Jai Nitai Lotus, P. Lantz Visiting Artist-in-Residence

November-December, 2018

Jai Nitai Lotus set up a weekly portable music station in the Faculty of Education, McGill, to create sample-based, Hip Hop music with an open invitation to students and faculty to participate in the process.

These are his reflections about the process:

I was very pleased to present my Sample X: The Way I Hear It! project within and around McGill’s Faculty of Education. Everyone was very helpful and made my stay here very welcoming. My project’s main objective was to use and display sample-based Hip Hop music as a method in which we can open up realms of possibility, which can be helpful when teaching in a modern context.

I was very pleased with the response and participation from students and faculty. I was invited to speak and present in multiple classes, and was able to fit in 5 out of 7 invitations.

The classes that I attended included:

2 visits to Professor Mitch McLarnon’s ‘History Through Migrations’ first-year class, which was a great experience. I have attached two reflection pieces that two students wrote on my presentation and the impact on how it affected them. I was very pleased to see the connections they drew. A third student followed up with me, asking my opinion on an assignment she had written on the lack of African-Canadian representation in history within our education system, which I believe is very true. She included a musical playlist to her assignment, inspired by my presentation. She recently followed up with me to potentially do some volunteering at the youth music studio I manage in Cote des Neiges (NBS Studio).

I presented in Professor Naomi Nichols’ grad class. We had a great exchange and an impactful Q&A session after my presentation. Several of her students followed up during my stay, some of them talking to me about specific projects and ideas that they are working on. One of her students recently invited me to be a guest speaker in her class on 21st Century Education, which I was able to speak at last week. The response was very positive.

I also spoke in Dr. Bronwen Low’s undergraduate class on young adult literature. The presentation went really well and she even had a few drop-in students attend her class who I had spoken to earlier while creating in the cafeteria area.

The Art Hive launch was another highlight of my stay. I had the opportunity to present to many people alongside so many talented artists doing their residence here. There are very few things I believe in as strongly as the power of art to open hearts and minds, and to create positive transformation within our educational systems and to society at large. I support this initiative 100%.

I had many good exchanges with students while doing my residence on Thursdays, where I requested and received dozens of songs to sample and rework. We spoke a lot about art and education on a one-on-one basis, and on the many benefits of sharing our talents and information with people who may not have access.

I have attached one small musical snippet of one of my favorite sampled pieces below. I had recorded a student (who I had asked permission to record) while he played the piano within the cafeteria area. I really enjoy how the atmosphere of the building was captured and expressed. First it plays the recording in its original form, followed by what I made from it.

Thank you for the opportunity,