By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Music speaks all languages.
And hip-hop certainly speaks to young people led through an inspiring workshop program On Track at Dandenong High School.
In four days a team of music professionals train about 45 students in “writing, rap and freestyle interactive 101”.
One of the On Track mentors is MC MoMO, aka Mohamed Komba – who is one half of African Australian hip hop duo Diafrix.
The aim is for young people to open up and share their stories, he says.
“Youth relate so much to music. Hip hop is particularly a format that young people can understand.
“They are able to express themselves in a way where it might be hard to express themselves to family at home or friends at school.”
Students from Dandenong High School, St John’s Regional College, Kambrya College, Hampton Park Secondary College and Gleneagles Secondary College were involved.
They learned to mix beats in DJ sessions, to rhyme and “drop the mic” with their own song, and record a studio demo.
Students also pose a professional one-on-one photo shoot, and help create a graphic-designed logo.
Some had never written music before, yet by the end of the week they stage a rousing DJ and rap concert for parents, teachers and friends, MC MoMO says.
MC MoMO saw last year’s On Track student crop return this year with more confidence. Not in a way that “flaunts it” but by encouraging and helping their peers, he says.
“The No. 1 growth that I see is participants say how much more confident are to talk about how they feel and to share their creativity with people.”
The On Track program is run by Mushroom Group.