Leave it to Cleaver Sunday March 25th Guest: The incomparable Charles Ramsey

Why watch Stormy Daniels when you can listen to Stormy Weather (or classical favorites)?

Local son Charles Ramsey returns to LITC tonight and you won’t want to miss him.

Here’s a little bio on him:

Charles Ramsey is a native of Richmond, Indiana where, at an early age, he fell in love with classical music, the Beatles and Heavy Metal (in that order). He graduated from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied classical guitar with Clare Callahan, a student of Andres Segovia. He also holds a Master of Arts degree from the Hebrew Union College. He then spent seventeen years living in New York City, performing and teaching.

Charles has performed at the United Nations, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Tibet Center, The Yippie Museum, the Tank, ABC No-Rio, Make Music New York and in the Music In Chelsea series in New York City. He has also performed in Los Angeles and in cities in the Midwest — including Cincinnati, Ohio and Richmond, Indiana — as well as in Tokyo, Japan, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is a recipient of a 2012 New York State grant (COAHSI) with his work with flutist Yuuki Koike in their Duo Nanashi. He performs with many ensembles including big bands, metal bands, early music ensembles and many other groups and has written some chamber music. He heads the New York City Pop Band and scores film music whenever presented with the opportunity.

Currently Charles teaches guitar at Earlham College and maintains a studio of private students, and he formerly taught in New York at the Bronx House School of Performing Arts and in many after school programs and high school classes on Long Island. If you’re interested in taking lessons they are offered in person (in Richmond) or online. He would also love to perform at your upcoming wedding or other event requiring live music.

Charles can be heard on WECI Radio 91.5 FM on Wednesday evenings from 10 to 11:30pm on the show eklektika with Jason Elliott where they curate a mix of eclectic music and talk. There are an amazing amount of great shows on WECI, so go ahead and tune in to that station and leave it there for a while. You’re bound to find something really interesting!

His newest undertaking is MUSIC: QUESTION MARK, a monthly concert series which promotes experimental, ambient, electronic, completely improvised music and other sonic phenomena usually considered to be on the periphery of music. The series meets the second Saturday of every month at 7 pm, is always free, and is graciously hosted by the Richmond Innovation Center.

Charles also hasn’t forgotten about the music meditation project which is open to anyone who has an interest in using music as a form of meditation. See his website for more details, especially concerning when and where the next meeting will take place.

For lessons or performances he can be contacted here.

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This is Richmond – Submit your music to become part of a local album

I’m pretty excited about this project by the Richmond Musician’s Association. The goal is to put together an album of local artists and to give those artists exposure-through the album, radio and television profiles and performance opportunities.

Chris Robinson, who is leading this project, asked me why I do my radio show. I told him that providing space and voice for artists inspires and challenges me in my own creative  process. Listening to music and stories of local artists gives me space to breath in a world that seems to want to suffocate with endless negativity. I recall a story about Czechoslovakia, in which I believe Vaclav Havel said that it was the arts (and perhaps humor) that kept the people’s souls alive during the oppressive times. Of course, we are not in such doubtful times, but that does not lessen the necessity for artists to create and voice their work.

So please submit your music to the RMA. If you get on the album, you will be interviewed on my radio show, on Phil Quinn’s and on WCTV-and who knows what else may happen..!

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Leave it to Cleaver Guest February 25: Daniel Kibet

I met Daniel while he was working at the Wellness Center desk and I was teaching yoga. We both attended an Earlham Men’s basketball game. As the minutes dwindled, even though Earlham was losing, Daniel continued to say, “They’ve got time.” It became a mantra of hopefulness that I connected with him.

It wasn’t until later on that I realized that Daniel had embodied that hopefulness by putting action to goals-and by creating an ambitious project in Kenya.

Daniel Kibet ’19 took part in a modern-day Johnny Appleseed/Biblical Noah experience while growing up in Kenya.

“And now I have a deep interest in preserving the ecosystem, mainly the trees and vegetation,” says Kibet, an economics and business and nonprofit management double major at Earlham.

For years, Kibet and his father planted trees.

“We planted maybe 10,000 trees,” he says. “People were laughing. My father had to buy his maize and potatoes from other farmers, and they laughed at him.

Now we have wood. We have trees that can be used for electric poles, and we have tree tomatoes, (tamarillos) that are in demand,” he says. “A lot of farms lie idle, and instead of being idle, trees are a good idea. There’s not a lot of maintenance, they purify the air and they look nice.”

Foremost in his mind these days is an idea he calls the Mashinani (Swahili word for rural) Farming Initiative, a business that uses experiences and ideas from his life that shaped his interest in the environment.

“I want an app that is designed to connect farmers with potential buyers in undeveloped countries like Kenya,” he says. “We will have a specialist on site to visit the farm to test the characteristics of the land, the soil’s alkalinity, the altitude, the amount of rainfall. That will be taken into consideration with what other farmers are producing in that region, and the specialist will determine what type of crop is best suited to that land and region.”

Kibet hopes the app will eliminate the current model where most farmers plant maize and potatoes, which creates a saturated market and idle farms.

“Rather than clearing the land to plant the same crops over and over, this program will emphasize non-invasive ways of farming,” he says. “It will encourage farmers to interact with natural systems.”

Trees need time to grow, and farmers need to make money while the trees grow.

“I remembered when I was 10 years old climbing trees and was stung by a bee from a colony in the trunk,” he says. Although the sting caused pain and swelling, Kibet says the experience allowed him to see the benefit of beehives.

“If you plant trees, part of the idea is to put beehives in and sell honey to sustain yourself until the trees mature,” he says.

Mashinani Farming Initiative won $1,250 before bowing out in the second round of the Earlham Prize for Creative Capitalism competition during the spring competition. With part of the funds, Kibet placed 20 beehives on his father’s farm to serve as a model and encourage other farmers.

 

Also this past summer, Kibet worked with local builders to construct a simple latrine system and hand-washing station in his primary school in western Kenya. The new building, which replaces broken and unsanitary facilities, has five stalls for girls and two stalls and urinals for boys. Kibet was awarded $10,000 by Earlham for his Project for Peace to fund the construction. The award also paid for soccer balls and jump ropes for the children at the school.

Kibet learned about Earlham while a student at United World College Pearson in Canada, where he says he learned an even greater respect for the environment through sustainability. He was drawn to Pearson because of its greenhouse.

“I needed to know how that worked,” he says. “I learned how tiny strips of soil could be utilized in a way to produce vegetables more efficiently.”

He hopes the Mashinani Farming Initiative will expand to include greenhouses and container gardening for urban areas.

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