Sunday, 19 May 2013

LIFE OVERSEAS: Culture of love

ACTS OF KINDNESS: An Irish record label gives back to the community

THE phrase “random acts of kindness” brings to mind people who help others without any hidden agenda.
Though such people are rare, I came across some recently. They are involved in an upcoming record label — Random Acts Of Kindness — in Ireland. The label is created by Godknows Jonas, 24, who is from Zimbabwe but has lived in the Emerald Isle since he was a child. He developed a passion for community work after going through many experiences during his youth.
Jonas is from Shannon in County Clare. Apart from Shannon Airport, the other hub of activity is the town centre with a number of shops and a food court which closes by 6pm.
This leaves many young people with nothing much to do except indulge their own imagination.
So Jonas and his friends decided to create something new. As their interest is music, they formed rap group True Blood Soldierz while in high school.
Then they discovered other talented local artistes and recorded and produced their own songs.
However, Jonas realised that they could contribute something greater  to the area than just being performers. That was how R.A.O.K. came about.
“R.A.O.K. is a record label for young people. It is a culture and love is its lifestyle,” says Jonas.
It revolves around spreading love to the community in the form of music. Jonas adds, “In a world that is lacking love, we are trying to bring it back.”
And he is doing so as a team in line with the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
A musical group in Shannon is unheard of. “We have given hope, turned heads and given a voice to children.” The band has received an offer to make a documentary about rap in the town. It has also been invited to perform at Electric Picnic, the second biggest music festival in Ireland.
R.A.O.K. volunteers at a probation centre in Limerick called Céim ar Chéim (step by step). The Irish government gave R.A.O.K. funds to run a 10-week music workshop for youth at the centre. “We teach hip hop and hope that young people will be able to emulate doing good.”
R.A.O.K. is evolving into a phenomenon. It has launched its own merchandise with its logo emblazoned on a range of colourful caps, shoes and varsity jackets.
“R.A.O.K. will hopefully become the Manchester United of music.”
For details about R.A.O.K., visit its Facebook page, RAOKMusic (Random Acts of Kindness Music).

The writer is studying at a high school in Ireland. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart

Read more: LIFE OVERSEAS: Culture of love - You - New Straits Times

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