Sunday, December 9, 2012

Raise Your Hands And Read.

Friends, it has been far too long but it's with great pleasure that we break the silence. Tough Bond will be premiering at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival. It's a dream come true and a good reason to celebrate. So many of you have been an essential part of this journey so far...and we're truly at a new beginning. Stay with us. Also- to make the holidays bounce a little, here's a mix of some of our favorite tunes from the year. Enjoy'dis. Love VB

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hostess with the Mostess

In 2009 we blazed on motorcycles through the Turkana village of Chumvi- a small settlement of around 200 people organized in roughly 25 mud and dung traditional huts- on our way to our friends village of Attir, about 5 miles further into the arid bush where the elephants hang out late afternoon and where we were to experience our first days in a Turkana village.

In 2010 we found ourselves lost under the starry sky, invited into a few of these hospitable huts as our truck was stuck in the nearby river- late at night- too late, or so we were warned, because predator animals were out and the nearby Borana tribe was rumored to be lurching with AK-47s, awaiting Turkanas walking in the bush with their herds.

In 2012, we witnessed a Chumvi completely turned upside down. The salt flat (chumvi in swahili= salt) now is home to over 3,000 Turkanas who have gathered together in the open, treeless expanse, in effort to protect themselves from the current raids of Borana and Somali who have, along with the Turkana, been violently looting, burning, and murdering each other's villages weekly since October 2011. Chumvi, thanks to UNICEF, is now an African settlement of igloos- donated white tarps propped by sticks serve as temporary huts for the newfound refugees in their own villages who are reliant on maize flour, also donated by UNICEF and WFP because they cannot safely graze their goats and livestock and their small scale bean and maize farms have been abandoned with the move.

We anxiously arrived to greet our friends on the 1st of January- one man is our Kenyan brother, Julius Lemuya, who for 2 years was our fixer during production of our documentary, essentially our gatekeeper into this labrynth of a new world. (Thank you Lemuya!) He gave us the breakdown of the current situation and like the echo of a gong- uttered words I can still hear ringing in my ears. "We are trapped. There is nothing for us to do, nowhere to go. We are caged chickens waiting for food and flight."

Fast forward one week later. We bought a giant white UNICEF tarp from a boy who had wisely taken inventory of the extras in the encampment, ~$10 USD, borrowed speakers from an electronics 'store' in Isiolo town, rented a generator, and got our Kenyan MacGyver- Mr. Daudi- on task to build two 20-foot stands to hold the tarp-screen up for our village drive-in theater.

We set up the projector atop Elvis and come sundown lazerbeamed videos from our footage shot in Chumvi so they could see themselves 15-feet tall shining through the desert battlefield. Roars of laughter and screams of shock and awe rippled through the refugee camp- some had never seen video so to see themselves first was something I still cannot get my head around. Our intentions were to show James Cameron's Avatar but the moment the 20th Century Fox anthem sounded its alarm across the silent bush- gunshots popped from the left and everyone, including ourselves went packing and running into the huts.

Back in Isiolo town, the next morining, we find out they were bullets meant for another tribe, the Samburu and Meru, just miles away having a "simple, ordinary dispute over livestock" (with AK-47s as mediators? Geeeeeez.) And although Avatar didn't get screened here- the 20 minutes of short videos celebrating the Turkanas whilst trapped in their chicken cages seemed to change something. The air was a bit lighter- perhaps the temporary distraction from their glum reality, or maybe the illumination of their glum reality 10x the size- whatever it may be, the people seemed a few feet taller and Village Beat was a few ideas closer to understanding and grasping the magnitude of the present situation facing these northern pastoral tribes today.

Oh, and before nightfall and movietime, during setup, the dustiest, funkiest, highest jumping dance competition took place in front of Elvis' headlights. Those things ain't just for drivin. (Scroll down the blog to watch Wild Country)

Thank you Chumvi.


All these years of public transportation (a lot of walking), passing by incredible realities we could only look out the window and dream to capture, finally led us to Elvis. We broke down our insane need of 'being as local as possible' and purchased the 1972 LandRover 88 properly known as the Beat Mobile. With a little technical fixing up and a lot of love, we painted him, dressed him up, and have been driving the beast round the desert and villages exploring Kenya's north and making some bizarro music videos (coming soon) where he proved to be the King he his. We love you Elvis.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SLUMCHELLA & The $3 Dollar Holler

This is it folks- by far the most audacious and important thing we have ever attempted. Downhill, no brakes, toothpick between the teeth, into the sunset we go. Sirens behind, but in the smokey distance, someone you love very much is calling your name.
We don't get that feeling every day. But it's right here if you want it.

The purpose of the event is to give a voice to the indigenous tribes of northern Kenya who face mass displacement by the GIBE 3 hydroelectric dam, currently under construction, that will destroy the downstream river and lake ecosystem and cut the lifeline of 1 million indigenous people, sending them into refugee camps or one of Kenyas massive slums in search of a new way to survive.

SLUMCHELLA will awaken the sleeping giant- a collective beast of immeasurable potential, which includes you, me, Kenya, everyone. We are going put this issue on a world-stage through a celebration of indigenous culture. Music, film and dance. In short, Slumchella is a get-down to stop whats going down.



The Finest Hour

The Finest Hour of 2011 Village Beat by Village Beat

This is our Year End Mix. 2011's "Finest hour", according to the owls of Village Beat. You've heard most of these gems, but if you haven't, put the Tupac back in the visor CD wallet and open your ears to exactly 60 minutes of one of the finest years in music history. Happy New Year from Village Beat. We love you.

