NPR

Oakland Collective SOL Development Preserves The 'The SOL Of Black Folk'

Members of the West Coast jazz and hip-hip group discuss SOL Development's debut album and the role music plays in community activism.
The members of SOL Development (Left to right): Brittany Tanner, Felicia Gangloff-Bailey, Karega Bailey and Lauren Adams. Source: Brian Freeman

The West Coast music scene has a new group to champion. The music of Oakland's SOL Development has been described as jazz, hip-hop, and, of course, soulful. The four-person collective's style may sound familiar but the member's backgrounds are not. They're teachers and classically trained musicians who use music in the classrooms to promote learning.

Though the group is now based in the Oakland area, three of the group's members met while attending Hampton University in Virginia. After college, one member Karega Bailey spent a few years teaching in Washington, D.C., which helped inform his in Oakland where they frequently bring their music into classroom conversations. The group's name, which is an acronym for Source of Light, represents a teaching tool the artists use that allows students to transcend everyday strains of being black in America.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR7 min read
Federal Clampdown On Burning Man Imperils Festival's Free Spirit Ethos, Say Burners
As the Bureau of Land Management tightens its grip on the annual gathering's population growth at Nevada's Black Rock desert, a freewheeling community finds its core identity under threat.
NPR3 min readPolitics
Tennessee Governor Faces Backlash for Honoring Confederate General And KKK Leader
The day of observation for Nathan Bedford Forrest follows a decades-long tradition of honoring him and other Confederate leaders, as mandated by state law.
NPR2 min readPolitics
China's Economy Falters; Slowest Growth In Nearly 3 Decades
The pace of growth in the second quarter was its slowest since 1992. The National Bureau of Statistics attributed the change to a complicated international environment.