Since 2002, Blur frontman and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn has frequently traveled to the West African country of Mali for charitable work and to collaborate with local musicians. In the last decade or so, Albarn has released albums with various local artists and 2 additional albums of his collaborations with Africa Express. When Albarn returned earlier this month to perform at the Festival Acoustik Bamako, he was bestowed the title of “local king” and shown a classroom named after him at a local school focused on dance and music. Albarn reacted to the honors humbly, saying “the country’s music is an inspiration to me…That’s where my heart is, so my heart is here.” Next on Albarn’s agenda: getting out that new Gorillaz record.
Good deeds continue to spread from the music industry. Spotify announced yesterday that once SXSW is over large parts of the House will be donated and relocated to Kealing Middle School on Austin’s East Side. Kealing offers a magnet program for the city’s students who thrive in a more academically rigorous environment. The parts of Spotify House to be transferred to Kealing will be used to remodel a classroom into a recording and production studio for the school’s fine arts department.
At this point, almost every day between now and SXSW is loaded with announcements. Recent updates to the schedule include R&B veteran Kelly Rowland. The Destiny’s Child member will be interviewed about her career as a solo artist and a member of the 90s R&B supergroup, as well as her upcoming BET show Finding Destiny, a reality series with Rowland searching the country for the next female supergroup. The interview takes places at the Austin Convention Center on March 19th.
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