The purpose of this project is to create a culturally relevant, interactive musical experience using Afrobeat and Funk as a musical medium. Funk, Jazz, Soul and its African counterpart Afrobeat, have proven their ability to remove social barriers, regardless of age/gender/ethnicity. At this critical time in history, as many music and arts programs are being phased out of the schools, these genres have withstood the test of time and have recently inspired a Broadway musical, FELA! These expressions have also energized a new generation of musicians that use improvisational performance styles to express themselves. Historically, these performance ensembles were extensions of the communities where they honed their skills; Think 70s style bands like The JBs, Parliament, Mandrill and Earth, Wind & Fire; 2nd Line Jazz Parades in New Orleans; Afrobeat and Palmwine music in Nigeria, Highlife in Ghana; Calypso, Junkanoo or Carnival in the Caribbean; Atlanta’s HBCU Marching Bands. Mausiki Scales and the Common Collective seek to use The Beltline as an “urban interactive stage” to engagingly perform in the spirit of the “old school” musical traditions mentioned above.
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The Common Ground Collective is a 15 piece Afrobeat-Soul Orchestra that explores musical styles from West Africa, including Afrobeat and Funk. Common Ground seeks to explore the musical thread that links the music of the African World, including the African Diaspora. Common Ground’s Musical Director is Mausiki Scales, who also serves as keyboardist for the group. Common Ground is based in Atlanta, Georgia and recently performed in Ghana West, Africa. Scales is an adjunct instructor in the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University and has taught history and African World Studies for more than 15 years in Atlanta area colleges and universities including Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College and Georgia Perimeter College. He a multitude of interests which include Nile Valley Civilizations, West African history & culture, the Jim Crow era, and studying various musical genres, including Afrobeat, Blues and Jazz.