For Kiran Vedula music has always been a way for him to meet people, to have confidence in himself and to help people have joy. Vedula is a musician, producer and educator based in Milwaukee. He’s also the founder of Flutes at Dawn, a community-based performing arts non-profit focused on music, dance and digital media.
“The keyword with Flutes at Dawn’s mission is cross-cultural understanding,” said Vedula.
Vedula’s show, Hip Hop DNA, is a tribute to the music of hip-hop that’s made up of drum breaks, samples and a lineage of traditional rhythms. It captivates that cross-cultural understanding that’s foundational to his mission by tracing the connections between Hip Hop and different cultures.
The organization did 12 weeks of Hip Hop DNA workshops with the most advanced students being a part of the performance. The performers vary in age and include several kids.
“Even when I first started working with kids, it wasn’t my words or who I was it was the music that connected me to them,” Vedula said.
While he’s always looking for someone to inspire and help him, he’s also always looking for someone to mentor and help. To him, education and mentorship are in his blood.
“I think that’s also a part of my culture as an Indian and literally a boy like me when I was nine or 10. I would actually go to live with my teacher, my guru, my mentor,” Vedula said.
As an educator, he’s found a lot of success and fulfillment working with kids.
“That youthful energy always feeds back into my music too,” Vedula said. “It helps me stay young. helps me stay fresh.”
To Vedula it’s less about what music means to him but rather what music has done for him. Music has led Vedula to have other opportunities besides just being on stage, he’s been a to table to speak in front of people, write, study and teach.
“[Music] has been a beautiful backbone,” Vedula said.