This week, ISGR was visited by the Portuguese rap artist Francisco ”Pako” Almeida. He did three rap workshops with students from grade 9, within the school’s Creative School project, supported by the National Arts Council.
In the beginning of the rap workshops, Pako and all students were sitting in a circle presenting themselves and their favorite artists, talking a bit about those. Then Pako was talking about rap as a music style, and that it can vary a lot. The students got to watch and listen to a film presenting some different styles of rap.
Pako told the students that they could rap about anything, and the students started to write rap lyrics to the background sound of instrumental rap. They got coached in their writing. Some of the students changed their lyrics, during the writing process or later on when they practiced their raps to beats. For exampel they could change the lyrics so that it would be easier to talk rhythmically, make a question really sound like a question and more.
When it was time to present, Pako announced that in the workshop, there were poets, rappers, spoken word poets, singers and more. Now he wanted everybody to try the mic. Some students preferred sitting at their places while performing. Some were standing up, and some preferred going behind a book shelf to present their rap, so that nobody would watch them, but everybody could still hear their rap.
Most of the students preferred rapping to beats, but some also wanted it to be quiet when saying their spoken words. Then they got feedback from Pako. Pako asked the students what the hardest part was, and what they thought went wrong, because of course, the students could always get better at rapping.
Pako had several pep talks with the students, on how important it is within art, to allow yourself to make mistakes. That art actually builds upon mistakes. He asked the students what they were afraid of when it comes to performing, if it was presenting something that was not ready or meeting an audience. Some students said that they were a bit afraid of performing through a for them new way of expression.
The presentation was a hip hop cipher. All students took turn to rap to the same beats going on in the background. Last but not least there was also a song performance. Again the students got feedback, and Pako talked a bit about overcoming your fears, as a way of growing, because nobody is perfect. It is ok to make mistakes. He was also talking about the hardest part of rap, to find your own voice. There was also a Question and Answer session with Pako in the end of the day.