It’s one of those days when you wish you were in New York city.
Ten people at a time are allowed into the dark room of pouring rain and, with the help of highly sensitive 3D camera motion sensors, will not get wet. What an experience it must be to walk through a downpour and watch the water part for you!
It’s almost a paradox, that such advanced technology would clash with something so natural, and ‘everyday’ as rain.
This exhibit has the power to awaken wonder by the way that one can manipulate the rain, while also giving us the opportunity to see the extraordinary in what we may have wrongfully tagged as ‘normal’.
Sometimes people look for their ‘calling’ in life, and find it after much seeking. For others, their calling finds them. Yosef, real name Hunter Duncan, is a musician whose road seems to have found him. Hunter was captivated by music as a middle schooler in Lexington, South Carolina and since then has poured himself into developing his natural talent as musician, singer and songwriter. From bands in basements, to solo on big city stages, Yosef has come a long way, and is just now gaining more momentum than ever. In the midst of working the release of his first solo album in July, he took some time to answer some questions for us for this week’s Weekend Jam:
EJ: Can you give me a brief background of how you got started playing music?
HD: This whole journey of mine started when I was about 11-12 years old. I came home from summer camp and noticed a guitar on my bed, but back then I had no interest in music whatsoever. My sister wanted to take lessons and she didn’t want to go alone, so I went with her. I’ll never forget sitting there with that tiny three-quarter size guitar and learning those first chords. It felt right, and I wasn’t going to look back. I played more and more everyday and started to play with my friends in middle school. I began writing songs and tried to sound like Nirvana. I played in a few bands throughout the years, the most recent was The Lion In Winter, but then I decided to go solo.
EJ: Being from the middle of a small state like South Carolina, what was the music scene like, and what would you change about it if you could?
HD: The music scene in Columbia is a love-hate situation for me. There are so many talented musicians here and I hate that the city doesn’t recognize them. I feel like the scene is shaping up though. People are trying harder, going on tour, and putting out solid records. But that’s the city, I’m originally from Lexington right outside of Columbia and there was not a music scene at all.
EJ: How would you describe the experience of transitioning from playing with bands into doing solo projects?
HD: I loved playing in bands growing up and playing music with my friends, but it became more difficult for me to deal with 3-4 other people trying to schedule our lives to make shows and practice work. I miss being loud, though. I will have people play with me later this year when I release my record since the record is a full-band record.
EJ: Who are your influences, both musical and non-musical?
HD: My influences are Jeff Buckley, Nirvana, Radiohead, and recently Sleeping at Last. My non-musical influence would the relationships I have had in the past and present.
EJ: What type of lifestyle would you say represents your music?
HD: The lifestyle that would be best fit for my music would be couch surfing. Floating around from place to place sleeping on floors and couches.
EJ: What is your dream gig?
HD: My dream gig is to play at a stadium or something of that size and sell it out. To know that all those people are filling the place out just to see you, I couldn’t imagine the feeling.
EJ: What are your goals for the future?
HD: My goals are to keep my head up, stop getting discouraged so often, put out my new record and start working on the next. I’m working on releasing my first solo record under the name of Yosef, titled “Run Wild”. It should be out this July. I’ll be getting physical copies of it and I’ll work on getting T-shirts to sell at shows. As far as shows go right now I don’t have any booked for this month.
Follow Yosef music here:
Check out the video of his single ‘Run Wild’ below:
And here’s a song he did with fellow South Carolina artist, Mel Washington (to be featured in the future here soon!)
Photo cred: Alexis Schwallier Photography
Today’s blog post is from our favorite Sheila, Ame Schadel. Ame came this spring from Australia to take part in our Service Team program. Service Team is a program where individuals assist with practical hands-on needs of STN such as painting, construction or service in the local community with our ongoing outreaches. The schedule and jobs are based off of the needs at STN has at the current time. It is a challenge, but the reward of living and growing in the community is unique and gratifying. Service team members must commit a minimum of one month and can stay as long as three months. Take a look at what Ame had to say about her experience:
‘I love those times in life when a really amazing opportunity presents itself and you choose to step out of your comfort zone. There’s a feeling of nervousness and excitement as you start making your plans. But the best part is, after you’ve made that step and you realize that the decision turned out to be the best one you could have made. This is exactly what happened to me when I had the opportunity to be part of the service team at Surfing the Nations.
