Dreamville Sudanese-American artist, Bas, starts the year off with his first release, “Smoke From Fire” with The Hics, out today. The Deputy produced track acts as an affirmation and reminder to never lose hope when facing adversity. “’Smoke from Fire’ is about coming out a destructive space and rising above it,” Bas explains. “Out of this fire, this destructive force, we rise above and we rebuild, reinvent and keep progressing.”
“Smoke From Fire” is the official theme song for Bas’ new podcast “The Messenger”. It focuses on prolific Ugandan musician-turned activist, Bobi Wine and chronicles his transition from iconic musician to a fearless politician leading a movement to highlight and challenge the current oppressive regime over Uganda.
This series puts a spotlight on the political revolutions emerging throughout Africa, often on the backs of successful artists who are using their audiences to unite and dismantle decades of political oppression, violence, and corruption. The podcast comes just in time for Uganda’s pivotal election on January 14th, 2021.
“The Messenger” is a co-production between Dreamville Studios, Awfully Nice Productions & Spotify, and is executive produced by Candace Rodney (President of Dreamville Studios), Adam Roy, Ibrahim Hamad, and Jermaine Cole for Dreamville; Jesse Burton for Awfully Nice.
Always balancing his bravado with a relatable sense of humility, Dreamville’s first signee, Bas, continues to solidify himself as one of the most respected and authentic artists in the world. Since his debut album Last Winterin 2014 and the acclaimed follow-up Too Highto Riot in 2016, Bas has cultivated a dedicated fan community, known as the “Fiends,” and has included both his heritage and a global perspective into his soundscape. #17 on Billboard ’s Top Rap Albums of 2018, Milky Way , Bas’s latest album, was deemed his strongest and most sonically ambitious album to date. A power player on Dreamville’s 2019 historical #1 album, Revenge Of The Dreamers III, Bas received Grammy nominations, including “Best Rap Album” and “Best Rap Performance” for the stand-out single, “Down Bad.” Bas also earned his first Billboard Hot 100 placements with “Down Bad” and “Costa Rica.” Earlier in 2019, Bas branched out sonically with his EP, Spilled Milk I , which featured an outstanding supporting cast (Ari Lennox, Earthgang, J.I.D, Kidomminant, and Falcons) and strong collaborative projects like his single, “Risk” with French multi-instrumentalist artistFKJ. More of the unexpected is set to come from Bas as he prepares for his forthcoming album with longtime collaborators The Hics.
About The Hics
THE HICS are a London duo comprised of Sam Paul Evans and Rox Barker. They fuse their unique musical backgrounds and vocal styles to form a harmonic synergy, born from their love of Jazz, Soul, Electronic and Folk — THE HICS have become a one of a kind sophisti-pop soul duo.
At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.
Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.”
Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth.
Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.
“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.”
This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.
For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through
“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed.
One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.
She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”
Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.”
Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism.
While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with.
She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her.
While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”
This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”
But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most.
However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.”
Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place.
With monetary prizes, mentorship, and access to global organizations, worth up to US$1 million, the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity brings together a community of ‘makers’ to tackle some of the world’s toughest societal problems that affect over 1 billion people globally. In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Prosperity Initiative aims to empower entrepreneurs, innovators and technologists to drive social innovation and promote global good.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity combines the Global Maker Challenge, an online open-innovation platform designed to promote and accelerate global prosperity through product innovation; and the Global Prosperity Award, a prestigious global accolade that recognizes and rewards corporate social responsibility that advances resilience, community, harmony and dignity across the world.
The Global Maker Challenge consists of four challenges, each targeting a specific global issue which global organizations can adopt as part of their corporate social responsibility. The four challenges were determined in partnership with eight UN agencies and, so far, over 1,100 submissions have poured in from 83 countries, with strong participation from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) such as Uganda, Laos, Sudan, and Congo.
Each of the winning solutions to the four challenges will be presented to a panel of international experts brought together by the University of Cambridge IfM to demonstrate its socio-economic impact and its contribution to advancing one or more of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panel will then determine the solution with the greatest socio-economic impact in order for its adopting organization to qualify for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s Global Prosperity Award as a recognition of its corporate social responsibility.
