Applebum in Rwanda - Nicola's Photo Diary

We recently announced our partnership with the incredible charity IndiGo volunteers. Being part of the Applebum family I had heard about co-founder Jordan and long standing AB friend, Tas'  experiences in Rwanda and Greece. I felt inspired to use some time off I was luckily given to volunteer somewhere I'd always wanted to go; Rwanda. I had heard of IndiGo through Tas and got straight in touch with her. Within a week I found the right volunteer program, booked my flight, got my jabs and arranged a two week visit to Urukundo Foundation and Learning Centre. All my thanks goes to the IndiGo team for such a quick turnaround. The following is a photo diary of my time at Urukundo detailing some of the stories behind these beautiful smiles. 

One thing I didn't expect was how green Rwanda is, every inch is cultivated to grow fruit and vegetables, in this case banana's and green beans. 

One thing I didn't expect was how green Rwanda is, every inch is cultivated to grow fruit and vegetables, in this case banana's and green beans. 

'Pull your ugliest face kids' - and so they did! Kinella, Kaboss and Rebecca (the three worst faces!) are all kids who live at Urukundo and the others all go to school Urukundo Learning Centre. This was my first day having only just met some of these kids and as soon as the camera came out I was Miss popular. They loved seeing how silly they looked on screen!

'Pull your ugliest face kids' - and so they did! Kinella, Kaboss and Rebecca (the three worst faces!) are all kids who live at Urukundo and the others all go to school Urukundo Learning Centre. This was my first day having only just met some of these kids and as soon as the camera came out I was Miss popular. They loved seeing how silly they looked on screen!

Little Claude, Agide, Levine and Sarah proudly showing off their pom poms.  I'd heard that the kids don't get to do much in the way of arts and crafts and seeing as wool is so light in weight I could take an abundance over and teach them how to make pom poms...

Little Claude, Agide, Levine and Sarah proudly showing off their pom poms. 

I'd heard that the kids don't get to do much in the way of arts and crafts and seeing as wool is so light in weight I could take an abundance over and teach them how to make pom poms...

...and the leftover wool certainly kept them quiet! This is Aline, the oldest that still lives at Urukundo making me a bracelet along with John, Lucky and Issiah. The wonderful Jeannie on the right is another one of the volunteers.

...and the leftover wool certainly kept them quiet! This is Aline, the oldest that still lives at Urukundo making me a bracelet along with John, Lucky and Issiah. The wonderful Jeannie on the right is another one of the volunteers.

Little Claude stole my heart. We went on a walk around the local area and he insisted on carrying my bag the whole way and wearing my sunglasses, they really suited him! There was a big group of us but I spent most of the walk with him - he's a very well spoken boy, he really understands English and enunciates everything. It's harder for him to read and write unfortunately so I spent some quality time with him practicing which he found difficult - then I realised he's extremely talented at drawing and had more of a creative brain than academic.  The following week I found some notepads with colouring pencils and 5 hours later we had 10 drawings between us and only 2 of which were mine! Little Claude came from a very hostile environment, he ended up with a family who didn't want him and turned up beaten, bruised and full of scars. He is now the happiest little boy with a dream of being a scientist. 

Little Claude stole my heart. We went on a walk around the local area and he insisted on carrying my bag the whole way and wearing my sunglasses, they really suited him! There was a big group of us but I spent most of the walk with him - he's a very well spoken boy, he really understands English and enunciates everything. It's harder for him to read and write unfortunately so I spent some quality time with him practicing which he found difficult - then I realised he's extremely talented at drawing and had more of a creative brain than academic.  The following week I found some notepads with colouring pencils and 5 hours later we had 10 drawings between us and only 2 of which were mine!

Little Claude came from a very hostile environment, he ended up with a family who didn't want him and turned up beaten, bruised and full of scars. He is now the happiest little boy with a dream of being a scientist. 

A few of the volunteers went for a walk to the local town and although it was great to see the local area for the first time, it did highlight the poverty around. It made me realise that the kids who lived at Urukundo in some ways were lucky to have the food and clothes they have because other kids in the area didn't have very much at all. 

A few of the volunteers went for a walk to the local town and although it was great to see the local area for the first time, it did highlight the poverty around. It made me realise that the kids who lived at Urukundo in some ways were lucky to have the food and clothes they have because other kids in the area didn't have very much at all. 

