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Wanderlust Vermont: Garth Stevenson, Vusi Mahlasela, Majora Carter and More!

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Wanderlust Vermont started out quiet on it’s first day but ended with an amazing, lively and jam packed Opening Ceremony with featured performances by Garth Stevenson, Shakti Sunfire, Sonya Kitchell, Suzanne Sterling and Vusi Mahlasela.

The Canadian born Garth Stevenson connects nature with his music. During last nights Open Ceremony he presented a piece inspired by his trip last year to Antarctica where he spent a month performing and acting in a new film by director Scott Cohen with actors Vincent Kartheiser, Oliva Thirbly and William Campbell. This musical piece brought his trip to life right in the small chapel on Stratton Mountain; creating an experience like no other for the audience.

The headlining performance of the night was by Vusi Mahlasela or “The Voice” as he is called in his home country of South Africa. His powerful voice and songs of hope connect Aparthied-scarred South Africa with promise of a better future. Mahlasela is a self taught guitarist, a poet and activist. He was asked to peform at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 and is now the official ambassador to Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative.

In addition to performing his music and spreading the Mandela’s message he is also dedicated to social activism and has partnerships with many non-profits including his own Vusi Mahlaseal Music Development Foundation that is committed to the preservation of African Music. In addition to his own organization, Mahlasela also works with OXFAM, The Acumen Fund, The African Leadership Academy and the ONE campaign.

Another rainy day (Friday) at Wanderlust Vermont featured yoga classes with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman and more with Desiree Rumbaugh, along with an inspirational speak easy with Majora Carter.

The host of the Peabody Award winning public-radio series: The Promised Land, Majora Carter spoke today at an Omega Speak Easy about her company the Major Carter Group LLC and the greening that they have done to the South Bronx. She told her story of how she raised $3 million to restore the waterfront in the South Bronx creating a community green space along and later raised $50 million to create a greenway (biking area) for the residents and visitors to the South Bronx. Carter’s story stirred emotion in her and struck a cord with the group of participants.

In addition to her efforts to create a greener, cleaner and safer environment for the residents of the South Bronx her company has also worked to create an organization call Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (B.E.S.T.) that provides those who are generationally impoverished as well as those who are coming in and out of criminal justice system and creates jobs for them. As part of their efforts B.E.S.T. works on urban forestry management and green roofing while providing life skills to those in need.

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