LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Sounds from Afar: Using Global Music to Educate and Empower on Global Affairs and Refugee Issues

We've found that food and music have the remarkable ability to transcend barriers, bringing people together and creating a sense of unity, serving as powerful tools for discussing difficult topics like displacement and the refugee crisis. With the success of our culinary program, Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded Flavors from Afar, we're thrilled to introduce a new initiative to Los Angeles called 'Sounds from Afar,' an immersive listening experience and vinyl music bar.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Immigrant and Refugee Support

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Tiyya is rewriting the narrative. We believe that those who have triumphed over displacement possess a unique alchemical power to create vibrant lives in the face of loss. Our mission centers around celebrating diverse stories and cultures, empowering participants to recognize their life experiences as valuable expertise to be preserved and shared through the art of storytelling, culinary traditions, and active engagement in the community. As music has the power to transcend borders, languages, and cultural barriers, our new initiative 'Sounds from Afar' aims to preserve the rich elements of global music while utilizing vinyl as a medium to educate individuals about displacement from the unique perspective of musicians. Our curated experiences will immerse attendees in diverse cultural traditions while shedding light on the complexities of the refugee and immigrant experience, so often lost in translation. Genres of music will be centered around Disco, House, Jazz, and Soul.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

In addition to Tiyya's comprehensive programming for refugee families, our gatherings are specially designed to develop community in a meaningful way. This is a great space for those seeking new experiences and to expand their network. Rooted in international cuisines and global music, experiences are intended to reimagine belonging after displacement. Sounds from Afar will take place on a monthly basis at our new restaurant space in East Hollywood (soft opening this fall), inviting guests to enjoy a unique listening experience while learning about difficult refugee related global topics. During our current pilot period, Tiyya is working with Tana Yonas, a DJ focused on storytelling of underrepresented communities. With the support of grant funds, Tiyya plans to expand the impact of Sounds from Afar by collaborating with esteemed musicology instructors from local colleges and universities such as UCLA's renowned musicology department that boasts the largest archive of global music in the country. We'll also collaborate with industry partners and local and international DJs to curate music that pairs perfectly with our rotating cuisines at Flavors from Afar.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Genres such as disco, house, jazz, and soul music have transcended geographical boundaries, connecting people across diverse backgrounds long before the capabilities of today's technology. Tiyya's hope is for Sounds from Afar to offer a unique intergenerational experience in Los Angeles, bringing together individuals of different cultures and age demographics, fostering a shared celebration of this captivating music - while learning about important topics currently facing refugee communities. Sounds from Afar will ultimately become an educational platform that entertains and enlightens participants about the rich heritage and diverse experiences reflected in global music - and in the immigrant community in Los Angeles. This will be the first concept like this in Los Angeles that utilizes vinyl music to create a one-of-a-kind experience, combining global affairs education with immersive global music.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The success of our program hinges on the participation of our audience. We believe that an ideal number to begin with is an average of 45 guests per session. By keeping the sessions at this size, we can ensure an intimate and immersive listening experience that captivates our attendees and allows for meaningful interactions. This setting will also encourage open discussions and allow us to gain valuable insights from our attendees. We'll provide follow-up online surveys and evaluation forms for both our guests, talented DJs, and visiting lecturers. This feedback will play a pivotal role in shaping future events, as we strive to enhance what went well and address areas that can be further improved.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 540

Indirect Impact: 2,700