a cultural music festival in Kansas City created through the cumulative efforts of Latin GRAMMY-nominated band Making Movies, Yonas Media and nonprofit organization , Art as Mentorship. It explores the BIPOC heroes of American music past and present through AMERI’KANA TV, multimedia programs and student workshops, culminating in a music and arts festival, Celebrate AMERI’KANA 2022.
The project evolved organically from the efforts of the members of Making Movies, whose Black, indigenous, immigrant and Latino backgrounds uniquely position them to create this authentically diverse musical celebration.
Celebrate AMERI’KANA music and arts festival brings together national, local and youth performers in a celebration of the BIPOC heroes of American music. This all-day, family-friendly event features a free block party during the day and a ticketed evening concert at CrossroadsKC featuring a diverse lineup of nationally-renowned acts.
The block party showcases youth performers, street performers, food trucks and a makers-fair showcasing diverse artists. The ticketed concert in the evening will feature legendary national acts, with the official lineup announced in Spring of 2022. During the height of the pandemic, a diverse array of artists including GRAMMY Winners Los Lobos, Cedric Burnside, Terrance Simien and Kansas City acts Making Movies and Kevin Morby participated in virtual AMERI’KANA programming and in the subsequent AMERI’KANA TV documentary on PBS.
What makes AMERI’KANA so important?
“AMERI’KANA is our living love letter to the Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and Latino heroes of American music We want kids like us to know that they come from heroes.,” says Enrique Chi, founder of Art as Mentorship and lead singer of Making Movies.
AMERI’KANA is a movement of advocacy for musical artists. This movement features and honors artists, while inviting viewers, performers and students to reassess their own sense of identity through music history. A play on the word “Americana,” AMERI’KANA focuses on the multiple heritages, languages and cultures that created and shaped American musical art forms. AMERI’KANA is a step toward healing the rifts that divide us, reminding us of our common identity and history. It tells the American music origin story in a much richer way than we’ve been taught, reminding us of all that music unites, and that the healing power of music endures.
We live the belief that the power of music can be a guide to our own identity and we strive to inspire others to use music as a doorway to the journey inward.
We envision music festivals, productions and ceremonies with authentic diversity, where there is no “culture stage” and “box checking” diversity. We are actively working to break the pattern of categorizing musicians based on their heritage, race or gender. We envision a future in which musical artists are honored for their talent and contribution to excellence in creating the AMERI’KANA music that connects us all.
We are driven by the belief that the more we discover about these universal musical threads, the closer we get to understanding the interconnectedness of the human race.
We believe that music addresses deeply urgent questions, seemingly individual emergencies of the soul. We instinctively turn to music during turbulent times, with a desperate longing to understand our circumstances and emotional responses beyond our mental grasp, beyond language.
We believe that the more personal the musical expression, the more universal it becomes. When we hear the personal musical stories of musicians from entirely different circumstances than our own, we are surprised to recognize the same emergency of the soul. We value music for its power to help us reach beyond ourselves and come to understand that we are living in a shared world.
Celebrate AMERI’KANA supports Art as Mentorship, the Kansas City nonprofit organization founded by Enrique Chi of Making Movies, that empowers young artists to write their own success stories. Throughout the festival, talented young artists from Art as Mentorship programming perform alongside accomplished artists, while strengthening their skills and building connections within the community. High profile artists performing in the festival are encouraged to participate in educational outreach through the nonprofit organization, Art as Mentorship.
AMERI’KANA is building a national network of partners to share the American music story in educational institutions, and to the public through television and radio and through national music-centric organizations.
Art As Mentorship is working with the University of California, Davis to offer the program in its curriculum and, locally, with the Shawnee Mission School District in Johnson County, Kansas and Liberty Academy in Liberty, Missouri.
Art as Mentorship is working with The Bridge to create an hour-long program that features content from AMERI’KANA.
The Philadelphia Folk Festival
Folk Alliance International
The Woody Guthrie Center
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Our AMERI’KANA family-friendly block party is a free event, followed by a ticketed concert featuring Making Movies, The Greeting Committee, and Art as Mentorship students.
The best way to support Art As Mentorships in our endeavor to bring resources, opportunity, and programs to children in underprivileged areas is to donate. Donations are never required, but always appreciated and put to good use. Any amount can make a difference. All the money donated to Art As Mentorship goes directly back to the students and young musicians enrolled in our music camps.
We are always looking for volunteers to help us in serving the community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Art As Mentorship is a non-profit operating in Kansas City, which runs not only the Rebel Song Academy, Ignition Camp, and many other virtual programs such as RSA Live. All our programs exist purely thanks to the donations of amazing people and businesses in the Kansas City area. Any donations made to Art As Mentorship go directly back to providing for the kids in the programs– improving the spaces, equipment, food, and more!
AMERI’KANA is the perfect place to get engaged with Art as Mentorship and learn the history behind American music. If you are interested in learning more about our camps and want to sign up for the best music camp for kids in Kansas City? Sign up online or contact us by emailing email@example.com! We’ll see you this summer!
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Sign up for the Ignition Camp
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