Led by composer/pianist, JooWan Kim, Hip Hop Orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj creates new American Art Music based on the musical materials of Hip-Hop and by sampling compatible classical compositional techniques. Executed with MCs/lyricists Do D.A.T. and Sandman, a lyric soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, drums and bass, the music is rigorous, nuanced, accessible, and free from the dogmas of Western European concert music aesthetic. The result, makes the Kronos Quartet or the Roots feel like they’re afraid of their own voice (Pitchfork) and is considered the cutting edge of Hip-Hop (Huffington Post).
After a successful performance of a novelty piece which featured an MC and chamber ensemble while the artistic director was completing his master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the MC at the time suggested they make an album together. Six months later and writing about an hour of music, the artistic director had a profound shift in the direction of his writing. He felt that he found a way out of the stifling contemporary concert music aesthetic in this new way of composition.
In 2010, JooWan recruited his best friend from college, Christopher Nicholas to push the project forward in a serious way. Following six years, Ensemble Mik Nawooj attracted some of the most excellent classical musicians and MCs in the SF Bay Area while gaining national attention from outlets such as ESPN, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, NPR, Pitchfork, and more.
Composer and pianist JooWan Kim began his formal training in composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.M. in composition in 2003. He continued his education in composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, from which he received a M.M. in 2006. JooWan founded Ensemble Mik Nawooj in 2010.
Christopher Nicholas received a dual B.M. in Songwriting and Vocal Performance from Berklee College of Music in 2004. He was awarded the prestigious Berklee Achievement Scholarship and received an honorable mention for his original song, “I Write these Words” in the Berklee Songwriting Contest. He was granted the Patsy C. & Fred W. Patterson College of Music Scholarship to the University of North Texas, completing an M.M. in Jazz Studies in 2009. In addition, Nicholas was a featured soloist on the album “In Case you Missed it” with the U.N.T. Jazz Singers directed by Paris Rutherford. In 2010, along with the artistic director, JooWan Kim, Christopher co-founded Ensemble Mik Nawooj. They ran the organization overseeing many successful campaigns in PR, fundraising, and tours. In 2016, Chris directed the second album campaign with the artistic director resulting in national recognition from Huffington Post, Pitchfork, ESPN, and NFL Super Bowl.
Do D.A.T. has performed alongside and opened for Dave Chappelle, Dead Prez, Zion I, KRS ONE, Ludacris, Macklemore, Bambu, Los Rakas, Aceyalone, E40, Clyde Carson, Mistah FAB, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Murs, Blue Scholars, Goapele and more. He has released several solo albums as well as collaborations including Golden Age and more. Do D.A.T. joined Ensemble Mik Nawooj in 2011 and has been featured on Wall Street Journal, NPR, SF Chronicle, OZY and more. When he is not on stage, D.A.T. works for the Oakland based Beats Rhymes and Life; a Hip Hop Therapy organization that provides programs to youth ages 14 to 24 in Northern and Central california.
Prior to releasing a solo album titled, The Art of Dreaming, Sand'Man was cultivated as an emcee during his involvement with the dynamic hip hop group “The Attik.” His association with the group began as a teen and eventually blossomed into something formal. In 2005 the group released the album Jungle Electric. Sand’Man has shared a stage with KRS-One, Dead Prez, E-40, San Quinn, Mr. FAB, Aceyalone, Zion I, Game Rebellion, Medusa and many more. A veteran to performing, he has rocked stages from the Bay Area to New York and Puerto Rico and shined at legendary venues, such as the Fillmore, in front of sold-out crowds. Sandman joined EMN in 2013 and has been featured on Wall Street Journal, NPR, SF Chronicle, OZY and more.