American rapper Kellee Maize is all set to perform in Basantapur at the end of this week. Opening for her will be a superb lineup of musicians. But, behind all the entertainment, is a worthy mission.
The influx of foreign musicians performing in Nepal in the past few years is well recorded. While 2013 was a treat for music enthusiasts who got to witness a fair number of international artists, 2014 has already commenced with a pleasant opener. Kellee Maize, an American musician who has also been voted the number one female rapper in the world, is here to headline a series of concerts titled ‘We’re Committed’. What’s more interesting is that this is entirely for a noble cause.
Kellee Maize is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter with four albums under her belt. Following a musical direction since early childhood, she released her debut album ‘Age of Feminine’ in 2007. As of 2011, her YouTube videos have amassed over four million views. She has more than 180,000 Twitter and Facebook fans and her albums have been downloaded over 400,000 times. She has also been voted in Pittsburgh City Paper’s ‘Top 3 Best Hip Hop Performers’ three years in a row, from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, Maize was nominated for ‘Best Female Artist’ at the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards.
The ‘We’re Committed’ series contains three events. With two shows at Capital Grill (3 January) and Hotel Radisson (4 January) already completed, the final concert is set to take place at Basantapur Durbar Square on 11 January, entrance for which shall be free. Besides Kellee Maize, the other artists in the lineup are Feyago, a rap artist from India; Kutumba, our very own folk ensemble; and Joint Family Internationale, the hugely sought after reggae outfit. All these artists are playing free of charge.
The event is a collaboration between Capital Grill and COMMITTED (Community Members Interested). With the number of Nepalis going abroad to work averaging 2,000 daily, a vast number of them face hardships in the workplace and beyond. Many dead bodies are returned to Nepal annually. “The primary goal of this concert series is to support the education of children of Nepali migrant workers who have died abroad,” says Jayjeev Hada, Founder and Executive Director of COMMITTED. This is a part of the ‘Education My Right’ campaign initiated by the organization. While the finale will be free, the first two events were not, their ticket sales contributing to the fund.
“I’m impressed with this community effort. In the last few years, I have learnt so much about the world, and music has been one of my ways of dealing with things,” said Kellee in a press meet held prior to the shows. “We are entering a new stage of evolution in human consciousness. We are all made of the same energy and, therefore, are all one. Music and art will usher in the peaceful revolution we need from our current fear-stricken society.”
According to Vivek Sherchan, Director of Capital Grill and Coordinator of the series, the artist was already working on the labor rights movement when she contacted him. “We then planned all of this,” he said.
The final concert of the series will be held at Basantapur Durbar Square on 11 January. The event will start at 4:00 pm and is expected to run till 7:30 pm. Speaking at the event will be Dorje Gurung, a Chemistry teacher who was persecuted in Qatar after allegedly “insulting” Islam while having a conversation with a student. He is currently involved with COMMITTED as Education Programme Director. This will be an entertainment-based awareness programme, and with one of the most sought-after female rappers in town, you would not want to miss this lively occasion.