I flew from Australia to Hawaii not knowing what to expect, nervous about making this new place home for the next month. Nervousness aside, I also had a feeling that this would be the start of an amazing adventure. I was ready for a new challenge in life, ready to meet new friends and ready to have a ton of fun while doing it.
Being part of the Service Team gave me the chance to see firsthand how Surfing the Nations is making a difference in the community and around the world. Not only was I able to help people within the organization, I was also able to help with weekly community events like Feeding the Hungry and the Ulu Pono kids program. Through these programs, my eyes were opened to the need that is in the world today. The need for primary things like food and shelter and also the need for comfort and encouragement. Seeing people line up for food and being able to look them in the eyes, give them food and encourage them was truly a highlight for me.
Another part of Service Team that made my time so enjoyable was all the people that served alongside me. It was great to be working on a project or helping build something with people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. We worked together, ate together and laughed together. The community of people at STN made me not only feel like I was part of the organization, but like I belonged to a family that was all working to make a difference.
Service Team was the best decision I could have made. It was an incredible way to see Hawaii, meet new people and ultimately make a lasting difference in a community, I loved it so much, I decided to extend my stay.
I would highly recommend taking this adventure and making it your own.’ – AS
*This link is no longer active, as it was a limited time offer*
Americans were required to read it as high school students. A story both exciting and troubling at the same time, it’s possible many of us only remember it as an assignment on our calendar. But from May 10th on, thanks to the vision of Baz Luhrmann and the work of countless others, The Great Gatsby will be remembered as explosive and arresting. The film hits theaters next week, and from the looks of the trailers, is sure to enchant.
This week, while we’re waiting for the roaring 20′s extravaganza, we get to sample the musical morsels from the grand party with NPR’s first listen of The Great Gatsby Soundtrack.
Director Baz Luhrmann and hip-hop great Jay-Z teamed up to produce an album that appeals to a variety of tastes, with remixes of soulful songs, upbeat jazz age tunes and some original tracks from some of today’s most talked about artists including: Lana Del Rey, Florence + The Machine, The XX, and Jack White.
Creating a soundtrack for the Great Gatsby is no easy task. It is a packed grenade of emotional fuel: the story itself a raw layer peeled from author F.Scott Fitzgerald’s own life and heartbreak. Add onto that the turmoil of several characters, each facing their own demons, their own longings, regrets and joys. Then,try to incorporate the weight of an excessive, and often elusive American dream, displayed in the glamour and shine of the jazz age.
We’re not sure a single album can ever capture a timeless book, and we’re not putting that on this album itself; Yet we can appreciate that it is a well thought-out and innovative album. What else would we expect from the creator of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, Baz Luhrmann? NPR music states “‘He is cinema’s boldest remixer, infusing familiar works with new rhythms that refresh their relevance.’”
At Surfing The Nations, we love things that are out of the box, and it seems that this film and soundtrack is busting out of the borders to bring something new to the table.
Give it a listen this week and get ready for the main event, May 10th at theaters nationwide!
Have a great weekend!
*Disclaimer: Some of the tracks on this album contain explicit lyrics.*
Today’s post is from one of our internship staff members, Andy Keefe. Andy, a native Aussie just spent some time in his home country, promoting STN and connecting and encouraging people whenever possible. We are stoked to have some more Aussies (and kiwis!) at STN in the near future!
“This last month I have been so privileged to be part of the very first Australia promotional and recruiting trip with Surfing the Nations, nd to put it in so many words, I was frothing!!!! Accompanying me for various parts along the way were Chris Rehrer and Australia’s very own Ame Schadel.
Throughout this time, we were fortunate enough to meet so many amazing organisations, churches, schools, and business’ which were more than happy to get involved and help us spread the story of the good that is happening in Wahiawa and other parts of the world.
