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New Groove Meets Old Groove: Soul Inscribed at Woodstock

A “new rare groove” project fuses Hip Hop lyrics with funk, dub, jazz and dance liquidity in a rural school-community outreach residency.

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More Souls Become Inscribed

Posted on October 26, 2017 by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
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Hundreds of middle school kids in rural upstate New York are feeling the poetry in their words and the power of their musical potential this week after the week-long residency of Soul Inscribed – funded in part by New Music USA.

Now in its second year, the “new rare groove” project produced by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, fuses Hip Hop lyrics with funk, dub, jazz and dance liquidity in the school-community-arts center collaboration. 

The late October week began with an assembly-performance for seven schools – a packed house at the Bethel Woods Event Gallery. It ended with a community performance where parents and siblings joined in the music and dance inspiration. In between, some 500 middle schoolers tapped into the energy and passion of Soul Inscribed as well as their own creative propensities through music making, lyric writing and dance improv in their own schools and classrooms.

Soul Inscribed leader Baba Israel lifted the spirits of all by invoking the magic of Woodstock – he never misses the chance to note the importance of what happened at the historic 1969 concert site, let the young people feel his awe and learn to find their own.

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Soul Inscribed – Ready, Set …

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
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We’re all set! Seven schools from within a radius of about 50 miles from our upstate NY arts center will be joining Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for the middle school kick-off performance of E3: Engage. Experience. Explore. with hip-hop, funk, dub and jazz fusionistas Soul Inscribed as they begin their one-week residency with us. After the show, Soul Inscribed will give their soul-elevating workshops in two of our biggest school districts, Monticello and Sullivan West. And don’t forget, Soul Inscribed wraps it all up with a free community performance on Saturday, Oct. 21, just before they head back to the city. We may be 100 miles north and west of New York City, but our location at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival – and the mission it provides us – opens the door to all kinds of coolness.

Amping Up for Soul Inscribed

Posted on September 27, 2017 by Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
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It’ll be a little like this video scene in some upstate New York public school classrooms next month when Soul Inscribed returns  for their next engagement in the E3: Engage. Experience. Explore initiative. After their work in the schools, the jazz, funk, dub fusion ensemble will once again lead the public performance at Bethel Woods, the arts center that’s been established at the nearby historic 1969 Woodstock festival site in Bethel, NY (a site that’s now on the National Register of Historic Places!)

Says Soul Inscribed’s frontman Baba Israel:

“Soul Inscribed is thrilled to return to Bethel Woods. Our last experience there was uplifting and inspiring. Not only did we have a chance to grow as artists and take inspiration from such a historical location but we also got to connect with local young folks with a passion for music and expression. In the challenging times we are in there is a powerful legacy at Bethel Woods that reminds is to gather in a spirit of unity and positive change. We developed new ideas and material that are still part of our show and that feel more relevant than ever. We are looking forward to connecting more with the community, with ourselves as artists, and with the rich history of the land.”


After a sublimely impactful engagement in 2016, the arts and humanities program at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts – located at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival – seeks a return residency of Soul Inscribed in 2017.

The New York based four-piece band mixes Hip Hop poetics and soulful vocals, propelled by a blend of jazz, funk and dub instrumentals. In a second one-week residency, the E3 (Engage. Experience. Explore) school-to-community project at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will again partner with Soul Inscribed for workshops and performances in several rural upstate New York Schools capped by a free public performance at the Bethel Woods 400-seat indoor venue.

Featuring MC/producer Baba Israel , vocalist Duv, saxophonist/flutist Sean Nowell and multi-instrumentalist/producer Yako 440 on guitar and bass, Soul Inscribed flows between crafted songs and improvisation grounded in the traditions of Jazz and Hip Hop. All four members are also human beatboxers who weave vocal percussion into their shows.

For their Bethel Woods Center for the Arts residency, the ensemble will again add Hip Hop dancer Ken Fury. Soul Inscribed members are also arts educators and have brought their music to young audiences across the world.

The program E3 gives participants the opportunity to engage, experience, and explore the arts through exposure to high quality performing groups. E3 seeks to inspire future artists, expose participants to innovative approaches to art, and encourage self-expression.

In 2016, the Soul Inscribed one-week E3 residency and culminating performance reached 642 students and adults in a program that involved 6 schools spread across 30 miles.

During the residency, Soul Inscribed plus Ken Fury reside on the grounds of Bethel Woods – the place where Woodstock happened. Like other artists before them, the band members reported on their transformative and creative experience, not the least of which had to do with composing and playing their music in the woodland Conservatory – no neighbors to disturb!

The group not only composed music while in residency, group leader Baba Israel composed and then delivered his poem/lyrics in the public performance, excerpted here:

the sixties a time of turmoil, dreams, and the magic of possibility

Television blooming

Materialism booming

Militarism looming

The Vietnam war

A vision rising like a guitar solo, amplified, distorted and filled with beauty

Rippling rolling, draft resisters, magic missions

Signs in the street,

1234 we dont want your war

I started to feel something awake, to know that in these times is when we can step up

I have been talking to strangers a lot more, I have been hugging random people in the streets

So let’s honor the spirit of of gathering of community

Of generosity of possibility … “


About Bethel Woods

Located 90 miles from New York City in Bethel, NY, at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, Bethel Woods educates individuals about the issues and lessons of the decade while inspiring a new generation to contribute positively to the world around them.


Project Media

Soul Inscribed Live Show Taster
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Features: Soul Inscribed

A collection of live performances by Soul Inscribed – provides a good overview of the work of our collaborator. All passages pertain to our E3 project and to this funding request.

Collection published on Sep 28, 2015, includes:

Summerstage (Queens Bridge Park) July 17, 2015 filmed by Simon Yu Productions

Bowery Ballroom opening for @rising appalachia May 8 2015 filmed by Kate Hess

BlueNote Jazz club Jan 2, 2015 filmed by Simon Yu Productions

Cumbre Tajin Mexico March 23, 2015

Rockwood Music Hall April 17, 2015 filmed by Kate Hess

Ken Fury Dance
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Features: Soul Inscribed

Selected clips of Ken Fury from various events – designed to illustrate the dance component of the Soul Inscribed residency and performance. All segments are applicable.
Published to Youtube Dec 17, 2015

The song used is Metal – Gary Numan

Supreme Beingz, Float Committee NYC


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“Metal” by Gary Numan Listen ad-free with YouTube Red

Bethel Woods Arts and Humanities Education overview (prepared for the fundraising event “Fifth Annual Wine Pairing Dinner”)
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This video, produced for a fundraising event, gives a broad overview of the Arts and Humanities Education program which is the umbrella for E3: Engage. Experience. Explore – the project that seeks New Music USA funding.

Video published to Youtube Oct 26, 2016
Watch how the spirit and ideals of the 1960s and the Woodstock festival are influencing lives and helping to affect positive change in the world.

Category – Music
License – Standard YouTube License
Music – “Sea of Madness (Live Woodstock)” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Start and End Dates



Bethel, New York

3 updates
Last update on October 26, 2017


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