Badr Al-Olama, Head of the Organizing Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS), said: “The University of Cambridge has a long history of innovation in the fields of science and technology that has contributed immensely to society, a goal which is at the heart of the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity. Our platform has already inspired innovators from all corners of the world to come forward and solve issues that we face together, whether that be in bridging the digital divide or eliminating hunger. Through our cooperation with the University of Cambridge, and our partnerships with global organizations, we can also encourage greater corporate social responsibility through the adoption of these solutions and promote global good through the international business community.”
Tim Minshall, Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation & Head of the Institute for Manufacturing, said: “The Institute for Manufacturing are pleased to be part of this initiative which highlights the importance of taking innovative approaches to solving real-world problems. We are looking forward to hearing from innovators whose novel ideas have the potential to make a positive and lasting impact on global prosperity.”
The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity was first launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, during the inaugural Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit, held at the Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi in March 2017.
Azuri Technologies, a leader in pay-as-you-go solar in Africa and crowdfunding platform Energise Africa today announced the latest phase of debt financing from UK impact investors to deliver affordable, clean energy and help solve the energy crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Azuri and Energise Africa collaboration plans to raise £2.5 million for pay-as-you-go-solar and help more than 100,000 off-grid people in Sub-Saharan Africa access clean, affordable energy.
The investment will support low-income families in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania.
More than 600 million people across Africa live without access to electricity – limiting their life chances of achieving economic prosperity and improved quality of life. Universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services is one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and can only be met with access to sufficient investment.
Crowdfunding has emerged as a powerful way of financing the off-grid solar industry and is leading the way in increasing investor interest in the market.
Through Energise Africa, individuals in the UK can invest from as little as £50 in bonds, issued by solar businesses, to provide clean and affordable energy access, while targeting annual returns of 6%. Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed.
Azuri is a leader in pay-as-you-go solar technology and since 2012 has been supplying affordable solar home systems and products to the millions across Africa living off-grid without access to mains electricity.
In 2018, Azuri and Energise Africa raised £1.7 million from hundreds of UK investors to deliver clean, affordable energy products to more than 16,000 families in sub-Saharan Africa.
Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri said: “Azuri is delighted to extend our partnership with Energise Africa and their community of UK-based retail investors to finance off-grid solar projects. With this innovative financing, thousands more households will be able to access modern solar energy for the first time.”
Lisa Ashford, Managing Director Energise Africa said: “Through Energise Africa, we are committed to providing UK based people with easily accessible opportunities to invest directly in sustainable businesses that can tackle climate change, create long-term social and environmental impact, and also deliver a potential financial return. We’re looking forward to the prospect of working with Azuri Technologies again to help accelerate the achievement of UN SDG 7.
Energise Africa has been developed by Ethex and Lendahand – two of Europe’s leading impact investing companies and is also supported by UK aid, Virgin Unite, Good Energies Foundation and P4G.
Over the past 20 months the Energise Africa community of investors has generated over £7.57 million for 12 solar businesses to provide 312,000 people in 10 African countries with access to clean energy, which has prevented almost 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere annually and also repaid almost £1.8 million back to investors.
Investing in Energise Africa projects via the www.energiseafrica.co.uk site involves risk, including the loss of all of your invested capital, illiquidity (the inability to sell assets quickly or without substantial loss in value), and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio.
The investment opportunities on www.energiseafrica.co.uk are not an offer to the public in any jurisdiction and are available only to registered members of the platform who have certified that they are eligible to invest. Any person who is not resident in the United Kingdom who wishes to view these investment opportunities must first satisfy themselves that they are eligible to do so under the securities laws and regulations applicable to them. This site does not constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities to any person in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitation would be unlawful.
In respect of its regulated activities, Lendahand Ethex Ltd is an appointed representative of Share In Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 603332).
Volcanoes Safaris Launches the Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project in Uganda: Safeguarding the Gorge
Volcanoes Safaris is thrilled to announce the launch of the Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project. The Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism project has undertaken a series of activities since 2009 to safeguard the Kyambura Gorge ecosystem. The strategic assembling of four adjoining sites next to the Gorge over the last ten years seeks to ensure that the gorge is safeguarded for the long term.
Today, Volcanoes Safaris and Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust are the single largest stakeholders in the Gorge ecosystem after the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. Without the intervention of VS and VSPT, the survival of the gorge and chimps would be under severe threat.
The goal of the integrated eco-tourism partnership project is to safeguard this extremely fragile ecosystem through the protection of the land around the gorge and connecting the Kyambura Gorge Lodge with targeted conservation and community activities. This will ensure that one of the most important areas for avian, primate and wildlife biodiversity in Africa is preserved.