Before any of the PR work began, I thought I’d take the liberty to head up towards my old friend Noosa, a long time favourite surf spot. After surfing a couple of hours at Noosa, one of the most crowded waves you’ll ever surf, I noticed some kids dropping in on everyone in brightly coloured vests and as I investigated more closely, I saw that they were from a local school. Then an idea struck me like someone just turned on a switch; Australia is full of little blonde haired grommets who love to surf, and travel, and most of all are adventurous cheeky youngsters. From there I started making phone calls to the school where they came from to try and talk to the surf school teacher. Yes that’s right, in Australia you can take surfing as a subject. As soon as I mentioned to the lady on the phone that I saw them in the water, you could tell she was thinking, ‘Oh no,what have they done’. After getting in touch with the right person, I was stoked to find out that these kids were just about to go on a surfing outreach trip to Bali as the school excursion for the year. Before long, Chris and I got the chance to go to the school and stoke these kids out on their trip just days before they left. I have a feeling we might be seeing some of these kids in Hawaii someday, changing the world.
Next stop was Easterfest. Easterfest is a huge Christian music festival which, of course, occurs over the Easter weekend, where somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people and make the yearly pilgrimage to the rural city of Toowoomba. Surfing the Nations setup a small booth where we talked story for three days and shared with hundreds of people a little bit about what STN is about. One of the greatest things I got out of this experience was that I had my eyes opened to so so many other amazing organisations which support absolutely fantastic causes. I mean if you ever start to think that this world is a bad place, you just need to take a look around and you’ll realise also how much good is actually happening in the world.
Amongst all the connections made, the individuals visited, and the places we spoke at, I was most of all blessed just to hear people’s stories and take time to inspire and encourage them. It really is amazing how sometimes we can just be connected to the right people, at the right times, in the right place.
Overall, the recruiting trip was a huge success, and much Aloha was shared with the Australian people. In fact, even after a long day I met a girl from New Zealand who we invited to come to Hawaii to join us. I must have been delusional from standing up for 13 hours, but nonetheless, the invitation was made, and we may have another kiwi on our hands!”
Today’s post is from our Bangladesh team member, Taylor Jones. Taylor just graduated the internship mid-April and after a few short days, took off for Bangladesh. She sent us a little update on what’s been going on the first few days of being there. Next up, they’ll be getting ready for the annual Aloha Surf Contest! Enjoy, and check back for more updates from the team!
“Well, where do I even begin! It sure was a long forty hours of traveling to Bangladesh. We had three flights, a few long layovers, and a crazy bumpy bus ride that I will never forget.
We arrived in Dhaka with twenty-one suitcases, nine surfboard bags, and each of our two carry on bags! We piled the luggage onto carts and made our way outside of the airport to our personal bus that Aziz, our Bangladeshi friend and former intern at STN, rented for us! Andy, our team member from Australia was also with Aziz since he arrived a day earlier. It was refreshing to know that we all made it safely and that our entire team was now together.
Our bus ride was a wild fifteen hours long! Let’s just say there really aren’t any rules when it comes to driving in Bangladesh! There was constant swerving, speeding, and slamming of brakes. As crazy as the bus ride was, I absolutely loved the suspense. We finally arrived to our Hotel in Cox’s Bazar at 2:30am.
Our first day here was pretty mellow. We just became familiar with the town driving around, eating at the local restaurant, and buying our own three pieces, the traditional Bangladeshi outfit for women. As we explored the town, so many colors overwhelmed my eyes, different smells took over my nose: good and bad, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful all the people were. It was nice to have a day with not too much going on to soak everything in.
The last couple days here has been one stop to the next. We have been surfing three times so far; the water is warm and the waves aren’t too big. We have been to some of the surf club boy’s homes; all their families are so kind and welcoming. One day, Aziz gave us a tour of the school that he went to as a child and we got to play with the kids that are attending there now. After that, we went on a boat ride to a harbor and Aziz showed us a fish market where he used to work.
Later on, all of us girls got to spend a few hours with a few local girls doing nails, henna, and braiding hair. Even though we didn’t understand too much of each other’s language, the room was filled with laughter and smiles. A few of the street kids have been hanging out with us from morning till we go to sleep; following us everywhere.
All of us are enjoying our time here and no one wants to go home. We are building many relationships, which will make it even harder to leave. It is amazing to see how much transformation has come to Bangladesh since Surfing The Nations first came here. We are all very blessed to be here and are excited to see what the next two weeks has in store for all of us!”
The town of Wahiawa has welcomed a new addition to its local business family and the irony is that this “new kid on the block” isn’t really “new” at all.
On March 30th, The Vintage, a vintage clothing and antique shop, opened in a former liquor market, which used to be sandwiched between a strip club and a 24-hour porn shop.With the purchase of these properties by Surfing The Nations, the strip club, 24 hour porn shop and the liquor market were all turned into family minded businesses. The Vintage is the latest addition to this street transformation.