TRACKLIST: artist/track/album
00:05-4:12 Tyler the Creator/ Yonkers/ Goblin
4:23-11:09 The Weeknd/ House of Balloons-Glass Table Girls/ House of Balloons
11:17-14:42 SBTRKT/ Hold On/SBTRKT
15:03-18:16 WU LYF/ Dirt/ Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
18:17-22:48 PlanningtoRock/ The Breaks/ W
22:49- 26:54 John Maus/ Believer/ We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
26:55-30:33 PJ Harvey/ Words That Maketh Murder/ Let England Shake
30:34-35:06 Panda Bear/ Last Night at the Jetty/ Tomboy
35:19-38:34 Shabazz Palaces/ An Echo From the Hosts That Profess Infinitum/ Black Up
38:35- 42:16 AWOLNATION/ Sail/ Megalithic Symphony
42:17- 45:12 Atlas Sound/ The Shakes/ Parallax
45:13-50:51 The Antlers/ Putting the Dog to SLeep/ Burst Apart
50:52- 55:26 James Blake/ The Wilhelm Scream/ James Blake
55:27-58:57 Thundercat/ For Love I Come/ The Golden Age of Apocalypse
58:57-59:10 Boards of Canada/ One Very Importnat Thought/ Music Has the Right to Children
End: Village Beat and the Turkeys

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scoreless in Seattle

gif creator online

Seattle's Capitol Hill is a vortex of wind, rain, dancing trees, shot glasses of cayenne pepper-drizzled health blasters, vinyl and candles. Music. Coffee. Done. An LA escapee could get used to this.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For Information:

Occupy LA. Be present in your presence.

OCCUPY LA: Day 2-- October 2nd, 2011

There is no them. There is only us.
We point fingers blaming and bow heads in frustration and look to others for communication. Yet, its all our creation. Downtown LA, at City Hall, at 1st and Spring Street, there is a protest happening. A gathering of humans. A movement of Solidarity, that when solid, can solidify our country. Install the We back into We The People. There is a revolution growing. A revolution ending the absurdity of Corporate America. The absurdity of a nation with a democratic government that is not deriving its power from the people. The absurdity of a system that places self-interest over harmony and justice. Profit over people. Consumption over culture.

This isn't a month long sit in the park and walk down the streets. This isn't a year of sign waiving and marching into banks. This is a commitment to a world of equality. A world of cooperation. A lifestyle derived and rooted in consciousness. We make the decision to have our money in banks. We make the decision to wear clothing that is stitched with slavery. We make the decision to get paychecks from businesses that rape the earth, declare bankruptcy and give CEO bonuses. Businesses that make a commodity out of our privacy.

Take a deep breath. Think about your decisions. Don't worry about what you've done. But make changes this next time.

You'll never get there if you're taking the wrong road.

Come join us downtown LA. All day and night. Or join Occupy all over the USA. Wherever you are, we're Occupying. Get inspired. We can change this by joining together, by showing solidarity that we recognize we're no longer represented by our representatives. That democracy has been forgotten. That the United States has become untied and is living a lie.

Its not a matter of hope. Its a matter if you want to change yourself. Thats where this all begins.

So Begin!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shabazz Palaces- Live on KEXP

"Black Up" is out.
After about 100 listens, you start hearing it for the first time again.

Between the band's recent deluge of interviews and shows, we're catching the signal that Ishmael's score for Tough Bond is in synthesis- as is a plan to get these cats on a stage in one of the mot remote regions of East Africa, to play for an audience of a few thousand Turkana nomads.

We could use a few extra hands. Anyone?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Finally, we give you Blastit- our video for Shabazz Palaces. The track is from their self-titled EP. A few months ago, we made a good friend in Ishmael Butler, AKA Butterfly, of Shabazz Palaces. He's bringing our favorite voice in hip-hop and the mysterious sound of Shabazz to bear on the score of our film. There is pure magic in this union.

The full-length debut record from Shabazz Palaces, "Black Up", will be out in June on Sub Pop. Not to be missed. It's already my favorite record of the year and it will likely stay that way.

I don't think I've smiled as I did today in a really long time- thinking of our friends in this video from Isiolo, Mombasa, Meru, the Turkana village of Attir and how happy they would be to know that people here can see them and feel a ray of their African sunshine.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A day in the Beat Cave

Modeselektor. Happy Birthday. Coffee, 1 press, 2 cups, spinach, more than you'd think, a cookie, a website born, an argument outside between "Gregory" and a man who should have sent him something in the mail, helicopters, tourists taking pictures of gargoyles, underwear, dancing, Kenyan music videos, Mombasa turned into Nairobi and we are one step closer to the dawn of the Tough Bond.
Just another day in the Beat Cave. However, those days are numbered, as we soon relocate to the Pueblo, an elevated cliffside dwelling with a view, a crew and a whole lot to do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Star of the Show

We Love Sinbad from Village Beat on Vimeo.

Feeling lovey-dovey? Overwhelmed? Generous? Do it. Make a donation on this page (button below), or go visit our profile at Creative Visions:​projects/​villagebeat.html

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Life as Unusual

Friends in angry fruit costumes, friends multiplying, red peppers needing love, the Fall on the best coast, mornings waking beside Our Mother Pacific, scrambling around like hermit crabs for a shell, wild rivers and music. After a month inside the kaleidoscope, we're back to work, getting ready to tell a grand story.


Search me. You'll find more than you can handle.