Agide, Little Claude, John, Yves, Levine and Sarah looking like the greatest band!

Agide, Little Claude, John, Yves, Levine and Sarah looking like the greatest band!

Rebecca looking like butter wouldn't melt! This fiery little girl was found at 4 months old and in need of a home. She's extremely intelligent and first to finish in class, she's loud, has a pout like no other and claims to have 7 boyfriends but Darcie was her favourite one. She is one of a kind!

Rebecca looking like butter wouldn't melt!

This fiery little girl was found at 4 months old and in need of a home. She's extremely intelligent and first to finish in class, she's loud, has a pout like no other and claims to have 7 boyfriends but Darcie was her favourite one. She is one of a kind!

It was a challenge to get all of the kids together but eventually managed it on my last day!

It was a challenge to get all of the kids together but eventually managed it on my last day!

Last but not least my favourite little boy Kaboss. It's frightening how close you can get to these kids and how strong the bonds are after only a couple of weeks. Kaboss' head was always in a book, his english was so ahead of his age and was patient, polite and hilariously odd. We spent time reading in the library, studying for exams, playing with Instagram filters, drawing and lots of dinner time chats. Saying goodbye to him was hard, as it was with all the kids, however there is a way of staying connected to him; sponsorship. It's not much of a yearly amount but it goes toward Kaboss' education and means a lot to Urukundo as a whole.  For more information on how you can volunteer please get in touch with IndiGo Volunteers

Last but not least my favourite little boy Kaboss.

It's frightening how close you can get to these kids and how strong the bonds are after only a couple of weeks. Kaboss' head was always in a book, his english was so ahead of his age and was patient, polite and hilariously odd. We spent time reading in the library, studying for exams, playing with Instagram filters, drawing and lots of dinner time chats. Saying goodbye to him was hard, as it was with all the kids, however there is a way of staying connected to him; sponsorship. It's not much of a yearly amount but it goes toward Kaboss' education and means a lot to Urukundo as a whole. 

For more information on how you can volunteer please get in touch with IndiGo Volunteers

Nicola Hedden
Posted on November 20, 2017 and filed under News.

Applebum Announces New Charity Partner

Indigo Volunteers at Urukundo Children's Home, Rwanda

Indigo Volunteers at Urukundo Children's Home, Rwanda

It's with great pleasure we introduce you to our new and incredible charity partner indiGO Volunteers.
Founded in 2014 indiGo Volunteers exists because there are 22,000 children that die a day due to poverty and over 2 billion people that live in on less than $1 a day. That is not something any of us should accept. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Volunteering is one the key ways to overcoming poverty. Yet not enough people are inspired to volunteer, or know how. indiGO Volunteers exists to change that by inspiring more people to volunteer in projects all over the world. 

We first came across indiGo Volunteers in 2015 when a member of the Applebum family visited Rwanda, volunteering in a Children's orphanage. The experience, love and friendships she brought home with her will stay with her forever.

Natasa in Rwanda

Natasa in Rwanda

"Rwanda has always had a very special place in my heart, since my first trip to this beautiful country almost 4 years ago. It was the first place I volunteered and the first place I built strong connections with some very special people I now call my friends and family.

The people in Rwanda have so much inner strength it’s hard to describe to others and the children give so much love you have to see it and feel it to believe it. Volunteering brings me so much joy! I love meeting new people, seeing how others live and learning from them. volunteering is now a part of me" - Natasa Economou

Jordan in Thessaloniki, Greece

Jordan in Thessaloniki, Greece

Bitten by the volunteering bug, Natasa inspired one of our Applebum founding members; Jordan and in 2016, together they headed to Northern Greece to help tackle the escalating refugee crisis. Co-ordinated by indiGO Volunteers and in conjunction with the humanitarian organisation Help Refugees, Jordan and Natasa volunteered in an emergency aid warehouse in Thessaloniki and a refugee camp in Alexandreia, experiencing both front line refugee camp life and the important tasks that 100's of volunteers help with every day in Northern Greece, sorting valuable supplies in giant warehouses, ready to be distributed to vulnerable people in the area.