Speaking at the launch of the Kyambura Gorge Project, Praveen Moman, Founder, Volcanoes Safaris said, “The Albertine Rift stretches from Murchison Falls to the Virunga volcanoes. It is one the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. It is also one of the most densely populated areas of Africa. The challenges of safeguarding habitats for wildlife, preserving wilderness, creating world class tourism products, maximising revenue from tourism, ensuring communities have a substantial stake, remain enormous. VS and VSPT have been working on the Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism project for 10 years. The strategic assembling of the four sites that were under severe threat aims to protect the Kyambura gorge ecosystem in perpetuity.” Moman added, “We are also enhancing and expanding our community and conservation activities. We have introduced a series of walks around the Lodge, in the buffer and in the wetland so that guests can experience this magnificent area. Guests will be asked to plant a tree in the buffer zone to appreciate its significance and to encourage them to support the expansion of the buffer; we will also continue our efforts at creating a community conservancy area; and to see how we can link the lost chimps of Kyambura with chimps in another forest. We are proud to make this significant contribution to the future of the Kyambura Gorge system.”
The four sites that were under severe threat are: the Southern site on which the Kyambura Gorge Lodge is built; the VSPT HQ site on the Northern side; the wetland site on the East; the three km buffer zone along the gorge to the West.
The Kyambura Gorge Eco-tourism Project is the latest example of the pioneering work undertaken by Volcanoes Safaris (VS) and the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT).
Kyambura Wetland – VS has reclaimed this wetland at the beginning of the Gorge from an illegal brickwork operation over the last decade. One of the most significant interventions to protect the Gorge, the wetland is now regenerating rapidly back to its natural state. The rejuvenated wetland now attracts over 200 species of birds and is used to train members of the community in birding and guiding. Guests can participate in a 2-hour guided walk in the wetland. This project has been a key success for the VSPT, particularly regarding its ecosystem conservation.
Kyambura Gorge Buffer – VSPT has worked on purchasing the 3km long buffer along the northern part of the Gorge since 2009. With the purchase completed at the end of 2018, a 3-hour guided walk has been developed and is offered to guests to showcase the buffer created by the project, the scenic views over the Gorge, the Park and Kyambura reserve, and the chance to experience the local homesteads.
Kyambura Conservation Centre – The Kyambura Conservation Centre site based on the northern side of the Gorge at the VSPT centre. The Conservation Centre serves as a Training Centre for Conservation and communities.
Kyambura Community Café – Located at the Conservation Centre, the Kyambura Community Café trains local disadvantaged youth in hospitality.
Kyambura Coffee – The growing and processing of coffee by the community will continue to be a central part of the project. Kyambura coffee from the VSPT cooperative for women will be available for guests to purchase.
Kyambura Community Playground – VSPT has created a community playground to encourage and allow local school children to play games and sports, especially soccer.
Kyambura Gorge Walk – this short walk (45 mins) offer guests the opportunity to experience the unique landscape around the Lodge, between the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge and the community.
Volcanoes Safaris is recognized as the leader in great ape tourism. The company received the Travel + Leisure Global Vision (2012) and Condé Nast Traveller World Savers (2013) awards. In 2016 the VSPT Bwindi Bar near Bwindi Lodge won the Pure Community Engagement award for training disadvantaged youths; and Virunga Lodge was recognized as Africa’s most romantic retreat by the World Boutique Awards. In 2017 Volcanoes Safaris lodges have been ranked on Condé Nast Traveller’s list of the best Africa Resorts in their 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
Volcanoes Safaris Founder, Praveen Moman, spoke at TedXBend in March 2018 to share his philosophy that making conservation part of the economic mainstream is the key to saving the great apes of Africa. Watch online here.
These are seven of the most remote luxury destinations that are only one extra flight away
Islas Secas – Gulf of Chiriqui-Panama
Puddle jumping from: Panama City to Islas Secas’ 14 private islands (90 minutes private charter)
Set to open in January 2019, Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge is an exclusive retreat raising the bar in luxury and sustainability tourism in Panama. Situated 20 miles off the coast, Islas Secas is an archipelago made up of 14 private islands, accessible by a 90-minute private charter flight from Panama City or a 45-minute boat ride from David. Guests are greeted by a guide and escorted to a private, direct, 90-minute charter flight to Islas Secas. Hosting up to 18 guests at one time, visitors have access to their own boat and captain to be able to explore the different islands at leisure. When not relaxing at their luxurious casitas, each with their own plunge pool with view, or indulging in fresh local seafood at the dramatic Terraza, guests are invited on a marine safari to explore the surrounding islands with activities including fishing, diving or snorkeling.
