Taina Asili offers creative and engaging workshops pulling from her decades long history as a social change songwriter and community organizer. For over 15 years Taína has offered a variety workshops at conferences, schools and community organizations. She has experience working with both children and adults, and with marginalized populations including incarcerated women, refugees and union workers. Taina has an MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College.
To book a workshop, class visit or speaking engagement email info[at]tainaasili.com
All workshops can be in presentation, discussion and/or creative art format. Approximate time is 1-2 hrs.:
Reclaim the Thunder: Songs For Social Change [watch video]
This workshop shares methods Taina Asili has gathered from her long history writing poems and songs that seek to reclaim power, break barriers inspire, and unite. The workshop begins by looking at historical and contemporary examples of social change songs and songwriters. She then guides participants in a hands-on songwriting exercise, first turning our ideas into lyrics, and later, bringing these words to the music. This workshop is open to people of all ages and artistic levels, from beginner poets to experienced emcees and singers. Join us in this interactive radical music jam to reinvent our world!
Freedom: Ending Mass Incarceration
This workshop uses Taina Asili’s music video “Freedom” as a starting place to talk about how mass incarceration and state violence in the U.S. are intimately linked with this country’s history of slavery and white supremacy. We talk about how today’s movements (i.e.: Black LivesMatter) are part of a long and powerful legacy of resistance. We highlight important lessons from Taina’s long time work in the prisoner justice movement, discuss the role of music and art in this movement, and engage participants in strategizing for the work ahead.
And We Walk: Steps Towards Climate Justice
This workshop will use Taina Asili’s music video “And We Walk” as a starting place to talk about the ways people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have used their bodies by walking, standing, sitting, and running to protest violence towards our Earth. We will discuss the meaning of climate justice, the role of music and art in this movement, and what contributions participants can make towards this work.
Behind the Scenes: Media and Social Change
Taina Asili and Gaetano Vaccaro (la Banda Rebelde guitarist, co-songwriter, and director of photography/editor for their music videos), will take participants on a behind the scenes look at the making of their last three music videos, as well as the creation of several short documentaries about the Rock Against The TPP tour. Gaetano will talk about his role as a filmmaker for social change with Sunangel Media, as well as his role as media educator with the award-winning youth film program YouthFX. Taina and Gaetano will discuss ways participants can offer meaningful contributions to social change through media creation.
Social Media Videos
Want to make short videos to showcase your organization or artistry online? Taina Asili and filmmaker Gaetano Vaccaro offer a hands-on, practical workshop for organisations and artists who want to create their own videos to engage people on social media. The workshop covers the practical skills of shooting, editing and uploading video, but also looks at how to do so cheaply and easily, and how to make your videos as part of an effective social media strategy. No video making experience required, just your creativity!
Arts In Action
Ever been to a boring protest that lacked the vibrancy of art? As the co-founder of Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration’s Arts In Action Committee, and decades long community organizer and artist, Taina Asili will offer tools to utilize art in our organizing efforts. From performance arts, to sign and banner making, to video and photography, art has the potential to make our movements more visible and potent. In this interactive workshop, Taina will share strategies for making participant’s organizing efforts more imaginative, engaging and vibrant.
Following The Rhythm of Rebellion: My Story
Taina tells the story of her twenty-two year career as a singer and songwriter for social change. Taina’s unique story begins as the daughter of Latin-jazz musician, eventually training as an opera singer, and later becoming the lead vocalist for the renowned punk band Antiproduct, making records distributed throughout the world. Taina career transitions to working as a professional spoken word artist in Philadelphia, leading her to win the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award alongside Sonia Sanchez. Her story eventually leads her to Albany, NY where she forms Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde, and then the adventure really begins. She discusses the challenges she has faced as a queer women of color in a variety of artistic genres, and lessons and tools she has gathered along the way.
The Daily Gazette “Writing Songs That Right Wrongs”
ALBANY — Simple songs or chants can often serve as a uniting force to provoke social change. One believer in that idea is Taina Asili. She conducted a workshop Sunday at the Albany Social Justice Center, where visitors were given an opportunity to analyze songs by artists such as Pete Seeger and Nina Simone. The group of eight then broke into four teams to craft their own songs about social change. Read more…
The Times Union “Raising Their Voices”
“As long as music has existed,” said Taina Asili, a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter based in Albany, “it’s responded to what’s been going on in the world. … Most good music, I would say, comes out of communities that have been oppressed, in some ways.” She noted flamenco music and gypsies in Spain. The music of Latin America. The salsa of Ruben Blades, the protest piano jazz of Nina Simone (“Mississippi Goddam”). Read more…