" With so many of the worlds problems and the negativity around humanity so publicised it's easy to forget the good that so many people do around the world every day. During my period volunteering in Northern Greece I met local Greek people going through their own problems volunteering their time to help refugees in their town, retired women getting two buses across the city to go and stack shelves in a warehouse, driven young people giving up holiday to help distribute vegetables, passionate humanitarians giving their heart and soul to Syrian families who have been through so much, German electricians driving across country with trucks full of aid and quite literately building roofs for people and so many more volunteers who are on their own journey to help others. I really couldn't recommend this experience enough, it's been truly wonderful in so many ways. It feels like doing even a little is helping to make a difference and the refugees we've met are so so grateful. - Jordan Hallpike

Nicola in Urukundo Childrens home, Rwanda

Nicola in Urukundo Childrens home, Rwanda

Most recently, original pioneer of Applebum; Nicola headed to East Africa and volunteered in a Children's home in Rwanda. Instantly she fell in love with the kids, the country and the feeling that comes with volunteering your time to help others. 

Urukundo - Which means LOVE in Rwanda, is a children's home founded by a true inspiration; Mama Arlene. Urukendo looks after 26 children and has over 80 staff. In the 10 years since it’s been open, as well as housing 26 children full time, it’s built one of the best schools in the district that caters for over 500 children. Kids come from far and wide to be part of the school, and it’s not hard to see why.

So what do indigo Volunteers do?

  • They travel the world finding charitable projects that need volunteers.
  • They list beautiful and responsible projects on their website so you can see the volunteering opportunities available.
  • You register on their website for FREE to find the perfect project and volunteering opportunity for you.
  • You then connect yourself directly with the project and organise your volunteering placement without fees.

Whether you intend to travel to the other side of the world, jump on a plane to central Europe, or volunteer your time closer to home, our aim in partnering with indiGO Volunteers is to help inspire people to help others whilst creating some really special moments that will help them develop as people along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the indiGO Volunteers website now and see how you can volunteer your time and create some amazing memories along the way.

Posted on November 7, 2017 .

Applebum Goes to Berlin

BERLIN.jpg

What started out as a trip for the crew to Berlin to watch King Kendrick Lamar in March has turn into an Applebum weekender! We are delighted to announce that we will be taking over room 2 at arguably the best club in Berlin Kater Blau on Saturday 3rd March.
We'll be dropping more details soon of how you can join us in one of the coolest cities in Europe! 

Posted on October 15, 2017 .

The legend Jazzy Jeff puts together incredible album in just 7 days!

Yesterday the legend that is DJ Jazzy Jeff picked up his phone and called a few friends around to put together an album in just 7 days that will give you "Goosebumps". This was no ordinary studio hang our with pals, it consisted of some of the most respected Neo Soul artists in the game including James PoyserStro ElliotRich MedinaAaron CamperEric LauTeekoSiR and so many more. Singer Glenn Lewis playis his immaculate part on each of the tracks laying down soulful vocals throughout the album.

Chasing Goosebumps is out today and can be streamed below...

Posted on February 18, 2017 .

5 Hip-Hop Songs That Sampled George Michael

Last night the British pop legend George Michael sadly passed away, leaving behind countless unforgettable tracks, often defying genre's. Here we look at 5 tracks that sampled the late great star, from LL Cool J to Future. Check them out below...

Song: LL Cool J "Father" (1997)

Sample: George Michael "Father Figure" (1988) 

Song: AZ, Nas & Nature "Time" (2004)

Sample: George Michael "Careless Whisper" (1984)

Song: Freddie Gibbs "Careless" (2015)

Sample: George Michael "Amazing" (2004)

Song: Slim Thug "Miss Mary" (2005)

Sample: George Michael "A Moment With You" (1998)

Song: Future feat. Nicki Minaj "Rock Star" (2014) 

Sample: George Michael "Careless Whisper" (1984)

Posted on December 26, 2016 .

Kaytranada drops new remix of Afrika Bambaataa’s Electro Funk classic “Planet Rock”

We've been engrossed in the new Netflix series "Hip-Hop Evolution" since it came out on December 2nd and it seems our man Kaytranada has been too, dropping a new remix of the classic electro funk joint "Planet Rock" by legend Afrika Bambaataa. 
Planet Rock (KAYTRANADA Planet Invasion Remix)” will appear on 808, the forthcoming documentary of the legendary Roland TR-808 drum machine which will feature Bambaataa, Rick Rubin, the Beastie Boys, Questlove, Pharrell and many others. Check out Kaytra's 2017 refix below...

