The Beast: Hip Hop/Jazz Band and Educators

The Beast: Hip Hop/Jazz Band and Educators

Beautifully rebellious and refreshingly original, The Beast is one of the most imaginative bands to emerge from North Carolina’s burgeoning music scene. The Durham-based quartet fearlessly navigates worlds of hip hop and jazz with compelling lyrics, progressive compositions and a gripping live show. The Beast developed its sound at UNC-Chapel Hill where pianist Eric Hirsh, drummer Stephen Coffman, and bassist Peter Kimosh studied jazz, while emcee Pierce Freelon developed his intelligent lyricism in classrooms and music venues across campus. The quartet joined forces after graduating in 2007. The Beast is dedicated to education and cultural outreach. The group has developed workshops on creativity, improvisation, and the history of African-American music based on the Blackademics Hip Hop curriculum founded by Freelon. A professor of African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and NC Central University, Freelon’s workshops have reached a multi-generational audience from New York to New Delhi.


  2835 Stuart Dr., Durham, NC 27707



Sankofa: African American Music from Spirituals to...

Program description

In “SANKOFA: African American Music from Spirituals to Hip Hop” students will learn elements of Storytelling, Improvisation and Call and Response in American Music. A brilliant mix of TedTalk-style interactive lecture with an exciting live band, SANKOFA educates and entertains. Students will learn about the oral tradition through the West African storyteller/poet known as the Griot; explore coded language in Spirituals; join musicians on stage to discover improvisation in Jazz; learn call and response in Reggae, and party with their teachers to some classic Hip Hop.

Developed by Pierce Freelon, a college professor, hip hop artist, and father of two, the curriculum is entertaining and informative for all ages. The performance will be tailored to appropriately suit Elementary, Middle or High School audiences. We take careful steps to use tone, vocabulary and interactions that specifically relate to corresponding age groups. Sankofa has been consistently lauded as “the best assembly EVER” by students and faculty alike.

Schools who booked The Beast’s SANKOFA said this:

“The Beast is a truly engaging musical group which teaches African-American history in a fun, effective way. They are wonderful musicians and story-tellers”

“If you are interested in exposing your students to various music genres, in a fun and innovative way, invite The Beast to your school. Also, if you are looking for a way to expose your students to African-American history in an engaging and memorable way, invite The Beast. The Beast is extremely talented, professional, and kind.”

Booking / scheduling contact

Stephen Coffman


Program detail
Artistic discipline: Multi-discipline, Music, Storytelling
Cultural Origin: American, Multicultural
Program type: Assembly/Performance, Day Trip, Out-of-School-Time, Professional Development, Virtual/Online Program, Workshop
Population served: Grade 1, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 9, Kindergarten, Pre-K
Subject: English, History, Music, Social Studies / History
Bilingual: No
Available dates:

The Beast performs year round. Please contact us to discuss a specific date!

Available times:

Performances can be given any time of day

Length of program: 45-50 minutes
Space / technical requirements:

We bring all of our own equpiment, including a PA and microphones.  8 Bottled Waters are requested


Your school, auditorium, theater, etc.

Fees / Ticketing:

$1400 for 2 shows at the same location, if we can book another performance in the Charlotte area the same day. Please contact us to find out which dates we will already be in Charlotte, in order to help reduce the cost of your fee.

$2000 for 2 shows at the same location, if only at 1 school that day.


NC Standard Course of Study:

SL3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Music goal 8.02 – Identify ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are related to those of music.

Music goal 9.03 – Compare across several cultures of the world and in history, the functions of music, roles of musicians, and conditions under which music is typically performed.

NC Essential Standards:

K.MR.1.2 Recognize contrasts in music, such as high/low pitch, loud/soft dynamics, fast/slow tempo, and same/different sections of music.

K.CR.1.2 Recognize the relationships between music and concepts from other areas.

1.CR.1.1 Recognize how music is used in customs and traditions of various cultures.


Conducts educational programming for 2 or more years: Yes
Performs criminal background checks on staff with youth contact: Yes
Maintains general liability insurance (Individuals and organizations listed in this Directory can provide proof of insurance upon request. ASC does not hold copies of current documentation for providers): Yes
Three letters of recommendation / references available: Yes
Provides study guides for teachers and or students: Yes
Connects to State and or Common Core Curriculum Standards: Yes
Provides tools to assess student learning (workshops and residencies): Yes
Provides scholarship and reduced fees: Yes
Conducts ongoing assessments of program quality: Yes
Cancellation Policy

The Beast will perform rain or shine. Please contact us at least 2 weeks prior to a scheduled performance if there are changes in the date, time or location.