From breakdancing outside Fuse Box Pinball on College Square and rap battles at the Skate-Inn to the main stage at AthFest and plaques on the Music Walk of Fame, Athens hip-hop has been on the rise amazing over the decades in a city where indie rock has historically been disproportionately celebrated.
The upcoming Athens Hip Hop Harmonic concert, which will feature original works created by local hip-hop, poetry and R&B artists in collaboration with composers and musicians from the University of Georgia, represents a cultural milestone on the Athens music scene.
Pictures:First performance of Athens Hip-Hop Harmonic (Oct 2021)
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The event will take place on October 20 at the UGA Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Longtime Athens hip-hop artist Cassie Chantel told the Banner-Herald that working with the orchestra was an encouraging experience.
“Over the past year, I’ve felt very close to my ancestors and the artists of the past, especially Nina Simone and Ray Charles,” Chantel said. “In their day, playing with an orchestra was the thing to do. Right now, to be able to kind of resurrect that for a black musician, for a rapper, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Hip Hop Harmonic concert lineup
- ishues with UGA Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano and African-American Studies James Weidman and Jazz Combo
- Cassie Chantel and UGA saxophonist Julien Berger with the African American Choral Ensemble
- Celeste Ngeve with UGA cellist Ayako Pederson-Takeda and the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
- condemn Julie with Hugh Hodgson School of Music Assistant Professor of Commercial Music and Media Tom Hiel and Wind Symphony
Launched in August 2021 as part of a multi-year collaboration between the Athens hip-hop community and the UGA Hodgson School of Music, Hip Hop Harmonic is supported by the UGA Arts Lab under the Willson Center and Ideas for Creative Exploration. The project held its first public performance in October 2021 at Creature Comforts.
Montu Miller, CEO of ATHfactor-Liberty Entertainment and Athens Hip-Hop Ambassador, will host the show. Miller and UGA saxophone teacher Connie Frigo are co-directors of Athens Hip-Hop Harmonic.
This will be the second residency for Camilla Sims, who performs R&B music under the name Convict Julie and composed with UGA’s Contemporary Chamber Ensemble in collaboration with Dr. Brandon Quarels in April. Sims told the Banner-Herald that being part of Hip-Hop Harmonic honed her skills as a musician.
“I’m a huge Quincy Jones fan and my goal has always been to put together a huge piece like the one I play and wrote with Tom Hiel,” Sims said. “Showing all my musical sides as an artist, songwriter and composer, is something that I hope to translate to the public. I owe a lot of thanks to Dr Connie Frigo, Tom Hiel, Dr Jaclyn Hartenberger and all the musicians participating in the execution of this vision.”
The UGA Center for the Performing Arts is located at 230 River Rd. and parking is free at the surface lots and in the parking lot next to the Performing Arts Center. For more details, contact Connie Frigo at [email protected]