Posted on December 6, 2016 and filed under New Music.

A Tribe Called Quest comeback album earns them their first #1 in 20 years

Let’s face it, 2016 hasn’t exactly been the most rewarding of years. With police shootings, terror attacks, Brexit and now Trump’s victory, the whole world seems to be holding out for some kind of solace, any hope for just a glimmer of light at the end of the dark tunnel we’ve been spiralling down for the last 11 months.

That glimmer of light might just have surfaced in the form of a brand new album titled ‘We Got it from Here..Thank You 4 Your Service’, none other than the first release in 18 years by hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest. Arguably one of the most significant and important releases of the year, this record is not only a blessing for the world of hip hop but it is bound to score Tribe some new fans, who will be heartbroken to realise this will indeed be their final release, and just how much they have been missing out on all this time.

Though the release comes as a huge surprise to Tribe fans who, after the tragic loss of Phife Dawg earlier this year might have given up hope of ever hearing any new material from the group, the reality is that that ‘We Got it From Here’ has been secretly progressing for the last year. Though creative differences between long-time friends Phife and Tip had essentially been the catalyst for the group’s split back in 1998, these were thankfully put aside in November last year when the quartet reunited on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ‘People’s Instinctve Travels…’. It was their first television appearance in 15 years, it was a rediscovery of that undeniable chemistry that established them as one of the best hip hop groups of all time, and it sparked the magic that brought us here today to the release of the new record.

Q-Tip told the New York Times: “The energy was right. It felt like we was those kids that had the big show in Paris when they were 19. It felt fresh. It felt exciting. Plus, it was just good to be with my brothers after all of that time.” Jarobi White said the group just “slipped back into the zone” easily: “It was like, oh man, this is the feeling that we’ve all been missing!” That was the night when Q-Tip finally said: “Let’s just do an album. Let’s just start tomorrow!” And they did exactly that.

In the months before his passing, around his rigorous dialysis schedule,Phife was repeatedly flying back and forth between his home in Oakland to New Jersey to record at Tip’s home studio. Perhaps it was fate that brought the group back together, an act of kismet that sparked the sudden inspiration to record an album while they could, while Phife’s days were unknowingly numbered. The reality is that Phife died knowing the record would eventually be released, but he never knew that on what would have been his 46th birthday, Tribe would hit the No.1 spot on the Billboard 200 for the first time in 20 years. Tragically, the group members believe that all the travelling Phife had to do to work on the record may have worn him out. Jarobi told the NY Times: “Doing this album killed him. And he was very happy to go out like that.”

2016 has undoubtedly left a huge hole in the hearts of many music lovers with the loss of Prince and Bowie amongst others, but the loss of Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor in March, who died suddenly due to complications from diabetes, really did rock the world of hip hop to the core. Since his passing, Q Tip has worked tirelessly to finish this record, and though they endearingly admit they don’t actually know what it means, the album title is exactly what Phife wanted it to be called, and Tribe are not about to question the wish of their late brother. The record completely transcends possible expectations of Phife and any Tribe fan, and Phife would sure be one proud little guy.

The laid-back yet boldly assertive ‘The Space Programme’  kicks off the record with the beat that would take a veteran fan right back to 91, with the bassline, simple bouncy beat and the alchemic fluidity of the back-and-forth of verses of Phife and Tip vividly reminiscent of the sound of ‘The Low End Theory’. The beat steadily builds up in the beginning before beginning to unravel and before you know it you’re nodding your head, tapping your feet and praising fate for bringing back every single element of Tribe’s music that made them so special in their Golden Age heyday.

Perhaps the most refreshing and truly special element of the album is the way the formerly elusive Jarobi White himself is finally back in business. Since his departure from the group in 1991 after the release of debut “People’s Instinctive Travels…” this is the most we have heard of him, and with almost as many verses as Phife and Tip he absolutely kills it with his rhymes and has left Tribe fans everywhere and surely even Jarobi himself wondering where on earth he has been all this time.

The record then smoothly leads onto the lead single of the album, ‘We The People’, that the now-trio recently performed on SNL, and boy, what a huge song to burst back on the scene with. The track, with a genius Black Sabbath sample buried within the beat, is now lyrically more relevant than ever in the wake of the recent Presidential Election.