Puddle jumping from: Batam (75 minute flight via seaplane)
Surrounded by turquoise blue waters and enveloped by lush tropical greenery, Bawah Reserve is hailed as South East Asia’s newest and most exciting opening and lies in sheltered seclusion 160 nautical miles northeast of Singapore in Indonesia’s remote Anambas Archipelago. The pristine paradise is the only retreat in Asia to include all spa treatments, guest experiences and transport via its new amphibious seaplane. After a quick ferry ride from Singapore to Batam, guests load up on Bawah Reserve’s own seaplane for a 75-minute journey to the six-island private archipelago, home to the boutique property as well as 13 pristine beaches and three crystal clear lagoons. Allowing 70 guests maximum at a time, travelers have the luxury of exploring the marine conservation area, taking on an island trek or simply relaxing in an overwater bungalow or their beach suite in true style.
Puddle jumping from: Kigali (40 minute flight via helicopter)
Just a 40 minute flight from the bustling city of Kigali, Volcanoes Safaris’ newly refurbished Bwindi Lodge is a true hidden gem tucked into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. All eight guest accommodations, also known as ‘bandas’, plus the main lodge and dining area, have been beautifully renovated and the brand new addition of the Forest Spa, Humula mw’ Ishamba (from the Rukiga language, which means “relax in the forest”) invites guests to enjoy locally inspired treatments on a complimentary basis. What really makes this adventure to the jungle worth it is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come face to face with Uganda’s critically endangered mountain gorilla.
Puddle jumping from: Talkeetna (30 minute flight via helicopter)
Getting to this luxurious 10-person chalet in the heart of Alaska’s Denali National Park, is half the fun. The scenic helicopter journey from Talkeetna soars over miles of pristine, protected lands before arriving at Sheldon Chalet, the only hotel within the park. Upon arrival, travelers are greeted with an extravagant buffet complete with the freshest Alaskan seafood and champagne. After settling in, guests can take part in a host of adventures from glacier trekking to igloo building in the Alaskan wilderness, or simply stay inside in front of the fire and watch the greatest show on earth – the Aurora Borealis.
Puddle jumping from: Belize City (30 minute flight via plane)
Take it one step further upon your arrival into Belize City and dive deep into the Belizean jungle. The luxurious San Ignacio Resort Hotel is the only centrally located property in town and is ideally situated for adventure tours to nearby archaeological parks, caves and nature reserves. The property boasts views of rainforest and wildlife from each of its 26 rooms and is only a two-hour drive to the famous Tikal Ruins in Guatemala.
Traveling between the “Big 3 National Parks” – Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite — can be a daunting experience. To maximize your time and to allow for day stops at other “Hidden Gem” parks on connection days, consider the “Big 3 National Parks Flying Safari” with Revealed America, the only company with the expertise, connections and relationships to design fully customized active vacations in the National Parks and National Monuments. This is the ultimate way for a private jet owner or club member to tour all 3 parks in a week, without long drives or multiple air connections. Fly into Fresno to start at Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where you can enjoy two days of touring and hiking with your private driver-guide amidst the waterfalls and rock formations of the park. Then fly your private jet directly to the Grand Canyon Airport for two days of hiking and biking in the off-the beaten path areas of the Grand Canyon. From there fly to Moab, Utah for a day of exploring Arches National Park’s backcountry roads and arches not open to the public with your private guide. Continue on to Bozeman, Montana for two days of activity including wildlife viewing, touring the geysers and other geothermal features, hiking, biking, fly-fishing and more.
Puddle jumping around Switzerland with Giardino Group
With four properties in some of Switzerland’s finest locations, it can be hard to choose where to kick-off your vacation. Enjoy it all, from the views over Lake Maggiore, the city life of Zurich and then to the mountains near St. Moritz’ for an alpine adventure. Guests can combine all on one visit with the convenient air taxi, Mountainflyers. The exclusive helicopter partner of Giardino Group, allows guests to soar high above the Alps and arrive on property quickly and conveniently. Upon arrival, travelers are invited to enjoy the finer things in life, such as Michelin-starred dining and Ayurvedic spa treatments.