Arts

Akil the Eclectic

It is not unusual for talented people to perform at Andover. It is, however, unusual for a speaker to make the student body reevaluate our occasionally narrow standards. Akil Dasan was one of those speakers. His performance in Ryley last Saturday night was one event for Black Arts weekend, a series of concerts and events sponsored by Af-Lat-Am. When Dasan, a Philly native, took the stage, buried under an enormous grey sweatshirt, the audience was unsure of what they were in for. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited because I knew he had to be good to be on the show [Missy Elliot’s Road to Stardom],” said Nkem Oghedo ’08. She continued, “I met him while setting up for the dance, and he seemed really genuine- talking to students and remembering peoples’ names.” For his first song Dasan remained on the Ryley Room stage. However, he jumped down to the dance floor soon after to perform amongst students. “I thought [his enthusiasm] was great. He really connected with the audience,” added Oghedo. Within minutes Dasan had won the respect of the crowd, impressing the audience with his eclectic blend of genres and styles. A portion of his show contained his original songs. Dasan also freestyled about everything from clothes to Pepsi bottles and cell phones. “He was really playful with the crowd.” said Adriana Flores ’08. “He wasn’t tied to the mike at all. I really enjoyed his breakdancing, and his beatboxing was amazing.” “I try to figure out the vibe,” said Dasan, referring to his strategy with performances. “I think that Andover’s vibe was very ‘get hype’ and hip-hop,” he added. Dasan clearly showed that he is not an artist confined to a single style. He entertained the crowd with everything from club-banger tracks and meditational music to “Beat-Box Bach.” When asked whether he identifies himself as a rapper or a poet, he responded that the two forms are intrinsically intertwined. “Rap is poetry- it’s a rhythmic form of poetry.” Dasan’s main inspiration is simple: his love of music. While he does not listen to a lot of club music, he enjoys the classics by artists such as Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and Carole King. As for his message, he simply responded that he aims to make music that “people enjoy.” Dasan is coming out with a new CD, “Schizophonic,” named for his diverse styles. The CD will be released in late 2006. In a true display of Dasan’s talent, he managed to record the CD and write the tracks in a mere ten days. Dasan will also perform on a world tour this summer with the group Us Three. His songs are available on iTunes and CDbaby.com, and for more information about this rising artist, check out his website at www.akildasan.com. There is no doubt that Dasan connected with the audience at Andover, not only giving students an enjoyable and amazing performance, but also exposing them to a variety of styles. Flores ’08 said, “I really liked the blend of rapping and acoustic guitar. He was a really multi-talented, inspiring performer.” Oghedo added, “It was awesome that he could sing, dance, rap, and play the guitar. He should come back to perform [again]!”