In the hook, Tip, with powerful irony, rhymes: “All you black folks, you must go/ All you Mexicans, you must go / All you poor folks, you must go / Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways”, sounding all too familiar after Trump’s election campaign. Tribe have always been socially conscious, political and thought-provoking, but this track lyrically illuminates all the problems America faces today, speaking out against racism, sexism, religious discrimination, the media, and police brutality. The way Tribe manage to rap about politics with no element of violence or aggression is admirable and undoubtedly part of what has always made them so appealing.

The star-studded line-up of guest appearances Tribe have managed to round up is surely enough alone to make this the record of the year. Man of the moment Kendrick Lamar delivers probably one of the impressive verses on the record in the electro-synth sensation that is ‘Conrad Tokyo’, the political exasperation about America’s current situation obvious in his urgently staccato verses that just roll off his tongue as effortlessly as ever. Andre 3000, Anderson Paak, Talib Kweli and even Jack White all also graced Q-Tip’s home studio to lay down their vocals for the record, along with long-time familiar Tribe collaborators Consequence and Busta Rhymes.

‘Solid Wall of Sound’ is one of our favourite tracks on the album, a song built around a ‘Bennie & The Jets’ sample, with lavishly innovative production with the help of none other than Jack White,  a signature fast-paced verse from Busta Rhymes and even Elton John himself stepping in for a duet with Q-Tip. Phife also impresses with his Caribbean patois giving the track its true Tribe charm and authenticity.

‘Dis Generation’ is another Applebum favourite, the whole crew united in a funky cypher as Tip, Phife, Jarobi and Busta Rhymes spit bars back and forth, weaving rhymes through each other as they rap about the new generation of hip hop, almost symbolically passing the baton over to the new school: “Talk to Joey, Earl, Kendrick and Cole/ gatekeepers of flow/ they are extensions of instinctual soul”.

You can’t help but to feel haunted by the surreal feeling of hearing Phife’s vocals posthumously on the record, leaving you wondering whether the finished product would sound any different if he had been able to have a final say. ‘Lost Somebody’ is a poignant tribute to the late Funky Diabetic, Tip’s heartfelt verses chronicling Phife’s early life and their brotherhood of a friendship that spanned over 40 years. Perhaps the most heart-breaking moment on the record is Tip’s rap as Phife himself on ‘Black Spasmodic’, imagining what Phife would say to him now if he could. You can feel a lump grow in the back of every long-time Tribe fan’s throat as Tip raps “..and please check in on my mother.”

As ever Q-Tip is the one that shines on this record. His knotty, complex, philosophical rhymes have improved over the years like a fine wine. Aside from his distinctive nasally tone that he can pliably throw in all different directions, his dexterous cadences are what sets him apart from other rappers that have been on the scene as long as him. Tip’s legendary production makes for a solid listen from beginning to end, showcasing a fresh sound that manages to maintain a vintage charm with elements like the ‘Bonita Applebum’ sample on ‘Enough’ evoking nostalgia for fans.

This album truly is a masterpiece – though the genres Tip explores sprawl all over the place he somehow manages to knit the magic together smoothly into a somewhat psychedelic and really quite captivating experience, the kind of record you know is best played all the way through.

To be clear, ‘We Got It From Here..’ is by no means their best album. Musically it is miles away from timeless 90s classics ‘The Low End Theory’ or ‘Midnight Marauders’, but with its significance and timescale it could well be a contender for their most important and ground-breaking.

Its November 11th release was a breath of fresh air in a truly suffocating year of tragedy, radical change, outrage and disappointment. It is a sign that speaks out to the world in a time of crisis in need, signifying that things might just be okay eventually.

Tribe did not need, and most likely did not even set out to create their best ever album, or even put out something that was necessarily going to sell millions of records. The story behind ‘We got it from here..’ goes deeper than that. It’s about speaking out about issues that matter, it’s about uniting the people, it’s about giving the fans what they’ve been waiting so long for, it’s about paying homage to one of the most gifted and endearing emcees that ever lived, and most importantly, it’s about finally dropping the curtain on a three-decade-long career, whilst simultaneously perpetuating their legacy as what many would call the greatest hip hop group of all time. Can A Tribe Called Quest still kick it? Yes, they certainly can.

 

Posted on November 22, 2016 .