Kenny Baraka is a journeyman griot: born in Eritrea, raised in New York and now residing in London, he has been sharpening and sharing his craft with diverse communities and musicians the world over. As an author, journalist, lyricist, lecturer, songwriter and teacher, Kenny has brought his charismatic brand of street-smart intellectualism to classrooms, venues and periodicals across the world, for over ten years.
As a high school teacher and youth correctional counsellor, Kenny has taught English, History, World Politics and Personal Management to some of America’s and Great Britain’s most impoverished and disenfranchised students and young offenders.
Hailed, early in his career, as one of the Years Best by the legendary Lyricist Lounge, Kenny Baraka has since gone on to record, perform and tour internationally with such industry greats as De La Soul, Burning Spear, Omar, Rodney P, Common Sense, Shortee Blitz, Supernatural and A Tribe Called Quest, just to name a few. Kenny has been touring London and the U.K. extensively for the past few years, performing, compere’ing, speaking schools and youth organizations, as well as facilitating engaging arts education workshops that deal with everything from creative writing and performance art to cultural awareness and personal management. His most recent recording effort, a spoken word album entitled Conversations With The Yout’ was recognised by the English Poetry Book Society as one of the country’s best spoken word records of the year.
Kenny was recently commissioned to write and produce an original HipHopera for a London arts academy, and is also currently working with England’s Arts Council to develop a new multi-media educational model fusing together creative writing, performance poetry and animation.
Kenny uses a cross-disciplinary, interactive, action learning model designed to engage [young] people, quickly assess their innate talents and knowledge and then develop them; having workshop participants actually putting into physical practice the basic knowledge and skills of everything from recording industry theory and application to performance art and creative writing.