Colby and Awu’s journey began this past summer (2012) in Bamenda, Cameroon. Colby Jeffers went there with his wife, Mallory, to volunteer with a nonprofit organization called “The Greens,” which focuses on environmentalism and youth empowerment. He had learned about The Greens through the founder of the organization, Ngalim Njaiwo, who happened to be a classmate in an online Peace Education course offered by Teachers Without Borders. Through the online course, the students all explored the various components of peace education, such as the history/theories, as well as the different methods and techniques to build peace through education.
During the volunteer trip, Colby had the pleasure of meeting Awu Donson, who is The Greens’ “Director of Green Music.” Green music is music that highlights environmentalism, peace, social justice, and anything that aims to improve the world. Awu and Colby quickly became good friends, as they both shared a passion for using music to build peace and drive positive change. As a result, they decided to collaborate, and ended up creating two songs while Colby was in Cameroon, “Change the World” and “Paradigm.” Their music is a blend of pop and hip-hop, with some African roots mixed in. They aim to provide songs that inspire and uplift the hearts of their listeners, and get people to reflect deeply about life.
Colby had virtually no musical background prior to meeting Awu (other than rapping along to songs while listening to music in his car). He always enjoyed finding and sharing songs that promote positive values, such as peace and unity, especially since most songs in the mainstream tend to promote negative values. He had written a couple of songs before, but never really did much with them, until he met Awu. Awu, on the other hand, has loved music for most of his life. He loves singing, whether it’s on stage at a musical performance, at a community gathering, or by himself in his room. Pursuing music has been a challenge for him, however, due to the lack of musical opportunities in Cameroon. When Colby and Awu met, things just sort of “clicked” and they ended up putting their talents together to make some sweet music!
Since Colby’s return to the United States, he and Awu have continued to collaborate via the internet. They have built up a small base of fans in their local communities, as well as in the online community. There seems to be a high demand from their respective communities as well from the larger online one for positive music that promotes peace and unity! Numerous comments about how their music is “refreshing” and “what the world needs” keep them motivated and inspired to make more music. They are currently working on producing a full-length album which includes an array of tracks that humanity can turn to for inspiration and motivation. Through online collaboration, they now have 7 more songs that are currently in production (to add to the two that are complete), and they’re hoping that they will be finished in the next couple of months. Once the additional 7 are produced, they’ll release their first full album.
People can get updates about the album, a mini-tour in Phoenix, Arizona (pending approval of Awu’s cultural exchange visa application) and listen to (and download) their music for free online.