The Vintage has been carefully crafted by Swedish sisters in-law, Beatrice and Elin Ahlander. Both with a passion for design and background in retail, this powerhouse duo put together the one-of-a-kind store in only a matter of months(Beatrice even had her one year old with her most days)!
When you walk through the shop, you can see every item and display has been cultivated by their expertise. The shop caters to a large variety of tastes: From a much-prized pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes, to old books, children’s clothing, Hawaiiana memorabilia and home decor. Moms, fashionistas, collectors, and anyone that happens to be passing through is bound to find something that catches their eye.
Vintage shopping has burst onto the scene with force, disarming mall windows of the allure they once held. Vintage stores don’t put items in your face and scream for your business; rather, they hold out an invitation for people to go on their own treasure hunt.If an item is truly vintage, you can be sure of a few things: First off, it’s probably one of a kind; you won’t have to worry about someone else showing up in the same outfit. Secondly, it is going to offer a completely different look than what’s available in mainstream retail. Vintage shops open the door to the styles of several different eras at a time and unleash opportunities to shape a creative style of your own. Lastly, it has a value that can only be added to. When you find a vintage item, it already has a story, and that story continues on to a new chapter in your possession.
The Vintage has its own part in a story of restoring and rebuilding a community.
Come and see what role The Vintage can play in your personal style!
This past week was a busy and bittersweet one, as we said our congratulations and goodbyes to some of our Ohana. This week was the graduation of our 10 Surfers Leadership School students and our twenty-nine interns. It was an exciting time for the students to reflect back on the three months of their time in Hawaii and celebrate their accomplishments. For the interns, that meant reading books, passing tests, and working hard in several different departments at STN, including Waianae surf and swim and Feeding the Hungry. Many of them are going back to different corners of the world: Sweden, Canada and all over the United States. The SLS students celebrated the completion of their leadership training and apprenticeships (not to mention their Big Adventure!) and they are pressing on in their full time staff positions for the remainder of the year.
We are so thankful for the interns and staff that have chosen to come to STN. You guys are what make us run and what makes this Ohana incredible.Thanks for giving back!
When it comes to adventure, Surfers Leadership School does not mess around. Surfers Leadership School (SLS) takes place during a staff member’s first three months of being on staff. Among reading books, writing papers on leadership, leading group lessons and apprenticing in a department, the ‘crown’ of the three month training is the Big Adventure.
For eight days, SLS students strap on 50-70 pound packs and hike into the Waimanu Valley of Big Island. There in the wilderness, they set up camp right next to a black sand beach and forage for food from the earth and sea. Hiking to waterfalls for water and keeping track of your water purification tablets becomes a number one priority.
The hike is strenuous, but for every painful step, the valley compensates with beauty, eclipsing the present discomforts. The time in the valley is filled with pristine star gazing, falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, exploring untamed wilderness, and of course, taking everything learned about leadership and putting it into practice.
Here are are some of the photos captured on the trip:
A few months ago, I blogged about the Black Cab Sessions: where well known musical artists pile in a black cab and record live while driving through the city. It was so fun to watch these musicians get into these cramped spaces and belt their hearts out as they moved through the streets.There’s something about the unexpected environment that made the music seem that much more special.
Now, we bring you a new out-of-the-box recording experience, one with much more space, but just as much randomness!
NPR Music has a series called ‘Field Recordings‘, where musical artists do a live recording in a variety of spaces; sometimes literally in a field, other times on bridges, on top of picnic tables, or in the middle of the forest, to name a few.
Not unlike the Black Cab Sessions, you feel like you’re there with them. You see them goofing off, taking in the scenery, trudging through nature to get to their destination. Some of the videos are slightly humorous as you watch them awkwardly adjust to their surroundings, some of them highly unfavorable for recording.
The one thing I love most about this series is that I imagine these silent and unexpected settings could be where many of these musicians discovered their art: Inspired by nature and their surroundings, inspired by the moments when they were alone. Those are the moments when nothing’s expected, and everything is gain with only the wild for an audience.
See for yourself from our picks below! And next time you go on a hike, bring a guitar, a harmonica or just some pen and paper and your voice and have your own field recording session.
Have a great weekend!
Photo credit: NPR